Kill Cliff founder Todd Ehrlich had no idea that his concept for a “recovery” drink that tasted good could be made so successful. He describes the original idea as an all natural “liquid aspirin”.
Todd felt a calling to serve our nation in a more meaningful way so he dropped out of college to join the Navy SEALs. In the mid-nineties there was “a lot going on” so he left the TEAMS after four years. He regrets not staying in the Navy but says it DID give him an interesting perspective.
A serial entrepreneur, Todd has been involved in the creation and growth of several companies. He prefers working in the early stages and then handing off the company to others. He started Kill Cliff with $100,000 in savings and shares some cautionary tales about venture capital for other aspiring entrepreneurs. It took him nearly four years to go from concept to product, including testing numerous formulas with a beverage manufacturer before he felt the mix was right.
Todd and G.W. Garrison (a friend who supported the cause for sweat equity) spent much of their early days peddling Kill Cliff out of the trunks of their cars. “I’d sell Kill Cliff to a dry cleaner if I could.” Things really began to take off when bar goers in the Atlanta area discovered that the drink made a great mixer. The product also began very popular among the cross fit community and they have remained a very loyal part of the customer base.
An important part of Todd’s motivation for creating Kill Cliff was to provide a sustainable giving platform for the Navy SEAL Foundation. To date, the company has donated over $1 million in proceeds from sales to the Foundation.
Inspired by his own start up struggles, Todd created Rule 1 Ventures Studio in order to give aspiring entrepreneurs the tools to be successful and “compress time” in their journey.
TAKEAWAY: “Everyone is going to have bad days and get discouraged. It is about how you process the discouragement and make it to the next day and remain optimistic.”