Josh Taekman knows it takes a lot to fuel super-charged lifestyles. So when he couldn’t find an energy drink that could keep up with his active lifestyle, he set out to create one.

EBOOST is not your average energy drink — it’s a wellness brand designed to enhance performance, naturally. Launched in 2007 and rebranded in 2017, EBOOST focuses on nutrients like vitamins and minerals that are needed to sustain those who are on-the-go, delivering clean performance products that increase energy, focus, and overall well-being.

We caught up with Taekman to learn more about his health and wellness journey in CPG, what future trends he anticipates will dominate the space, and more.

Josh TaekmanForceBrands: You launched EBOOST in 2007 — what inspired you to create this product?
Josh Taekman: At the time, I owned a Marketing Agency called BUZZTONE and was introduced to a guy named Mel Rich who was a bit of a legend in the supplements space. He wanted my help to market a line of supplements to the urban marketplace because of my previous experience working in the music industry at Bad Boy Entertainment as VP of Marketing. The packaging and products he was proposing were not aligned with what would resonate with the urban market, so I recommended we do a joint venture with rapper 50 Cent and create a line of products called G-Unit Nutrition (shakes, bars, protein powders, pre-workout nutrition, etc.). I was able to get 50 and his manager on board and excited about this new venture and opportunity. Unfortunately, 50 didn’t make the final meeting that was scheduled prior to leaving for his European tour so the deal didn’t get executed.

Fast forward to 2007 when I was having lunch with my good friend John McDonald and discussing the challenges of getting to the 1-yard line in what would have been a totally unique partnership in the $20 billion supplement space. The power and influence of 50 and G-Unit at that moment in time would have helped scale the business in record time. John and I talked about the void in the marketplace of healthy, clean energy products we would personally take every day. There was Berocca from Europe, Emergen-C, and even Airborne to some degree. But none of them gave you real energy or a heavy dose of essential vitamins and minerals for focus and hydration. So we selfishly wanted to create a product that served our hard-charging daily lives — something that would make us feel great and do more all the while being clean and natural. The idea for EBOOST was born.

FB: How has EBOOST evolved over the years? Are there any unique product innovations you could share that reflect the changing demands of your consumers?
JT: The first eight years of the business was just above a glorified hobby with a small line of powders and shots but we had a very strong community and brand name. Two years ago, we underwent a complete rebrand and launched a platform that enabled us to develop a line of products based on ‘clean fuel for a better you’ that included clean pre-workout nutrition, nutrient-dense powdered green juice, and grass-fed whey protein to meet both the growing demands of our consumers and the evolving trends in nutrition. The holy grail for us was always to turn our legacy super powder into a beverage and we just launched SUPER FUEL RTD based on the same formula as our powder but in a lightly carbonated 12-oz. slim can. We also have some upcoming innovations with full spectrum hemp products in the coming months that we are super bullish on.

FB: What’s one of the biggest challenges you’ve encountered in building the EBOOST brand?
JT: The biggest challenge is that we never raised enough money to build a team and have a real marketing budget. We raised capital a few times with the help from friends and family — just enough to keep the wheels moving, but never enough to scale.

FB: The wellness space continues to gain momentum and has certainly changed a lot in the last 10 years. Where do you see the future of the movement going? What trends do you anticipate will dominate the space in the next 10 years?
JT: I see consumers becoming more educated than ever before. Every brand and product you see now is rooted in great design, packaging, and purpose. The future is definitely based more on science and clinical support. The evolution of cannabis, hemp, and CBD will have a major impact on future trends and product innovations that will play a major role in new products and their customizations over the next 10 years.

FB: At ForceBrands, we build the teams that build the brands. If you could go back and build your team any differently, what, if anything, would you change?
JT: I would have focused on hiring experts from the direct-to-consumer (DTC) space who could have built out our customer acquisition and performance marketing in the digital world. Back in the very beginning of the company, I would have also focused on Amazon in a much bigger way and been committed to hacking and figuring out how to be top-ranked brand and used their platform to launch and create new products combined with the performance marketing. At the time, very few people were focused on either of these in this space.

FB: Do you have any industry mentors who’ve helped you along the way?
JT: I have been fortunate to have a wide range of friends in the industry — from brand owners, top retail brokers, to top investors. They have all been generous with their time and insights. I respect that I’ve never had one mentor to lean into. I’ve always been receptive and open to learning from as many influential people around me in a bigger and more meaningful way because the truth is, we all need a mentor.

FB: What’s some of the best business advice you wish you could have given to your younger self?
JT: Go an inch wide and a mile deep. Focus on the customer and raise enough money to build a team of category experts.

FB: What’s ahead for EBOOST? What excites you most about the future of the team and the product?
JT: We recently announced a partnership with Arizona Beverages and launched our first RTD SUPER FUEL. The initial response on taste and efficacy has been extremely positive and we are already getting reorders and lots of interest at the retail level. We have some exciting new products in full spectrum hemp that we are about to launch, which the team is very excited about. Historically, we have done a lot with a small team but now with the growth and expansion of new products, we need to bring on some new superstar talent in the sales department.

Interested in working at an innovative beverage brand like EBOOST? Explore our specialized BevForce division.