Is cactus the new coconut? Hamilton native pitches fledging prickly-pear beverage on ‘Shark Tank’

It’s becoming hailed as the new coconut water — only it arrives from cacti.

Pricklee, the brainchild of a Hamilton native, is the hottest splash in the canned beverage startup market with prickly pears as its magic formula ingredient.

Abundant in flavour and richer in antioxidants, the fledging drink made from the cactus fruit stands as a stylish, innovative and sustainable option to extended-standing wellbeing beverages these types of as coconut h2o and kombucha, claimed Mohammed Hassoun, who released the model with four good friends in February 2021.

The beverages combine filtered h2o, prickly-pear puree, agave nectar and lemon juice to render clean, approachable preferences in a range of non-carbonated flavours. Believe watermelon meets bubble gum, packed into lean and colourful 12-ounce cans, all at 35 calories a pop.

“We generally felt drawn to healthy choices and drinks, and coconut drinking water had dominated that house for so long. But we weren’t fans of it and believed there has to be a thing else out there,” claimed Hassoun, an Ancaster Superior Secondary School alum now living in New York Metropolis. “When we couldn’t obtain it, we felt compelled to create it.”

Hassoun — who achieved the begin-up’s four other co-founders following going to Boston to research pharmacy in 2015 — remembered trips as a kid to Lebanon, wherever his grandmother would make the freshest juice out of prickly pears. He picked some up at a neighborhood market place, brought them to his close friends and made it himself. They were stunned not just by the style, but the overall health positive aspects: it’s loaded with recovery- and immunity-hefty anti-oxidants, and has 50 percent the sugar and energy of coconut h2o.

“That’s exactly where (Pricklee) kind of started, ingesting that initially drink with each other,” Hassoun, 31, reported. “We saw an possibility for the reason that there wasn’t several other prickly-pear drinks on the industry.”

In the span of a 12 months and some change, Pricklee drinks like Mango Ginger and Strawberry Hibiscus have grow to be a staple on retail shelves throughout the Boston and New York Town parts.

And, just previous thirty day period, the startup produced a cameo on the strike enterprise tv sequence ‘Shark Tank.’

Hassoun, flanked by Pricklee CEO and co-founder Kun Yang, enthusiastically pitched cactus as the new coconut to a panel of star-studded traders — and their manufacturer as the next hydration sensation. They have been on the lookout for $200,000 in exchange for 5 for every cent of the firm.

“It was pretty humbling and scary at the same time,” stated Hassoun, who appeared on the clearly show in May — just months soon after his father was killed in a hit-and-operate on the Pink Hill Valley Parkway. “You’re presenting your infant, and we look at our business enterprise our child, in front of these billionaires who’ve been there, accomplished that.”

The good thing is, they prepared a lot.

When coconut-water drinker Mark Cuban pressed them on Pricklee’s minimal potassium rely, they pressed again, saying a one prickly pear includes extra anti-oxidants than a cup of environmentally friendly tea, all 24 betalains, polyphenols, taurine and Vitamin C. When Kevin O’Leary designed a “prickly” give of $200,000 for 20 per cent, even nevertheless he “hates beverage bargains,” they instructed him no.

“This offer is not about the cash for us,” Yang told O’Leary, including 20 for each cent was way too much. “It’s about two initially-generation (immigrants) chasing the American aspiration.”

That was enough for Barbara Corcoran — who initially bowed out of a offer mainly because of her shaky earlier in beverage investments — to consider the plunge.

Pricklee’s e-commerce profits spiked because the ‘Shark Tank’ episode, stated Hassoun, introducing the startup now has Corcoran as a reputable adviser and liaison. The business hopes to expand its retail offerings in the coming months.

“The current market is primed for one thing new to appear, some new plant-based mostly h2o to grow the health and fitness-consume marketplace.,” Hassoun explained. “And we consider cactus water is that classification and Pricklee is the front-runner in it.”

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