Former ‘Shark Tank’ Competitor of ‘Me and the Bees’ Lemonade Gets More Than $800K from NFL Players

Mikaila Ulmer founded Me and the Bees Lemonade as a 4-year-old. (Me & the Bees)

A pre-teen entrepreneur is well on her way to getting her lemonade business out of the start-up stage thanks to some NFL players who appreciate her vision.

Mikaila Ulmer, is the 12-year-old founder of Me and the Bees lemonade, which she pitched on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2015. Since then, her product has been sold in Whole Foods, Wegmans and Sprouts, among other stores. On July 6, former Houston Texans running back Arian Foster announced he and nine other NFL stars have invested $810,000 into the beverage company, which also works to save honeybees from extinction.

“Anytime you invest in anything you look at if it’s going to be profitable,” said Foster told The Houston Chronicle at the Been Brilliant Entrepreneur Day. “We look for companies that match our main focus of developing a good product but are also good people and do it for the right reasons. It’s more than about money to us. We believe that investing in small Black businesses is extremely important.”

“She’s so humble,” Foster added of Mikaila. “You always have to be open and willing to learn, and she is.”

Other investors in the start-up include Detroit Lions safety Glover Quin Jr., Oakland Raiders quarterback E.J. Manuel, and Houston Texans offensive tackle Duane A. Brown, to name a few. Lameck Humble Lukanga, founder of Life Line Financial Group, and Nick Martin, vice president of Strategic Partnerships at McLaren Technology Group, also contributed to Me and the Bees.

“I’m very happy that I’m able to work with [Foster and Quin] and they invested in my company and them helping us and mentoring us and believing in our mission,” Mikaila said to The Chronicle. “I think we have a better chance of achieving our goals. That keeps me pumped and excited every day.”

The brand has experienced vast growth in the last year, with distribution growing by more than 104 percent from 2016 to 2017.

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