Westwood, MA, 29th June 2022, ZEXPRWIRE, From a young age, Steven Fortuna was fascinated by the interplay between invention and business. This curiosity led him to pursue dual degrees in electrical and computer engineering as well as an MBA. Fortuna’s education provided the underpinning for successful careers in both technology and finance, before he decided to embark on his long-awaited entrepreneurial venture. To the surprise of many, Fortuna started a consumer packaged goods company that was based on an inspiration he got while gardening at his cottage in the Berkshire Hills of Western MA.
As Founder and CEO of Blossom Water LLC, Steven Fortuna has made sure to stay on the cutting edge of beverage innovation. With the introduction of Blossom Botanical Water, Fortuna created a new “botanicals-based” sub-category within the broader water segment.
Throughout his journey, Steven never lost touch with a few important guiding principles, ones that he’s used repeatedly throughout his career, i.e. there is no substitute for hard work, and you must always be on your game. Despite adhering to these simple truths, Fortuna readily admits that the challenges he faced as an entrepreneur were an order of magnitude greater than anything he’s ever experienced previously.
Steven Fortuna’s background and how it eventually led to the creation of Blossom Water…
While Steve Fortuna a technologist and financier by training, he has worn many hats over the course of his varied career. He began life as a hardware design engineer at Raytheon, where he designed air traffic control display systems. From there, he moved into software engineering and had the good fortune to work on a number of different classified government projects at the MITRE Corporation. After receiving his MBA from Columbia, Fortuna parlayed his engineering background into equity research on Wall Street, where he analyzed technology stocks at a number of different large Wall Street firms. Steven Fortuna held increasingly responsible positions at PaineWebber, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Prudential Equity Group. While First Vice President at Merrill Lynch, he ranked No. 2 on Institutional Investor’s All-America Research Team two years in a row.
Having made his mark as a research analyst on the Street, Steven decided to try his hand at running money. Fortuna joined Stratix Asset Management, where he was a portfolio manager responsible for a $50MM long/short tech equity book. It was at Stratix, under the tutelage of two very successful traders, that he really honed his skills. Having a keen understanding and appreciation for the “macro” environment is critical to the success of any money manager, as all stocks trade within the context of the broader market. After a few years at Stratix, Steve Fortuna decided (along with a partner) to leverage his successful track record and launch his own firm, S2 Capital Management, where, together, they ran a $150 million long/short equity fund focused on the technology and energy sectors.
As the stresses of managing a fund began to build, Steven often sought refuge in the cottage gardens of his home in the Berkshires. It was there, while planting a beautifully scented mock orange, that the inspiration struck to develop a beverage using flower botanicals. He quickly immersed himself in all things beverage, learning every facet of the business, from formulation to distribution to logistics. Fortuna took every opportunity to meet with other entrepreneurs and industry experts. Steve also spent a lot of time researching the history of flower botanical usage in beverages throughout the world. He was very encouraged to learn that cultures across the globe have been using flowers for centuries in the formulation of many different drinks. Fortuna immediately drew a comparison to the coconut water market Coconut water was virtually unknown here in the United States until 2003, other than in the ethnic sections of supermarkets, despite being widely popular in many South American countries. Though it took a few years to catch on, coconut water has now become a huge category in its own right. Steven Fortuna thought maybe he could do the same in the botanicals space, especially as consumers were looking for more interesting and healthier beverage options. So, he decided to take a shot and launch Blossom Water.
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