by Alexandria Hentschel
For Taylor Minor and Charles Nick, ABC’s reality television series “Shark Tank,” where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to investors, was just the push their fledgling company, Third Wave Water, needed.
The water additive brand is based in Cedarville next door to Telemetry Coffee Roasters, Minor’s coffee shop. Third Wave Water sells mineral capsules of calcium, magnesium, and sodium that add flavor to distilled water. Their invention solves for regional variations in the composition of water, which affect the taste of brewed coffee.
Nick and Minor presented their invention to the panel of the reality show’s investors, known collectively as “The Sharks.” The Sharks agreed that the coffee brewed with Third Wave Water’s secret formula tasted better. The small business owners left with a $100,000 investment from real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran. The investment fell through in the following months though.
Minor and Nick are optimistic, however, and describe the show as a positive experience that led to a surge in business and publicity.
“It was surreal,” Minor said. “It’s fairly common that deals don’t go through — about 40 percent of them don’t. The investment was ended on good terms — it was just over contract disagreements. The real value of the show is just going on the show. In the end, it’s like we almost didn’t need her investment because we got the investment of 9,000 orders.”
The Shark Tank process began almost 10 months ago for the small company. The show’s producers found Third Wave Water through their Kickstarter campaign and invited the company to apply. They went through a laborious admission process.“It was challenging because we had so many other things going on at the same time, and they kept asking for more and more information,” Nick said. “It’s not so much a TV show as investors on a TV show. So there’s a lot of vetting.”
The “Shark Tank” process is often a mystery to viewers, but Minor and Nick mentioned that the producers were very helpful in telling the company how to best make their presentation.
The company was ultimately accepted, and filmed the pitch in June. The episode premiered Oct. 8.
“Getting on the show, regardless of what happened, was still a huge win for us,” Nick said. “It was a very positive experience. We have a good working relationship with Barbara’s people, and we can still use them as assets and contacts.”
At their headquarters, Third Wave Water’s small office is full to bursting — there are boxes stacked floor-to-ceiling, with barely any space to maneuver. Minor and Nick have to raise their voices to be heard over the deafening machinery.
“We’re packing at full capacity — making about four times more, and filling about 1,000 orders a day,” Minor said. “We have a backlog of orders from the show. I don’t think there’s anything else in the country — other than maybe Oprah’s book club — where you don’t pay for anything and you get that much exposure. Usually you have to pay millions for that kind of advertising.”
Minor and Nick first conceived of the idea of “dehydrated water” in 2016 and experimented until they found a way to eliminate the need for the complicated water filtration and treatment process used in coffee shops.
Their goal was to make quality coffee accessible in customers’ homes. Their mineral blend complies with Specialty Coffee Association standards for optimal brewing water. They currently offer a “Classic Profile” and an “Espresso Profile” — each pack contains 12 mineral capsules, and each capsule makes one gallon of water optimized for brewing coffee.
Since the company’s founding, Third Wave Water has received several awards and plenty of exposure — they have been featured on The Independent, Thrillist, Refinery29, Food & Wine, and several other websites. The Shark Tank experience gave the company the spotlight it needed to begin rapidly expanding. Since going on the show, they have shipped their product to over 50 countries and all 50 states.
“So many doors are opening up because of going on the show that never would have happened before,” Minor said.
The company is looking to the future, hoping to capitalize on the exposure from the show and continue to build its loyal customer base. They have a few new product ideas, but Nick cautions that nothing new will be released until they have perfected their current offerings.“Just like iPhones or any new product, you have to tier your products,” he said. “You don’t want to just throw everything out at once, and we have a lot of other product that is coming. We’re kind of hammering down where we’re at today, making this product the best experience we can with the new foil and the new film, and then eventually, there will be more stuff in the works.”
Minor is focused on catching up with the backlog of orders from Shark Tank but mentioned that he always enjoys experimenting and has plenty of ideas for the future.
“We have new stuff always in the pipeline, but right now it’s about nailing down what we have now,” he said. “The goal is to launch some new products in January and February — but I’ll just say that our next ideas are super secret.”
One project that they agreed to disclose was a research capstone that they contributed to with the University of Dayton for the research institute. It will be announced publicly soon.
“That’s not the only thing under the hood — it’s just one of the big projects,” Nick said.
Even as Third Wave Water is growing rapidly, Minor and Nick both emphasized that theirs is a local company with local connections. They have hired about 12 college students from the area and are hoping to hire an official intern soon.
Nick mentioned that working with local universities such as Wright State and Ohio State, as well as Cedarville, has been “very fun.”
They will also be expanding their small offices into the building next door, hopefully making enough room for their rapidly growing business.
“We’re pretty tight here and already losing room, but we’re planning on staying around,” Minor said. “Cedarville’s not such a bad place.”
Alexandria Hentschel is a sophomore International Studies and Spanish double major and the Off-Campus news editor for Cedars. She enjoys old books, strong coffee, and honest debate.