With the help of CIE programs like the Tiger Cage, Victor Marquart ’17 launched his energy supplement as a student at TU.
As a member of the Army ROTC and the Maryland National Guard who attended TU full-time to study criminal justice, Victor Marquart ’17 was your typical busy (and tired) student.
“I was up at all hours of the day and night and sometimes running on two hours of sleep,” he said. “My friends and I were spending so much money on Red Bull and coffee to stay awake, and it was really cutting into our wallets and our health. We needed a better alternative.”
Marquart researched natural energy boosters then consulted doctors and supplement manufacturers. After putting in countless hours, he developed ClearMind 4.0., an all-natural, vegan, gluten-free supplement containing vitamin B-12, L-Theanine—found in tea and used for relaxation—Alpha-GPC—European Union-approved to help prevent Alzheimer's and protect neurotransmitters— and less caffeine than two cups of coffee.
His supplement came in handy for himself when he added business owner to his already full plate.
“It was difficult,” Marquart said. “Long nights and early mornings—but it all came down to time management and goal setting. Daily goals, weekly goals and monthly goals were the only way to manage it all.”
Marquart also got a boost his senior year when he competed in the Tiger Cage pitch competition modeled after ABC's “Shark Tank” and hosted by the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE). Through the Tiger Cage and CIE, he gained confidence and connections to new people and resources to help move his business forward.
“The best part for me was the support from the [center’s] staff and the networking that came from it,” he said. “I was able to reach out to [director] Jan Baum, and she immediately set me up with people to talk to who could possibly help.”
After graduating in May 2017, Marquart was commissioned as an officer in the Army. But he has continued to grow his business, S.M.A.R.T. Labs LLC, which produces ClearMind 4.0. The supplement is now sold in stores across the United States from New Jersey to Texas. The product was also recently added to a subscription box company's product line. Marquart also recently presented at the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit in Boston.
For other students who have business ideas but aren’t sure where to start, Marquart says the key is motivation and overcoming the fear of failure.
“You have to know that no matter what you do, it is possible to achieve your dreams,” he said. “Great things don't happen overnight so don't rush it.”
“My grandfather gave me an index card of life rules and one rule is, ‘Don't be afraid to fail.’ Everything is a learning experience, and no matter what you do, you can always lean from what happened.”