Here's What Happened To Probiotic Maker After Shark Tank

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Probiotic foods, such as kimchi, Greek yogurt, and tempeh, are important for a healthy diet, as probiotics eliminate and balance out bad bacteria when we get sick. However, many people don't get enough probiotics from their food, leading to digestive issues, a lack of mental clarity, and skin problems like acne and eczema.

Merrick Maxfield, a Season 12 contestant on "Shark Tank," developed a solution for people with probiotic deficiencies. Maxfield's invention, the Probiotic Maker, allows beginners to make their own yogurt at home. Maxfield pitched his product to the judging panel of Sharks, but they didn't bite.

The Sharks voiced concerns about the safety of the tool, the declining popularity of yogurt, and even the cost to consumers. Maxfield may not have received a deal for his creation on "Shark Tank," but his walking away empty-handed wasn't the end of the Probiotic Maker's story. So, where is this gut health guru today?

The Probiotic Maker didn't sit well with the Sharks' stomachs

As a father of eight, Merrick Maxwell wanted to find a way to make healthy foods more accessible, but making yogurt at home only created more problems. Instead, he created a machine that could culture customized probiotics at human body temperature, so his kids could eat yogurt every day without him needing to break the bank.

Maxwell entered the tank in 2021, after five years of officially being in business with the Probiotic Maker. He asked the Sharks for an investment of $150,000 in exchange for 7% equity. Even though the Sharks seemed impressed by the Probiotic Maker's adaptability to different ingredients and flavors, they weren't as impressed with the price tag, as well as potential food safety concerns.

With each Probiotic Maker retailing for about $100, Maxwell's $150,000 in sales over the course of five years wasn't particularly confidence-boosting. Ultimately, Maxwell was unable to strike a deal with any of the Sharks, but he pressed onward with his mission to make yogurt even more nutritious.

Shark Tank's Probiotic Maker rebranded

After appearing on "Shark Tank," Merrick Maxwell rebranded the Probiotic Maker as the Shake Genie. Both products claim to make 32 servings of yogurt with only one minute of prep, though Shake Genie's Instagram bio also alleges that it can help users lose weight and save money. Regardless, both the Probiotic Maker and the Shake Genie were subjugated to Maxwell's umbrella company, Jugurt LLC, which was initially created to produce steel automobile frames.

Just months after his "Shark Tank" pitch, Maxwell's product was featured in an article in Entrepreneur, where peers praised the Probiotic Maker's ability to make full-fat, low-fat, and fat-free yogurts, as well as Greek yogurt and cream cheese.

Around the same time, Maxwell also shared that he had sold his 5000th Probiotic Maker, bringing his total sales to nearly $500,000 — certainly a big jump from the mere $150,000 he had at the time of his pitch. Of course, this was all in 2021, and a lot can happen in two years. So where is the Probiotic Maker today?

The Probiotic Maker is still making yogurt in 2023

Like many other food companies that didn't land a deal on "Shark Tank," the Probiotic Maker (or Shake Genie) is still in business today. The Probiotic Maker website is still up and running, with each yogurt-making kit selling for the same $99.95 as in 2021. The website also sells 3- and 6-packs of probiotic cultures, for $12.99 and $19.99, respectively.

The Probiotic Maker also has an Amazon storefront, where it officially sells for the same price but sometimes offers a $20 coupon. The product has a 4-star rating, with several customers saying they "highly recommend" it to anyone who wants to quickly and easily make yogurt at home.

Of course, with only a 4-star rating, a few customers have had complaints about the Probiotic Maker. While the product is supposed to heat cultures to human body temperature (between 97 and 99 degrees Fahrenheit), some customers have had problems with temperatures not rising above the 80s. Another person criticized the automatic turn-off feature, which can lead to the yogurt spoiling and users having to throw the yogurt out immediately.

Does the Probiotic Maker have plans for the future?

Entrepreneur Merrick Maxwell seems focused on just running his businesses at the moment, with his LinkedIn showing no changes to his presidency at Probiotic Maker. That being said, with his long history in marketing and sales, we can only assume he's further developing and promoting his product.

At the time of his appearance on "Shark Tank," Maxwell's Probiotic Maker was essentially a heating pad that users could wrap around a jug or carton of milk. However, given customer complaints about the product turning off or not reaching the correct temperatures, it's very possible that Maxwell and his team are working on a revised version of the Probiotic Maker.

What's more, considering Maxwell's devotion to probiotics, it's safe to say he's still spreading the word regarding what exactly probiotics are and why we should be eating them. As of early 2023, Maxwell was traveling to various expos to demonstrate his product, hoping to find new customers.