OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder on Taking Over the Alternative Water Industry with Mad Tasty [Exclusive]

Christina Kumar
8 min readAug 14, 2020

The singer has achieved massive success in the music world and is now taking on the business world.

Ryan Tedder is making waves in the business world. As the lead singer of OneRepublic with hits such as “Counting Stars,” which recently hit 3 billion views last month on YouTube; he is also leading the sparkling water industry with his new beverage company, Mad Tasty which has a new antiviral wellness shot in the works. Known as a judge on the hit show, Songland; Ryan Tedder knows a hit when he sees it. He has written and produced songs including “All the Right Moves” and “Apologize” as well as “Halo” by Beyoncé, “Happier” by Ed Sheeran, “If I Can’t Have You” by Kelly Clarkson, “Bleeding Love” by Leona Lewis, and “Rumour Has It” by Adele among others.

Where did the idea for Mad Tasty come about?

Ryan: The idea came about from… I went through an extremely stressful, like stress-filled 2016 through 2017. I was just like pretty much an absolute stress disaster. I had traveled so much on tour with OneRepublic that I had completely unraveled my sleep cycle and my serotonin levels had plummeted. I couldn’t sleep. I was wildly stressed out and I ended up on Xanax. I was having heart palpitations, waking up at three in the morning, just like crazy anxiety, heart palpitations. It was really stressing me out. And I ended up on Xanax. Around the same time, I was reading about CBD and I knew about it because I went to high school with the Stanley brothers. They started Charlotte’s Web CBD, largest CBD company in the world. I ended up investing in them before they went public.

I do a lot of early-stage investments in companies and they educated me on the endocannabinoid system… I was invested in Charlotte’s Web, watching the CBD thing explode. I got roped in with the doctor, Dr. Jeff Chin, who is a PhD-MD and he educated me even more on CBD. I wanted a way to take it every day, but I didn’t like the taste of it. You do like those droppers and tasters. It’s very, very medicinal and plants. And I just didn’t like it. And I don’t like drinking olive oil either, which is how they mix it.

So, like what if you combined something we all need more of every day, water, with something we need every day CBD. And then if you made it taste good and it was really that simple. And I got lucky. I ended up getting connected with this scientist that formulated, invented the Pumpkin Spice Latte for Starbucks out of Seattle. She also created nitro cold brew and the Unicorn Latte and like all the specialty drinks, she’s a genius. Right? So, I got moved on with her, told her what I wanted. She designed the flavors based on the flavors I wanted. And the reason we’re called Mad Tasty is largely in part because of her formulations. We’re all-natural, our water’s sourced from the Cascade Mountains, and our flavor is unparalleled. There’s not a single beverage in this space that comes close to our flavor profile in terms of quality and just for overall taste.

So yeah, that’s pretty much it. And then we partnered with Drop4Drop and did a one-to-one campaign, which we’re still doing, which is like, we’re basically like the Toms shoes of beverages. So, every time you buy a can, you’re buying 12 ounces for yourself, you’re also buying 12 ounces of clean drinking water for people in places that need it. So, we build clean water wells in India and Africa, and we’re currently doing our fourth well right now. So that’s pretty much the nexus of the company. And I partnered with the guy that I’ve known forever from Interscope, where I’m signed to Interscope records. So, I brought them into the fold, even helped them with marketing and having access to the musical world and all the recording artists I work with and television has been super, super helpful.

Can you tell us more about your entrepreneurial journey?

Ryan: Yeah. So, I’m kind of a dyed in the wool entrepreneur, whether I like it or not. I’m an early-stage investor. I’ve launched multiple companies. My wife and I co-own a baby products company called Moon Jax. M-O-O-N J-A-X. The number one teether in the country; by far the best in class. And we’re doing about 3 million a year on that product, but we’re about to be onboarded to Target within their chains, which I think is going to explode the whole category for us. We started that company two years ago. That’s done really well. I have invested in Flows Water, RightRice, the guy that invented Popchips also does RightRice, which is the rice that’s made out of vegetables, so I would say a friends and family investor in that, Sweet Green Salad Company or the salad chain rather.

