Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Shark Tank: How Cerebral Success Scored A Deal With Such A Terrible Pitch

"Shark Tank" Season 5 sees Trevor Hiltbrand pitch his brain energy supplement, Cerebral Success. The presentation is shaping up to be another savage beating from the rich investors, but Hiltbrand ultimately walks away with the last laugh thanks to an unexpected savior. 

Hiltbrand is looking for an investment of $75,000 for a 20% equity stake. The company offers both pills and shot bottles, which Hiltbrand claims aid in mental agility, focus, brain health, and memory. He envisions the shot bottles hitting their stride once they land on college bookstore shelves. However, while the individual ingredients within Cerebral have gone through clinical testing, the product itself has not, which raises some red flags right away. Despite this, he's made $60,000 from selling the pills all online with some solid customer retention. Still, most of the sharks remain unconvinced that Cerebral Success is legit. Hiltbrand tries detailing the demand within the marketplace, but the sharks don't buy into his ethics or credibility. Robert Herjavec even goes as far as describing the business as "dirty money." 

In perhaps one of the most shocking twists on "Shark Tank," Barbara Corcoran actually makes an offer. She believes that the product is needed given her son and husband's experience with more hazardous focus supplements. Much to the other sharks' dismay, she offers $75,000 for 40% of the company, contingent on her having liability insurance, which Hiltbrand accepts. With Corcoran's good fortune on his side, has Hiltbrand's business been able to live up to the second half of its name? 

Cerebral Success was successful for only a little while

Barbara Corcoran's willingness to take a chance on Cerebral Success was unexpected, to say the least. As one of the least wealthy sharks, she often avoids taking on risky deals, a common reason why Corcoran has lost out on many "Shark Tank" deals in the past. But to her, aiding in Trevor Hiltbrand's mission trumped any doubt, as she stated in a LinkedIn post, "I saw young Trevor for who he was – a kid who knew the prevalence and danger of college kids popping un-prescribed Adderall pills to get them through their exams. And he had a solution."

For some time, it appeared that Cerebral was moving in the right direction. The company experienced the "Shark Tank" effect, quadrupling sales on the night of its episode's airing. Not long after, Hiltbrand rebranded the product as SmartX. With Corcoran's help, the business was able to partner with GNC and start performance studies. A small study conducted among 10 subjects using either SmartX or a placebo revealed that, after seven days, those using SmartX saw a 26% increase in processing speed, a 14% boost in memory, and a 55% increase in focus. Doctors saw the studies as promising and stated that further testing would be done. Elderly-aged customers also began reaching out, stating that the product was effective for them.

In 2015, for unknown reasons, Hiltbrand closed down the company. Since then, he has started other businesses and is currently the CEO of the solar power company Project Solar.