Clean Bottle: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

The problem? Hard-to-clean water bottles that easily get gunky and grimy. The solution? Clean Bottle. Founded in 2010, entrepreneur David Mayer created a plastic sports bottle that could be easily disassembled to make thorough cleaning and air-drying a breeze. Both the top and bottom unscrewed, and the nozzle could pop right out. The simple product was geared towards athletes like runners and cyclists. In a low-cost marketing effort, a person from the company even dressed up in a water bottle costume and ran alongside the Tour de France route to get some television time. This creative move sparked a $50,000 bump in sales.

Riding on that success, Clean Bottle appeared on Season 3, Episode 1 of "Shark Tank," which aired in January 2012. All Mayer had to do was convince Sharks Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, and Robert Herjavec that his novel plastic water bottle was worth the money. Would Clean Bottle get a "Shark Tank" deal like Ice Shaker or walk away with no luck like Define Bottle?

What happened to Clean Bottle on Shark Tank?

David Mayer hoped to make an impression by walking into the Tank with that same giant water bottle from the Tour de France schtick. Right away, Mayer asked for $60,000 in exchange for 5% equity. The investors were in for another surprise when the mascot pulled off its top to reveal legendary NBA champion, Bill Walton. Clearly, Mayer knew how to put on a show, but did the numbers match?

Clean Bottle had sold around 150,000 units totalling $750,000 in sales. The Sharks however questioned the low equity stake that Mayer was offering. Daymond John had the first counter with a significant increase of 25% in Clean Bottle. Kevin O'Leary had the second offer of $100,000 cash, no equity at all, and an added royalty of 50 cents per unit. Robert Herjavec threw his hat in the ring with an increased 10% equity and asked for $60,000. Mark Cuban joined the feeding frenzy with $60,000 and 8% equity. At the last minute, Herjavec changed his offer, dropping it down to 5% equity — matching what the entrepreneur asked for originally. After countering Cuban's offer with a 6% equity, Herjavec took offense and backed out.

Mayer stepped out to phone his father for advice and came back offering Cuban 7% equity. The other Sharks were shaking their heads in disbelief at the nickel and diming, but Cuban held firm, and Mayer accepted his offer of $60,000 for 8%.

Clean Bottle after Shark Tank

With the momentum from David Mayer's experience and investment gained on "Shark Tank," the entrepreneur tried his hand at another product called The Runner. This water bottle sleeve could also hold a smartphone so that any athlete could have easy access to their device while exercising. After a serious fundraising failure trying to launch The Runner on Kickstarter, Mayer learned from his mistakes and pitched another product called The Square.

This bottle had the same easy-to-clean disassembly, but instead was made out of stainless steel and had a sleeker square shape created with input from Apple engineers. The Kickstarter campaign was wildly successful, raising more than $126,000. Later, Mayer launched another version of The Square with a greater capacity, plastic build, and an optional water filter and infusing chamber perfect for loading up with the best fruits for hydration. This campaign raised more than $65,000. However, comments on the campaign showed numerous complaints about shipping issues, faulty bottles, and serious problems with leaking.

Is Clean Bottle still in business?

In October 2018, Clean Bottle made the decision to explore a partnership or acquisition opportunity. By December 2018, a private investment firm called Split Peak, LLC acquired the company. In a press release published on Bicycle Retailer, David Mayer said, "We have worked hard for the previous eight years to prove the market need for this solution, and we are ready to see that taken to the next level with new ownership." After Mayer was officially out of Clean Bottle, the brand was bought in 2023 by Ergode, Inc.

Clean Bottle is definitely still in business but goes by a new name — The Clean Hydration Company. The portfolio of products now includes a stainless steel bottle, tumbler, and mug; the standard and infuser-compatible plastic square-shaped bottles; and two different-sized sports bottles. Overall, reviews for all the different bottles are quite good, though there have been some complaints about leaking, design flaws, and prices.

What is next for The Clean Hydration Company?

The easy-clean design is what put David Mayer and his creation on the map with Mark Cuban. While The Square bottle and the stainless steel bottle both have that signature detachable bottom, the two versions of the insulated sports bottle available at the time of writing only open from the top. The detachable bottom is even what is referenced by the company on its Frequently Asked Questions page under the inquiry, "What makes Clean Bottles unique?" This change sparked several confused and disappointed reviews from fans of the original product who were looking to upgrade.

The company continues to sell its products directly through the website, Amazon, and wholesale to both retailers and companies looking for branded merchandise. The Facebook and Instagram pages remain active — though there have not been any hints as to what future products, if any, may be in the works.