founder

Pureboost Co-founder Sean Ross on Health-Conscious Energy Boosts

Introduction

Most Americans — about 80% — like nothing better than some caffeine to carry them throughout the day. Coffee is the most popular caffeinated choice in the U.S., but some consumers prefer to rev up on energy drinks instead. Averaging at a whopping 41 grams of sugar and 200 milligrams of caffeine (half the recommended limit for adults), most energy drinks probably won’t earn a thumbs up from your doctor. And the buzz of energy they give could turn into jitters and end with a crash.

Pureboost’s drink mixes give energy drink lovers a healthier alternative without all the sugar and crashes. Insead, its products use natural flavors and ingredients, include vitamins and electrolytes, and are infused with caffeine from green tea. We reached out to Pureboost co-founder Sean Ross to hear about the company’s target market and competitors.

Note: This interview was conducted over phone and email. It has been lightly edited for clarity and length.

Yasmin Sharbaf

In your own words, how would you describe Pureboost?

Sean Ross

Pureboost is the first antioxidant energy mix without any sugar, sucralose, or crash. We’re giving everyday heroes — whether they’re saving lives, taking care of their children, or keeping the lights on — an alternative to unhealthy energy drinks. Since opening our doors, we’ve generated $17.5 million in cumulative revenue and more than $10 million in 2022 alone. Through retailers Costco.com, Walgreens, Meijer, Ingles, and Walmart, our national footprint spans more than 2,000 stores. We’re also the number one healthy category leader on Amazon, boasting more than 25,000 positive reviews and an insane 45% reorder rate.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What inspired you to take the leap and start this company?

Sean Ross

We started this company to provide a clean and healthy alternative to sugar-filled energy drinks. At Pureboost, we cracked the nutritional code to help us thrive — the first truly clean energy drink that’s delicious, ultra portable, and packed with vitamins. We’re not just founders but also active parents with 15 children between us, and we care about creating healthy products. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

Who is on your team and how did you come together?

Sean Ross

The company was founded by Ray Faltinsky, Brian Enge, Danny DeMichele, and me. Pureboost is led by veteran consumer packaged goods (CPG) whiz and CEO Jay Mercer. 

Ray is a lifelong nutrition enthusiast who previously launched and grew a nutritional drinks company from zero to $1.3 billion in sales. Brian is a serial entrepreneur with four exits (Active.com, Cyrk, Saucony, Zoot). I have overseen the production of more than $1 billion worth of nutritional products. Danny is the founder of Quiverr, a top 25 Amazon bestseller with more than $1 billion in revenue (acquired by ASM, the largest CPG retail management and distribution company). Jay, our CEO, has launched more than 250 products for Fortune 500 companies and brands, including Del Monte, Milk Bone, Meow Mix, and Hershey’s.

Yasmin Sharbaf

How is Pureboost transforming the energy drinks industry?

Sean Ross

We are reaching a demographic that has not really been approached by the energy drink industry before. That demographic is parents and, more specifically, mothers. While a lot of other brands are building their image around athletics and young people, we are building ours around families looking for healthy, on-the-go, feel-good alternatives.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What does the competitive landscape look like, and how do you differentiate?

Sean Ross

In the clean energy space, Celsius and ZipFizz are our core competitors. In the broader energy drink space, we include Monster, Rockstar, and 24 Hour Energy. Finally, in the related hydration space, Liquid I.V. and Nuun are our closest competitors. Our differentiation is rooted in our ingredients. Unlike our competitors, we offer clean, healthy energy and hydration without sugar, artificial sweeteners, or caffeine. This resonates with our health-conscious consumer base and explains our best-in-class reorder rate.

Yasmin Sharbaf

What prevents bigger energy drink companies such as Monster and Bang from entering the clean energy drink market? How do you make your product defensible?

Sean Ross

Monster and Bang can enter the clean drink energy market, but their brands are marketed in such a way that it would be near impossible to encroach on our niche. Monster and Bang are not the first brands that busy, health-conscious, on-the-go parents think about when they want to make healthy choices. Not only would Monster and Bang have to develop a competing product, but they would have to transform their marketing in a way that could be detrimental to their core business and user base.

Yasmin Sharbaf

Do you have plans on expanding to other products besides clean energy drinks?

Sean Ross

We are about to launch a new product that is going to be the first of its kind. It is just as delicious as our other flavors and is going to really open up our brand to many more consumers. We are constantly innovating and looking to add new products, but they have to align with who we are as a brand, and they have to lead with innovation. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

How do you intend to use the money you raise this round to scale the business?

Sean Ross

We are investing raised funds in expanding our brick-and-mortar distribution, increasing high return on investment marketing spend to build brand awareness, and investing in both innovation and inventory to support growth. 

Yasmin Sharbaf

What do you want potential investors to know about you and/or your company?

Sean Ross

We’re executing an omnichannel growth strategy to ensure Pureboost is available to consumers wherever they shop. In the fourth quarter of 2022, we expanded into Costco, Walmart, Walgreens, and Meijer. Through these top-tier retailers, our national footprint will make us a household name across tens of thousands of stores. 

With our massive expansion into retail and our continued growth online through Amazon and Costco, we are on track to hit $100 million in revenue by 2026.

Yasmin Sharbaf

you think about the business 5-10 years down the road, what do you see exit opportunities looking like? Have you set any future goals for the company?

Sean Ross

Our team counts 10 exits among us. The most likely exit would be in the form of an acquisition. We have had conversations with multiple multinational brands who are already interested in acquiring Pureboost. We are not there now though, and our shorter-term goals include growing both our online and brick-and-mortar sales on our path to becoming a household name.

We look forward to seeing where Sean and his team take the company. Pureboost is currently raising on Wefunder.

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About: Yasmin Sharbaf

Yasmin is passionate about the intersection of business, art, and science. Prior to KingsCrowd, Yasmin worked on a cryptocurrency investing research project for Wellesley College Investment Office where she assessed the risks and rewards for university endowment investment into cryptocurrency. She has also previously worked in a neuroscience lab studying language and memory of songbirds. Yasmin’s dream is to make investing and financial education accessible to everyone. In her free time, Yasmin enjoys going on adventures, learning new languages, and exploring different cultures. Yasmin studied Neuroscience and Studio Art at Wellesley College.

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