For Alex Bayer, a Rancho Palos Verdes native and CEO of Torrance–based organic smoothie company Genius Juice, entrepreneurship is second nature. “I knew I was entrepreneurial, and I was always finding different things I could sell,” says Alex. “I would buy and sell Star Wars figures on eBay—I was a big Star Wars nerd—and I would sell PlayStation systems on eBay with friends and make money that way.”
Prior to launching Genius Juice, which packs blended whole coconut in every bottle and features flavors such as original, mocha, vanilla and cinnamon, Alex worked as an insurance agent with Aflac for 7½ years. But it was a single morning ritual that resonated most with him.
“I would make a plant-based smoothie almost every morning,” he says. “I’d throw in some almond milk and coconut water and put in some fruit and protein. I absolutely loved it, and I loved how it gave me energy. I was out in the field all day knocking on doors and selling insurance, so that stuck in my mind—how great it was to make a fresh, delicious smoothie in the morning and have that to power me through the day.”
While in a friend’s kitchen for dinner one fateful night in late 2013, the idea for Genius Juice was born. “My friends cracked open a whole coconut and used the coconut water and meat, and I thought this was a genius idea,” recalls Alex. “It was so clean, delicious and nutritious.”
With sheer determination, long hours of research and hard work, and the initial help of his parents, whom he calls his “early angel investors,” Alex set out to launch his company. He offers decadent, creamy smoothies made with young Thai coconuts—all blended, mixed and bottled in Southern California.
“My parents have seen me do crazier things, and they wanted me to go into a business that I enjoy,” explains Alex. “I wanted to create a healthier, better-for-you smoothie, and I believed in the product and thought people are going to love it.” His gut instinct was right, and later the product was on shelves at local independent retailers such as Rainbow Acres Natural Foods, Erewhon Market and Bristol Farms.
By 2015 Genius Juice had caught the eye of Kimberly Albright, who at the time was a local urban forager for Whole Foods and scoured for new products and purveyors. It landed in three Whole Foods locations: El Segundo, Tustin and 3rd & Fairfax. Within a matter of months, Genius Juice was stocked on shelves at 55 Whole Foods locations throughout Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. “That was so gratifying,” says Alex.
Since then, he has expanded the company to 15 team members and launched Genius Juice in approximately 3,500 stores and retailers nationwide including Sprouts Farmers Market nationally and Target along the East and West coasts. He also appeared on the popular business reality television series Shark Tank in January 2020.
“I had to apply four times, so the fourth time’s a charm,” says Alex, who received an on-air offer for Genius Juice that was mutually declined later by both parties. “It was a life-changing experience, and it was great exposure.”
Alex affirms he’s still as passionate now as day one about Genius Juice. “I love that it’s simple and it’s the perfect snack any time of day,” he explains. “I’m in love with my own product. So I think it’s all meant to be, and I’m having a lot of fun. It is important to have an end game in mind, but also enjoying the journey is very crucial.”