This page contains links to products. If you click through and buy, Shark Tank Blog may receive a commission

Cougar Energy

cougar energyRyan Custer comes to episode 312 with his Cougar Energy drink, hoping to entice the Sharks to invest in his very-niche product. Custer is dating a woman who could arguably be described as a “cougar.” Eleven years his senior, she says in an interview that one of the advantages of dating a younger man is that he “plays great with my kids.”

Custer has put 3 and 1/2 years into creating and marketing his product, spending all his savings and income. He’s living at home with his parents while he tries to get the business off the ground. The niche for energy drinks for women in the 30-55 age bracket seems like a difficult one to carve out. The market boasts over $1 billion in sales each year, but the primary market is males in their teens and twenties. Older women represent a slim slice of the market share. Custer will be competing with the already-existing big names for what seems like a small percentage of customers. What will the Sharks think of his Cougar Energy drink?

Cougar Energy Shark Tank Recap

Custer enters the Shark Tank looking for $150,000 investment in return for 30% of his business. He calls “the cougar movement” a “recognizable brand, and emphasizes that he’s cashed in on a “pop culture phenomena.”

The Sharks meet his marketing pitch with chuckles. Robert Herjavec questions the definition of “cougar,” and Kevin O’Leary pins Custer down on the age range for his market, remarking, “So, Barbara, you used to be a cougar,” and earning himself a swat from Barbara Corcoran.

With the joking aside, the Sharks quickly get down to business. Daymond John wants to know about sales. Custer explains that he’s already managed to sell $60,000 worth of product. The Sharks like the number, but are disappointed to hear that it took three years to reach that level of sales.

Who’s In?

Daymond John drops out immediately, uninterested in the product.

Barbara Corcoran tries the drink, but calls the flavor “chalky.” She’s out.

Kevin O’Leary says that, by limiting the marketing to older women, Custer has “trimmed your market in two ways. You’ve said you’ve got to be a woman, and you’ve got to be a cougar, which cuts the market by, really, 75%.”

O’Leary believes the big manufacturers already crowding the arena “are paid very well to crush cockroaches like you.” He’s out.

Robert Herjavec believes that women will feel that buying a “cougar” drink makes them seem old. Mark Cuban agrees, and goes out.

Herjavec calls the product a “gag gift,” and the company’s valuation “ludicrous.” He’s out.

Cougar Energy Shark Tank Update

Despite Custer’s enthusiasm for the product, he didn’t get a deal in the Shark Tank. By overlooking the negative connotations connected with the term, “cougar,” he inadvertently created a product that could be construed as insulting to women of a certain age. In addition, he went after a very narrow niche in an already-crowded market. The Sharks didn’t buy into his concept, and, it seems, neither have most of his intended market. Cougar Energy drinks are still available via his website and Amazon, but the social media pages show very little activity, seeming to indicate that Cougar Energy has run out of steam. Custer closed the business in 2014 and as of July, 2021, is a realtor at Pinnacle Realty Advisors in Dallas.

Posts about Cougar Energy on Shark Tank Blog

Cougar Energy Drinks

Company Information





  1. Words can’t say how embarrassed I was for the guy pitching this. Describing being a cougar as a “true social movement”… yeesh. He’s sunk his 401k money into this?

  2. He’s 24 years old, his “401k” was probably like a thousand bucks. Then he tries to throw in how he designed some ugly clothes hanging up, probably on cafepress. He was awful

  3. This poor guy. He needs a cougar to buy him a better fitting suit.

  4. I’m 48 in very good shape , I take a lot of pride in keeping fit. My opinion on Cougar energy drink is a great and refreshing option on something to give me a boost through out the day. It has a famine title to it for the female that want the boost….I’m sold and would like to try.

  5. I liked his energy and this might not be the business he makes his fortune in, but he will be a success in one of his business ideas! He has lots of enthusiasm and most successful people have several failures until they hit on a product or idea that will make them their fortune. I think the Sharks were mean to him and i am sure they have had failures too.. So quit being so mean to these people who have invested so much energy and time in their dream. Instead offer them advice on what they need to do to be successful. Thanks

  6. Not a smart idea. Enough energy drinks!!! And holy crap did that suit fit horribly…

  7. Man child and the woman was just pathetic.

Speak Your Mind