Forto, a coffee shot to go

- Whether you're a parent, student, truck driver, news reporter, or member of the military, we've all experienced those moments when your days feel long, your nights feel short and you're desperate for something to help make up for the sleep you lack.

Neel Premkumar has been there too and built an entire business around solving that problem, right here in New York: Forto. Neel calls Forto the world's first coffee shot. He came up with the idea after he and his wife had twin girls six years ago and he was exhausted.

Neel says he was drinking energy shots and coffee all the time, wondering if there was a better way to get the boost that comes with coffee without any of the energy drinks or shots. So he poured his and his father-in-law's life savings into Forto, an organic, fair trade, cold-brewed coffee shot.

The shot of coffee is equivalent to a cup on the go. At most, Forto has just six ingredients: cold-brewed coffee, organic whole milk, organic cane sugar, natural flavor, caffeine, and baking soda.

It comes in two strengths—the equivalent of one cup of coffee or two—and a range of flavors, from Pure Black to Hershey's Chocolate Latte.

Neel says even the shots with sugar are just 35 calories. He calls Forto a quick and easy way to get an energy boost without excess calories or sugar.

In fact, Forto is healthy enough that the U.S. military signed on as the company's first account. Neel says the Department of Defense had published a study detailing how energy drinks and shots might be unhealthy for the troops and how the troops might be abusing them. Forto was a way for them to get wholesome energy from coffee on the go, Neel says, and now Forto is in every military base in the country.

The coffee shots are also available online and in 50,000 stores in all 50 states. Just look for the little coffee cups.

Forto has been named the fastest-growing beverage company in the United States on the Inc. 500 list.

Neel says his company has partnered with the Keurig Dr. Pepper Company to get Forto in 100,000 stores across the country by next year. Forto will also be in all Walgreens stores soon.

The business has grown from Neel in his kitchen with his twins to 100 employees between the Forto office and factory.

And yes, he paid back his father-in-law.

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