Elon alum Chas Smith '11 pitches his business on ABC's "Shark Tank"
The president and co-founder of Sap! Beverages appeared on the popular national television program on Jan. 28.
Chas Smith '11 got one offer, but no final deal in his bid to gain an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank." The program provides an opportunity for entrepreneurs to pitch their business plans to experienced executives, encouraging them to invest in their ventures. Smith was invited by producers to apply to appear on the program.
Smith is president and co-founder of Sap! Beverages, a Burlington, Vermont-based company that makes a line of plant-based superfood sparkling beverages made from 100 percent pure maple and birch tree sap. The products were named to the Whole Foods "Top Trends" list for 2018, and Smith said the company has done $400,000 in sales to date.
Smith and his cousin, Nikita Salmon, asked the sharks for a $600,000 investment in return for 12 percent equity in the company. Smith explained to the panel about the health benefits of the beverage, which he said includes 46 vitamins and nutrients and reduces inflammation. Entrepreneur and technology guru Robert Herjavec offered $600,000 for 30 percent of the company, but later withdrew the offer. He later tweeted, "Making soda using tree sap ... this is why I love entrepreneurship & this show! There's always something new we see every season! @drinksap."
Following the program, Smith said he's confident the company will find an investor and has no regrets about making his business pitch on national television.
Smith graduated from Elon in 2011 with a double major in economics and political science and a minor in international studies. He was also an Elon Periclean Scholar. Following graduation, Smith served as a legislative aid for the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, chaired by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy. He is president and co-founder of Smith & Salmon, Inc., a parent company that owns investments in Vermont-based food and beverage companies. He also serves as a board member for LaunchVT, an entrepreneurial support organization in Vermont.
Media reports on Smith's company and television appearance include the following: