At age 21, Alexiou Gibson was told by his doctor that he may not live to be 30 if he did not control his weight. This dire warning set him on a healthy living journey that has today turned him into the owner of a million-dollar health company.
Gibson became obsessed with health after the doctor’s warning and started to live a healthy lifestyle by working out, eating vegan and researching ways to consume more nutrients. His research led him to discover sea moss, which is a natural source of the mineral iodine.
While on his health journey, Gibson did not keep it a secret. He shared his workout sessions and healthy living lifestyle with his “sea moss lattes” on Instagram. Impressed by his journey, his Instagram followers began to contact him and requested to sample sea moss themselves.
Gibson saw the overwhelming interest in sea moss as an opportunity to make a few bucks. This led him to establish his company, The Transformation Factory. The company sells edible sea moss gel, which helped Gibson lose 300 pounds of weight, according to CNBC Make It.
His company offers nine sea moss gel flavors – elderberry, strawberry, strawberry/banana, mango, dragon fruit, goji berry, pineapple, soursop (guanbana) and raw. Other products include sea moss capsules and wild-crafted Irish sea moss (raw).
In 2021, Gibson launched a website for his business and within 11 months, he brought in $3.5 million in revenue, including $1.4 million in profit. Gibson has also grown his company’s 200,000 customers as well as his team from three people to 45.
“It’s an honour to help grow the sea moss market for all sea moss entrepreneurs, giving this amazing superfood a bigger platform for the world to learn about,” Gibson, who is from Wellington, Florida, wrote on a social media post. “I started making sea moss to build my [late] grandmother’s [Edwina Williamson] immune system.” He refers to his grandmother as his first employee and official taste tester.
The profitability of sea moss was not surprising because it has wide appeal among Black Americans. Gibson took his thriving business to Shark Tank on Friday in order to raise funds to expand his business. He said he wanted his sea moss to get on shelves at major retailers. He asked for $500,000 in exchange for 5% of The Transformation Factory.
However, Kevin Hart disagreed with Gibson’s valuation and made a counter-offer of $500,000 for 20% of the start-up. Another Shark Tank investor, Barbara Corcoran also offered to join Hart’s proposal to split the money and equity evenly.
Kevin O’Leary, another Shark Tank investor, made a competing offer of $500,000 for 30% of the company. But Gibson was not impressed with his offer and decided to consider the offer from Hart and Corcoran. Gibson offered them 20% of The Transformation Factory’s equity for $800,000.
After back and forth negotiations, Hart said he would be willing to compromise at $600,000 but Corcoran dropped out on the excuse that getting the product into retail stories would require too much work, according to CNBC Make It.
Billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, also a Shark Tank investor, decided to partner with Hart after weighing his options. Cuban is a vegetarian and has invested in several vegan food companies.
“Making a deal with Mark and Kevin is incredible, and growing my business with them is a dream come true,” Gibson said, after striking a deal on the platform.