Bike Powered Smoothies – Moberi

bike powered smoothiesRyan Carpenter, a self-professed Portland “hipster,” hopes the Sharks drink in his bike powered smoothies business in episode 520 on February 21. The name “Moberi” is a mash-up of “mobile food” and Oregon's native “berries.” Carpenter started making bike powered smoothies in 2011 after he saw videos of Guatemalan tribes powering all kinds of appliances with bikes. Not too long after seeing those videos, Carpenter was making bike powered blenders and looking for a mobile food permit and a location in Portland's vibrant street food scene.

Initially, Carpenter worked the fair and festival circuit, but he got a permanent spot after raising $6,000 on KickStarter last May. This spring, Carpenter opens two new locations for his bike powered smoothies business. He also sells a complete, Schwinn-powered blender and a bike-powered blender attachment for a standard bicycle.

Carpenter grew his business the same way he treats his fare: organically. When he started in 2011, he had a “primitive” set up – basically a cooler and a bike powered smoothies blender. Now his bike blenders look sharp and he has a quality, enclosed food cart. When he raised the $6,000 on Kickstarter, he did a new cart build.

As for Moberi's smoothies, they're quite popular. The signature “Moberi Smoothie” has Strawberry, Pineapple, Banana with Beet, Carrot, and Apple Juice. Moberi also sells “bowls,” a smoothie in a bowl topped with various fresh fruits, honey, and granola. Fresh, cold pressed juices are on the menu, too. They use only fresh, native (when available), organic ingredients and the novelty of bicycle powered smoothies is a hit with customers. If you want to work off a little energy, you can hop on the bike and blend your own smoothies. One thing's for sure: Carpenter won't be buying any health club memberships for his employees – they're undoubtedly in great shape!

My Take on Bike Powered Smoothies

I like smoothies. We make them almost daily in our home, albeit with “standard power,” not bicycle power. In the summer, we make fresh raspberry smoothies with bananas since we have an abundance of raspberry bushes in our yard. Throughout the rest of the year, we use whatever fruits are available and in season. My 9-year-old's favorite is a strawberry (or raspberry) banana smoothies with peanut butter!

As for a smoothie food cart, why not? Most folks want a refreshing beverage when they are out and about and a good smoothie is always a healthy (and filling) option. The added novelty of bike powered smoothies – whether it's self-powered or hipster-powered, probably adds to Moberi's draw. Portland's mobile food scene is one of the most vibrant and diverse in the nation, so Carpenter probably does very well.

Kids LOVE Moberi. They get into pedaling their own smoothie and they enjoy the end product. With all the talk about childhood obesity, a business that gets kids moving, and eating healthy, is sure to be a hit. I'd have one at a street food venue if they had them in Boston (my tastes DO go beyond hot dogs). I am ALL IN with Moberi.

Do Sharks Pedal an Investment?

Moberi is not the first mobile food business to enter the tank. Others met with mixed success, but Cousins Maine Lobster was a BIG success for Barbara Corcoran. Barbara could take a flyer on Moberi if the numbers are good and add to her “mobile food portfolio.” I can't see Mr. Wonderful going for this as he can't get a royalty on every smoothie sold! Robert, Mark, and Daymond would only go IN if the numbers were exceptional and Carpenter had big plans for growth.

Moberi could catch on in other cities and it might be able to transition from mobile food to fixed locations, but I think the only Shark who might bite is Barbara (or Barbara with another Shark). I do believe Carpenter has a nice business and when the ice melts in Portland and Spring rolls around, he'll have people lining up for some bike powered smoothies!

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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