Michael Brandt and Geoffrey Woo created Nootro Box, their line of nootropic supplements, to enhance everything from their stamina to their memory. Nootropics is a term for “substances that improve cognitive function.” They are the latest rage with the Silicon Valley crowd who want to max out their creative capabilities. Silicon Valley venture capitalist Andreessen Horowitz invested $2 million in the company in December, 2015 – further “proof” of the concept.
Nootro Box used the venture money for clinical testing. Their products sell in a “stack” of supplements: Rise, Sprint, and Yawn. You take Rise every morning. Sprint is for short-term but highly-concentrated tasks (taking a test,working on a big project etc.) and Yawn is for enhancing sleep. There are dozens of other nootropics out there, but Nootro Box is getting lots of hype, thanks in part to the interest from venture capitalists like Horowitz.
What may garner interest is their newest product – Go Cubes chewable coffee. It received a lot of hype after its introduction and there are no real health claims. It's basically caffeine gum. Whether the one product can overshadow the rest of the pitch will be a key factor in this pitch.
Despite the growing popularity of nootropic supplements, the science is not proven and there are many skeptics. Many claim eating right and getting adequate sleep do far more for cognitive function than any supplement, but there are plenty of believers, too. Brandt and Woo need to convince the Sharks their products do what they say they do when they pitch Nootro Box in episode 807.
My Take on Nootro Box
My oldest daughter is a L.D.N. (Licensed Dietitian/Nutritionist). She is extremely smart and works in the field of nutrition, specifically in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at a prominent national hospital. While Brandt and Woo are smart guys – they're both Stanford graduates with computer science degrees – I trust my daughter's take on nootropics more. She has a Master's (and is shooting for a Doctorate) in the field of nutrition, Brandt and Woo know computers.
When I broached the subject with her over the post-Thanksgiving tryptophan coma, she essentially called the field of nootropics a scam. Like many others with scientific backgrounds, she said a well-balanced diet and good sleep and exercise habits do far more for cognitive function than any supplement. She further stated that supplements (or drugs) are not a substitute for healthy habits. In other words, it's snake oil.
Chewable coffee is another thing entirely. I have a cup of Dunkin Donuts Caramel Swirl every day. When I don't get it, I get cranky. I don't know if chewable coffee is for me, but an unscientific survey of my family and my fishing buddies shows people would buy it. Despite the viability of the Go Cubes, the overall message this company is selling doesn't resonate with me. For that reason, I'm out.
Do Sharks Take Pills?
While several supplements got deals in the past (Marz Sprays, Cerebral Success), I think this deal is dead in the water. Even with Silicon Valley mogul Chris Sacca in the Tank, I think there will be a heightened level of skepticism from the Sharks. Mark will go out almost immediately – he's very anti-supplement and even calls the aforementioned companies that got deals a scam.
The Go Cubes may garner some interest, strictly for its novelty. Sales of that product will have to be astronomical for the other objections that get raised. There are simply too many claims made for a Shark to risk their money and reputation. Even with a huge legion of believers in the nootropics “ideology,” the Sharks are not going to be interested.