Ryan Chen and Kent Yoshimura, co-founders of Neuro took their product to the Sharks on ABC’s entrepreneurial show Shark Tank to see if they could score an investment in their company.
Neuro Gum is a gum that was crafted in order to bring clean, safe energy to people. It is meant to take the place of supplements and energy drinks that sometimes cause crashes and contain too much sugar.
The founders pitched their product to Sharks Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and guest Shark Daniel Lubetzky.
Here’s what you should know about Neuro Gum:
1. The Taste Took Some Time to Get Just Right
At first, the idea for Neuro was better than it tasted. Yoshimura told Heavy they had to spend an extra year working on the product before they were ready to launch to people other than their friends and family.
“The first product we made tasted terrible because we were just like ‘all right, let’s put all these ingredients in gum,” he said. “The loud reaction early on made us realize that we had a lot to do.”
Now, the gum comes in a few different formulas: the Energy & Focus, which is formulated with natural caffeine and helps maintain focus, is available in both cinnamon and peppermint, while the Calm & Clarity, which is developed with GABA and helps optimize clarity of mind, is available in honey lemon and ginger chai flavors.
2. The IndieGoGo Campaign Was Fully Funded in Just Days
According to Yoshimura, after opening the IndieGoGo campaign for their gum, they hit their funding goal in less than 72 hours. Yoshimura was already part of a Reddit community that focused on making supplements with a large base of users.
He talked about the product on the subreddit and then posted the project on IndieGoGo, which was how they got the funding so quickly.
The campaign had a total of 535 backers and raised over $20,000.
3. They Tried Out For ‘Shark Tank’ Before
Soon after launching Neuro, Yoshimura and Chen were contacted by Shark Tank and asked to send in a pitch to be on the show. Sometimes, Shark Tank producers will scour the Internet to find things the Sharks may find interesting and then reach out to the company themselves.
The co-founders never heard back after sending in their information, though. Three and a half years passed before they thought about trying out for the show again.
They were on a trip to Arizona when Shark Tank was doing one of its Diversity Casting Calls in the city. They did the pitch since they were in town anyway, and a few months later, they were asked to be on the show.
“For any entrepreneur, [Shark Tank] is a great, major opportunity to showcase their business,” Yoshimura said.
4. Gum and Mints Were Chosen Because of Their Shareability
One of the reasons Yoshimura and Chen chose to work with gum and mints as their product was because of the shareability of them. While they are trying to change the way people look at supplements, they also think that one of the most shareable things in society is gum.
People share gum at parties and get-togethers. It can bring people together, and in general move people closer together, Yoshimura says.
“Product has been able to expand and reach millions of consumers, but at the end of the day, we hope that element of sharability and efficacy comes through more than anything,” he told us.
5. The Amount of Caffeine in One Piece Is Equivalent to About Half a Cup of Coffee
According to a statement, the amount of caffeine in a piece of Neuro Gum is only half the amount found in a cup of coffee. With just 40 mg of caffeine in each piece of the Energy formula, the website says that it delivers “clean, balanced energy to give you a smooth boost into your zone.”
The Calm & Clarity blend does not include caffeine. Instead, it includes GABA, which the website says helps “reduce feelings of anxiety and calm your nerves.”
Tune in to Shark Tank at 8 p.m. ET/7 p.m. CT on ABC to see if Yoshimura and Chen get a deal from one of the sharks.