Who’s the face behind Rockstar Cafe?

"We hope this event is a big building block in that direction [physical location for Rockstar Cafe].”

Rockstar Café is trying to make Canada’s first student-centric entrepreneurial and sustainable coffee house. On Sept. 18, Mark Kryshtalskyj, the founder and face of Rockstar Café, got a little bit closer to making his dream into reality.

Rockstar Café’s mission is to bring students together to get involved with something that matters and encourage students to take action on their ideas.

Kryshtalskyj, a 4A science and business student, launched an event at BMH Green featuring inspirational speakers Jason Roberts from Dallas, Texas, the founder of Better Block, an organization that transforms run-down neighbourhoods, and Sonja Miokovic, founder & CEO of My Clean City and the youngest ever recipient of Canada’s 2013 top most powerful women in business at the age of 21.

“Revolutions have started in a café,” Roberts said in expressing belief in the possible success of Rockstar Cafe.

Amberwood, a local band, played an exclusive acoustic performance in support of the startup, supported by Communitech, Conrad Centre, St.Paul’s Greenhouse, and Velocity.

Kryshtalskyj would like to diversify Rockstar’s partners by adding legal firms and non-incubator investors into the fold.

“It was tough because all these guys were winning pitch competitions. Meanwhile, I wasn’t winning because they were saying ‘It’s just an idea,’ ‘You don’t have the business acumen,’ You’re too young...’ That’s what drives me,” Kryshtalskyj said.

“In the Waterloo ecosystem, entrepreneurship is well documented, but what’s not well documented is this life blood in the area of innovative thinking,” Kryshtalskyj said. “Whether you apply that to community projects, a leadership initiative, or a new business idea, you’re adding value to the community, you’re following your passion, and ultimately you’re bringing people together.”

One of his goals is to limit environmental waste, specifically limiting the production of “K-cups,” cups made with Keurig.

“There were enough K-cups produced in the last year alone to circle the Earth ten times.  Keurig isn’t going to make them recyclable by 2025,” Kryshtalskyj said. “At the same time Starbucks doesn’t make their cups recyclable because they claim coffee from a polyethylene cup tastes better. There are processes available that can limit environmental waste, but nobody wants to do it. Everything at this event was compostable.”

What’s different about this startup that will allow it to succeed?

“Definitely our people. We’re a team of eight students, but we’re probably the most diverse startup in Waterloo, in terms of a student based startup,” Kryshtalskyj said. “We have students in environment and business, arts and business, students from South Africa, India, and China. We also have the most females on our team than any other startup in KW. That gives us a big advantage because they can see things from a different perspective; also our brand is purple; we’re more oriented, and we’re an empathetic brand. They’re really good at connecting that, some decisions they steer me back on track.”

Kryshtalskyj said he needs between $500,000 - $1,000,000 to open up the first Rockstar Cafe, somewhere between Laurier and UW.

He did not disclose how much funding he’s received for a physical location so far.

For more information, visit their Facebook page Rockstar Café or their website: rockstar-cafe.ca.