12 NFL Stars Just Invested $810,000 in a 12-Year-Old Girl’s Lemonade Company
This is one sweet deal.
A group of 12 NFL players just invested nearly $1 million into a 12-year-old girl’s lemonade business that is also helping save bees.
Adrian Foster, a former NFL running back for the Texans, kickstarted a group that includes 11 other former and current NFL players who invested a total of $810,000 into Mikaila Ulmer’s Me & the Bees Lemonade, the Houston Chronicle reports.
Investing in a company with a 12-year-old CEO may seem risky, but these football stars see Ulmer and her budding lemonade business as a solid investment.
"[Ulmer] is very special," investor Glover Quinn NFL player for the Detroit Lions told Houston Chronicle. "Obviously, she has a bright future. Hopefully, I can be a part of it and nourish it and watch her grow. The sky is the limit. I'm very impressed with her."
At 12, Ulmer has already been in business for eight years. She told NBC News that she started the idea for Me & the Bees Lemonade at age four when her great-grandmother sent her a family recipe for flaxseed lemonade sweetened with honey and a hint of mint. Then, with support from her parents, Ulmer turned the recipe into a business for a children’s business fair in 2009 on Lemonade Day in Austin, Texas.
In 2015, Ulmer went on Shark Tank to pitch her business idea: a lemonade company that also support organizations working to save bees.
Ulmer said she was stung by two bees, which hurt, but also led her to become interested in how bees are essential for the environment, according to Me & the Bees Lemonade website.
“They’re one of our largest and most important pollinators. Saving the bees is something I have a passion for and it needs to be done,” Ulmer said in Youtube video for her company.
And so a portion of Me & the Bees Lemonade profits go to Heifer International, Texas Beekeepers Association, and Sustainable Food Center’s conservation efforts for bees.
Shark Tank investors loved her idea. Daymond John, CEO of hip-hop clothing brand Fubu, made a deal with Ulmer and helped her land an $11 million deal to sell her lemonade at Whole Foods.
Since then, Ulmer has attended business conventions, met former US President Barack Obama, and stayed in school, according to Me & the Bees Lemonade website. And in the past two years, her growth was enough to impress an entire group of NFL players.
"She's so humble," Foster said. "You always have to be open and willing to learn, and she is. I'm learning from her, too. It's a cycle. You have to keep an open mind and continue to grow."