Featured on the ABC TV show Shark Tank, creator of SmartX and founder and CEO of Cerebral Success, Trevor Hiltbrand, first pitched his online brand of brain health supplements to the show’s entrepreneurs.
The SmartX formula, which includes B vitamins, bacopa, Cognizin citicoline, huperzine A and omega-3 DHA, among other ingredients, was designed as a study aid by Mr. Hiltbrand, who at the time was still a college student at Brigham Young University. Part of the inspiration for the supplement was a desire to provide an effective supplement to help with focus and mental clarity, as well as offer a safe alternative to potentially dangerous and additive pharmaceuticals, such as Adderall.
“Studies have shown that up to 25% of college students use a prescription study drug during finals week while only 5% have a prescription; this is something we'd like to address,” explained Mr. Hiltbrand.
‘Shark’ and co-founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, Barbara Corcoran, believed in SmartX, and provided Mr. Hiltbrand with mentorship and a $75,000 investment in his company. The support from this investment is what led to SmartX’s performance study and partnership with GNC. Furthermore, visibility spurred from the brand’s appearance on Shark Tank quadrupled online sales of the product the night of the episode’s premiere.
Commenting in an article on LinkedIn, titled “Spotting a Winner on Shark Tank,” Ms. Corcoran said, “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.”
In a short preliminary study conducted by Cerebral Success, 10 subjects were administered either SmartX or placebo. Examined over the course of three days, participants were given a range of cognitive tests including Stroop tests, MemTrax tests and an Emotiv EEG, to measure processing speeds, memory and brain frequencies.
The statistically significant results of the study found that the participants using SmartX had an increased processing speed of 26%, memory recall of 14%, and alpha brain wave magnitude (associated with focus) by 55% after seven days of supplementation.
“The data would suggest that SmartX had a positive association with time-improvement, reaction-speed, and alpha-wave function as it relates to the three activities administered in this study,” explained Dr. Nick Conley, PharmD, in a review of the study. “These results show the promise of SmartX and warrant the need for future studies.”
He added, “The profile of stimulants has created the need for safer alternatives to be developed and this study suggests that SmartX and other over-the-counter supplements should be considered. It is apparent that more research is needed in this field, but small studies like this one help increase the overall standards of the supplement industry.”
On the Horizon…
Looking ahead, Mr. Hiltbrand sees continued growth for the product, as it’s usage has expanded into new demographics. “SmartX was originally designed as an alternative for college students that are abusing prescription study drugs without a prescription,” he noted. “That being said, the majority of our customers are working professionals and adults that are looking for a competitive edge. We've had great feedback from all age groups. We've even had a surprising number of people older than 60 that have reached out to us with very positive reviews.”
The company plans to continue expanding its retail presence and educating consumers on the benefits of brain enhancing dietary supplements.
To see Mr. Hiltbrand’s Shark Tank pitch, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5owQGeNDCCA