Over the last decade hundreds of energy drinks have launched, but not many were targeted specifically for women. The Cougar Energy Drink was made for mature ladies who can be considered “cougars.” With organic ingredients, the beverage helps them look younger. Founder Ryan Custer pitched the product on Shark Tank but didn’t get a deal. Cougar Energy Drink closed down in 2014 and is worth $0 as of 2023.
About the Founder
Ryan Custer was born in Grapeville, Texas and attended Baylor University’s business school on a student-athlete scholarship. While studying business administration, he served as the captain for the baseball team.
When he was still a student, Ryan worked as an assistant manager at General Nutrition Center. After five years, he left to become a surveillance analyst at Centerline Capital Group. In 2014, he was hired as Director of Operations at CryoPen. Inc and left after a year to move into IT and real estate.
Founding the Company
Back in 2009, Ryan decided to become an entrepreneur and invested all of his savings into it. He got into the energy drink industry and wanted to create an organic brand exclusively for cougars, aimed at women aged 30 to 55.
From the start, it was a challenge because the niche was very small and young men are the biggest consumers of energy drinks. Even so, the man from Grapeville pushed on and launched the energy drink in 2009 during a difficult point in his life.
He was living with his parents just as he was starting the business. Ryan did most of the work on his own, and progress was quite slow. After three years, he made over $60,000 in revenue.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2012, Ryan Custer knew that things had to change. For his company to thrive, he knew a considerable amount of capital was needed. Thus, he applied to be on Shark Tank and was featured in the finale of season three. Custer came in seeking $150,000 for 30% equity.
After his introduction, the investors started an entertaining conversation about the definition of cougars. When the giggles ended, things got serious and the Sharks lost interest when he revealed his sales. $20,000 per year wasn’t too appealing.
The Sharks dropped out one by one, believing the company wasn’t capable of making real money. The amount of advertising needed to gain market share would be too expensive. Sadly Ryan went home without a deal.
After Shark Tank
Despite the discouraging comments by the Sharks, Custer attempted to keep his business afloat after the show. He even got his energy drink for women to be featured on the MTV Awards in 2010.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for Cougar Energy Drink to get enough customers and struggled to get distribution. Ryan gave up on the idea and gradually stopped posting on social media. After five years in business, he closed the company down in 2014. Cougar Energy Drink made an estimated $100,000 in lifetime sales.
Ryan now works in the IT and creative solutions department of Custer’s Solutions and also works as a real estate agent at Pinnacle Realty advisors. In 2019, he started serving as a freight associate for Home Depot.