Yanni Hufnagel: Why a Basketball Coach Quit to Become an Beverage Entrepreneur
Play • 45 min

Yanni Hufnagel, Founder of Lemon Perfect, is on a mission to help make America healthier. Learn why the former collegiate basketball coach decided to shift his passion for building teams from the courts into the beverage industry. Listen to how he evolved from a cut basketball player into a collegiate coach and now CEO of a fast-growing business.

Yanni remembers as a kid playing under the covers at night, building starting lineups with figurines. He wanted nothing more than to be a basketball player, but being the last guy cut from the basketball team sent him in another direction. Soon he was voicing games and working on the operations side of the court.

Hear how a chance conversation turned into an opportunity to be a manager for Cornell’s basketball team. Before he knew it, Yanni was interning for the New Jersey Nets, learning from industry greats, serving as a graduate assistant at Oklahoma, and then coaching at programs like Vanderbilt, Harvard, and Cal-Berkeley.

He was coaching in Nevada when he had the idea for Lemon Perfect. Drinking lemon water had become part of his wellness routine, but Yanni figured there had to be a better and healthier way to create flavored lemon water. He gave up coaching to pursue the idea.

Through the ups and downs of launching into the competitive beverage industry, Yanni has always been all-in on delivering the best product at a reasonable price point with the best team of people intending to make America healthier. Gain insights into Yanni’s approach to building a business and a successful team.

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