Presenting the details of a startup company to a room full of investors can be intimidating. Pair that with investors on the hit television series “Shark Tank,” and you might start to feel like bait.
However, Los Angeles-based startup companies Genius Juice and Ready, Set, Food! recently tamed the sharks of ABC’s hit TV show and received funding for their companies. Genius Juice received on offer of $500,000 and Ready, Set, Food! received $250,000 from Shark Tank judge and dot-com billionaire Mark Cuban. After the show, Genius Juice later declined the $500,000 offer during negotiations.
Fresh off the show, Genius Juice along with Freedom Deodorant, another budding startup company based in Las Vegas that creates all-natural deodorant, recently presented to OSEA Angel Investors at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
OSEA Angel Investors is a membership-based private angel investment group focused on and driven by women executives and entrepreneurs and holds monthly meetings at the Cove. Their portfolio includes Ready, Set, Food!, Freedom Deodorant and Genius Juice.
Genius Juice creates a coconut smoothie that contains no preservatives and is the first brand to introduce the whole coconut to the market by blending the water and the meat. They also upcycle the coconut husks to be used for alternative energy.
“I discovered this at a friend’s house,” said Alex Bayer, founder and CEO of Genius Juice. “One of my coworkers invited me to their house … for dessert, they cracked open a young Thai coconut and blended the water and the meat … the first words out of my mouth were ‘this is freakin’ genius.’”
Previously an insurance agent for Aflac based in Los Angeles, Bayer discovered the unique taste and texture of the drink as well as the health benefits and began to take it to market. The startup launched primarily in retail and grocery stores, such as Whole Foods, and has more recently launched in Albertsons and Pavilions.
Following the “Shark Tank” investment in addition to the “Shark Tank Effect” that skyrocketed their online sales from $22,000 to $120,000, the company plans to expand their product reach into the Midwest and East Coast markets.
“We’re very careful about where to go, we don’t want to go everywhere,” said Bayer. “One of my mentors taught me a really great saying: ‘inch wide, mile deep.’ Don’t try to go into too many regions or too many different stores, just focus on the stores where you have the best returns in velocity, the best return on investment and go very deep in those stores.”
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Main photo: Alex Bayer, founder and CEO of Genius Juice, pitches to OSEA Angel Investors at the Cove @ UCI Beall Applied Innovation.
All photos: Amy Vong