Smart Cups

The World's First Printed Beverage

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Company Information



Non-Alcoholic Beverages


Mission Viejo, CA

Smart Cups has created the world’s first printed beverage.

Yes, you read that correctly. This company is using a futuristic technology known as microencapsulation printing to re-design how consumer packages — specifically, beverages — are packaged, shipped, and consumed.

Smart Cups is led by Chris Kanik, a CEO with more than twenty-five years of experience in key areas like scientific research, product development, and consulting for both pharmaceutical and consumer-packaged goods companies.

Notably, Kanik was also featured on the first season of the hit television show “Food Stars,” created by world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsay. Unlike his other competition-based shows, Food Stars focused on food- and drink-industry entrepreneurs, as opposed to chefs. And Kanik took home the title in Season 1, along with a $250,000 investment from Ramsay, thanks in large part to his Smart Cups creation.

This company’s approach to beverages is meant to reduce the shipping challenges associated with traditional drinks. Liquid-based consumer products take up a lot of weight and space. And they’re part of the reason that more than seven billion metric tons of carbon dioxide were emitted in 2020 alone by the global transportation sector.

What Smart Cups has done is use three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to eliminate the need to ship liquids, thus lowering shipping space and weight. It’s a radical step in order to try and disrupt the $140 billion global functional beverages market. Here’s how it works:

As mentioned, the process involves a technology known as microencapsulation. This is a process in which tiny particles or droplets are surrounded by a coating to create small capsules with useful properties.

Essentially, Smart Cups has created 3D-printed cups that contain beverage flavors and ingredients inside. These ingredients stick to the bottom of inside of the cup, and are kept secure by a plant-based shell.

Once this shell comes into contact with liquid, it activates, releasing the ingredients that are self-stirring, and transforming a virtually empty cup into a beverage.

Another way to picture it is fruit punch or lemonade powder that you mix with water to create a beverage. The powder is essentially already in the cups. And when water is added, the two components mix to create the drink.

The environmental impact of Smart Cups’ creation is hard to understate. A truck that would ordinarily carry 100,000 traditional bottles can instead carry more than two million Smart Cups. And keep in mind that the company’s creation can potentially be used for liquids beyond consumable beverages. Smart Cups aims to target sectors like personal hygiene, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and veterinary needs.

Smart Cups has built a portfolio of patents which cover its technology. And it’s raised more than ten million dollars to-date. The company has won multiple awards, including Time Magazine’s “Best 100 Innovations of 2021” and California Small Business of the Year in 2020.

In 2021, Smart Cups generated around $400,000 in revenue. And the company is pursuing partnerships with multinational companies for white labeling and licensing opportunities. Its goal is to collaborate with brands like Pepsi and Gatorade to develop Smart Cups versions of their products.

Team Background

Chris Kanik - Founder & CEO

Chris is a former research scientist turned entrepreneur. He’s been at the helm of Smart Cups since 2011.

Previously, he was a researcher at the Rutgers University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, where he helped develop biologically-based nano robots. Before that, he was a researcher at Stevens Institute of Technology. While there, he used a high-performance liquid chromatography machine to study the chemical degradation of aspartame in diet sodas over time.

He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Cornell University.

Owen Dolan - Chief Operating Officer

Owen has more than fifteen years of design experience, and has spent time in the medical-device industry.

Before joining Smart Cups, he was Director of Operations with Assured Medical Supply, a company focused on outpatient care. He has been granted a patent for his work and has two others pending.


$3.89 million
$575.332K (15%)
Current Valuation
$57.79 million
Min. Investment
Deal Type
Title III
(For all investors)
Offering Type
Finance History
Notable Investors
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