Here's What Happened To Sunniva Super Coffee After Shark Tank

The dorm room-to-boardroom success story of Sunniva Super Coffee is well-known in the business world. Jordan DeCicco, a student-athlete at Philadelphia University, found himself tired after early morning basketball practices and struggling to concentrate on his classwork. He went to a convenience store in search of an energy drink or bottled coffee beverage that wasn't full of calories, sugar, and artificial ingredients. When he didn't find what he was looking for, he started concocting alternatives in his dorm, using ingredients like organic coffee, coconut oil, monk fruit, and plant-based proteins. He invited his older brothers, Jake and Jim (also athletes), on board to help with product testing and eventually formed a company in 2015. "I fell in love with the idea of bringing this healthy, all-natural, better-for-you product to the mainstream market," DeCicco said (via YouTube).

The DeCicco brothers' entrepreneurial journey eventually took them to ABC's "Shark Tank," the investment-focused reality show where the Sharks love food and drink products and free samples as much as anyone. Super Coffee was featured on "Shark Tank" Season 9 Episode 22, which aired on February 18, 2018. At the time, the healthy coffee drink was available in four flavors (plain black, vanilla, cinnamon, and mocha). It was sold at about 20 Whole Foods Markets in the Washington/Baltimore area, as well as many retail locations in the Northeast.

Super Coffee on 'Shark Tank'

Jordan, Jake, and Jim DeCicco entered the tank seeking $500,000 for a 4.5% share of their business — a relatively large amount for a relatively small share. They offered samples of their Super Coffee, which provides a caffeine boost with the added benefits of 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of healthy fats in the form of MCT coconut oil. When the show was taped in 2017, the brothers reported sales of $600,000 for the year and noted they expected sales of more than $2 million by year's end. Each bottle costs $1.05 to produce and has a retail price of $3.29, which is similar in price to bottled offerings by large brands like Starbucks.

The brothers aim to leverage their family's tradition of healthy consumption to tap into the burgeoning grocery store cold brew coffee market. To further scale their venture and establish a strong brand presence, they seek the support of a Shark. Unfortunately, most of the Sharks didn't like the taste of the coffee. Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban specifically disliked the company's valuation figures, while guest Shark Rohan Oza didn't think they were raising enough money. The Super Coffee founders left without a deal, but didn't cry into their coffee.

Super Coffee continues to build brand and buzz

It's possible that Sunniva Super Coffee is one company the millionaire and billionaire "Sharks" should have bitten. Their efforts eventually paid off, and the DeCicco brothers have been riding a caffeinated fast track to success. Later in 2018, the DeCicco brothers strategically rebranded their company to be called Kitu Life, which combines the phrase "key to life" with their focus on Keto drinks, diet, and lifestyle.

In 2019, the three siblings earned recognition in the Forbes 30 under 30 list and secured $25 million from venture capitalists for expansion. The brand has also attracted some high-profile investors, including Patrick Schwarzenegger (son of Arnold), Aaron Rodgers, singer Jennifer Lopez, baseball star Alex Rodriguez, and Baron Davis, a retired NBA player who was one of the initial investors in Vitamin Water. A distribution agreement with Anheuser-Busch has helped bring Super Coffee to stores everywhere, including Target, Walmart, CVS, and Walgreens. By the end of 2020, the ready-to-drink coffee beverage achieved a remarkable $55 million in revenue.

How Super Coffee keeps on soaring

Super Coffee doesn't just stand out because of its unique origin story. The brand has also garnered a dedicated fanbase because of its health-conscious approach. The beverage is naturally sweetened using monk fruit, a sugar substitute, and stevia. Packed with energizing coffee, nourishing MCT oil, and either milk protein isolate or plant-based pea protein, Super Coffee aims to deliver wholesome, long-lasting, jitter-free vitality without the dreaded crash.

Unlike bottled Starbucks Frappuccinos, which pack a surprising 300 calories and 47g of sugar, Super Coffee has a mere 80 calories and 0 grams of sugar, plus 200 milligrams of caffeine. Additionally, the ready-to-drink (RTD) coffee is organic, keto-friendly, gluten-free, and lactose-free. Super Coffee now sells several varieties of "Super Creamer" and a plant-based bottled coffee collection that comes in flavors like Sweet Cream, Coconut Mocha, and French Vanilla.

According to Inc Magazine, Super Coffee's rapid growth has led to its recognition as one of America's fastest-growing food and beverage brands. With sales projected at $97 million in 2021 and a valuation of $400 million, the company further solidified its position by raising an additional $106 million, reaching a valuation of $500 million later that year. By August 2022, Super Coffee's 2021 revenue had surpassed $97 million, and 2022 revenue figures reportedly reached $124 million.

Present and future of Super Coffee

"Shark Tank" helped Super Coffee build its brand and achieve national buzz, and the company is now setting its sights on the rest of the world and considering an IPO. The company moved its headquarters from New York City to Austin, Texas, to accommodate growth, per the Austin American Statesman. It employs more than 100 people and manufactures more than 30 products, including creamers, pods, and fruit-flavored energy drinks.

Presently, the company's offerings can be found in retail stores (including grocery stores, convenience stores, and fitness locations) all around the U.S., positioning them as the third-largest bottled coffee manufacturer in the United States, behind Starbucks and Dunkin'. The company has devised an extensive strategy to encourage product trials involving large-scale field marketing initiatives and in-store sampling.

The DeCicco brothers aren't just seeking to build a successful business. As former high school and collegiate athletes, they're also determined to lower sugar intake. Super Coffee's website proudly displays a live "counter," showcasing the pounds of sugar (currently over 20 million) eliminated from the American diet by those who have switched to Super Coffee from other brands.