15-Year-Old Entrepreneur Looks to Disrupt Sugary Drinks Market

Recent Shark Tank contestant infuses some 'sweet' innovation in his product that seeks to replace soda and sports beverages.

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By Adam Toren

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you watched ABC's Shark Tank on March 14, you probably came away impressed by 15-year old inventor and entrepreneur, Carter Kostler. Carter saw some disturbing statistics about childhood obesity and witnessed first hand at his own school the rampant consumption of sugary sport and soda drinks by kids. He knew there had to be a better portable drink solution and decided to innovate from something he saw in his own home: fruit infused water.

Carter watched his own mom make delicious and healthy fruit infusions in large pitchers at home, but then struggle for a take-along option. From observing his mom and from his desire to give kids better drink options, he came up with his original prototype for the Define Bottle when he was 13. With support from his parents on the industrial design, patent attorneys and manufacturing, Carter was able to create the perfected Define Bottle.

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In a recent interview with Carter, I asked him what gave him the idea to create the Define Bottle. Carter explains that, "I wanted to come up with a healthy, natural way for people to hydrate when on the go. A big part of my mission is to get people of all ages off of sugary drinks such as soda."

The Define Bottle is available in several sizes, from a standard water bottle (12 oz.), a sleek "mini" size (7 oz.), and even a mega sport sized option (17 oz.). Define is made with a strainer that allows the great tastes and natural sugars of the assorted fruits and vegetables you choose to come through the water, without any of the seeds or skins seeping through. No more spitting out lemon or cucumber seeds. It's a simple yet brilliant design that puts the power to be your own water mixologist in your hands.

Related: Home-Brewed Coca-Cola in 2015 Could Transform the Beverage Industry

Carter is proud of his design and excited to be selling the Define Bottle on his website and in stores such as Whole Foods, but this 15 year old is probably most proud of the opportunities that Define Bottle presents to others. Not only does it help provide healthy alternatives to soda and energy drinks for the masses, but Carter also provides a portion of all proceeds to The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, of which he's also a youth advisory board member. In 2013, Entrepreneur Magazine listed his company on their most brilliant list of the year. Carter was also a national finalist in Michelle Obama's Partnership for a Healthier America's "End Childhood Obesity Innovation" Challenge.

His accolades continue to grow, but this teenage innovator remains humble. When I asked what advice he'd give other entrepreneurial youth, he says, "Prepare and have your family's support. It is important to know from the beginning that there are a lot of highs and lows, and there is no such thing as overnight success."

Spoken like a true entrepreneur.

Related: 3 Lucky Traits Every Entrepreneur Can Learn From The Irish

Adam Toren

Serial entrepreneur, mentor, advisor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com

Adam Toren is a serial entrepreneur, mentor, investor and co-founder of YoungEntrepreneur.com. He is co-author, with his brother Matthew, of Kidpreneurs and Small Business, BIG Vision: Lessons on How to Dominate Your Market from Self-Made Entrepreneurs Who Did it Right (Wiley). He's based in Phoenix, Ariz.

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