And who else? I mean, probably 20 different companies, everything from tech companies, like the athletic community, public goods, that’s another one invested in. Kinds of things that catch my eye that I enjoy, that I know are going to react to the marketplace. I was a friends and family investor in Dos Hombres Mezcal, the Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul Mezcal company; we’ve literally doubled every day. Since January, every month has doubled the sales of the previous month. So, it’s quickly gone from a new company to it’s now the number one Mezcal within BevMo. We’re the largest independently owned Mezcal company in the world. Every other, out of the top 20, all the rest of the other 20 are owned by major companies.

So, and then finally, I just helped launch a hand sanitizer company called EMU, E-M-U, stands for everyone must use and we just got onboarded. It’s like the Beats headphones of hand sanitizers. So, you know, sanitizers; it all smells, it’s all terrible, it smells like bad alcohol, the branding is terrible. There’s not one brand in the space. There’s just a bunch of companies selling sticky, smelly alcohol-based sanitization. And we just kind of looked at it and thought, I think somebody can do it better, I’m sick of complaining about how bad this stuff is. Let’s just fix it.

I’m not running the company. It’s different than Mad Tasty. I’m not the face of it, but I really helped get it into retail. It’s 100% recyclable, GSA approved, 2.2 ounces. We have four different fragrances. So, you smell no alcohol. We have vitamin E and aloe in the spray. It’s a spray, first of all, which is innovative itself. It’s like a compressed air spray. It’s like Sun Bum, Sun Bum Sunscreen. So, it sprays like that. And then, if we can, we make a donation to COVID-19 vaccine research and development. So, when you buy the can you’re funding COVID-19 vaccine research. And in the last 10 days we’ve been onboarded at Target, Albertson’s, Rite Aid, Paper Source, Papyrus, Total Wine and Liquor, DSW, Nordstrom, and on and on and on, just like, it’s been crazy.

Like it went from non-existing, you know, in the last two weeks, the orders have just exploded because it’s the only brand in the space. It looks cool. It smells great. It feels great. And none of the other products do and hand sanitizer’s here to stay, even after COVID. Masks will stay away; social distancing will go away. Sanitizer, keeping your hands and surfaces clean, is not going away. So, we figured let’s make it. If we have to use this, it’s an essential accessory. If it’s essential and it’s an accessory, let’s make it cool. Let’s make it cool, let’s make it smell good, because you know, why not? Nobody else does. So, let’s just do it.

So, has the pandemic affected your companies in a good way or a bad way?

Ryan: I would say of all the companies I’m involved in, 90% have had a positive impact. I’ve had two companies that had a negative impact. Mad Tasty, our online sales exploded but we lost 80% of retail. We’re up 550% B2C and down 75 to 80% retail. So it goes without saying if you are in the CBD business right now, COVID has hit you hard, because so much of our sales is retail, grab and go, coffee shops and things, gyms, fitness centers, so we’ve lost a lot of that and that sucks. But the good news is we don’t have a super high burn and we’ve lowered our costs and we’re about to launch a new product. The thing that I think I’m the most excited about with Mad Tasty right now; we’re launching these immunity-boosting wellness shots. We have two ounces. They’re at the point of purchase, kind of like when you see V -Organic but ours has 50, five-zero milligrams of CBD and the flavors, we spent eight months fine-tuning the flavors, they taste better than any wellness shot on earth. They have all your, 100% vitamin C, turmeric, ginger, but you don’t get that crazy acidic burn and throat fire burn that you get from most wellness shots. Two of the active ingredients in our shots are the two primary ingredients in Tamiflu. So, our shots are actually antiviral. They are huge immunity boosters, which I think is coming at the perfect time. So, we’re launching those in collaboration with Charlotte’s Web through a lot of their retail partners and we’ll be going October 1st. So, we’re hoping to make up for some of the retail loss of Mad Tasty.

What piece of advice has helped you the most?

Ryan: Piece of advice that helped me the most? Don’t live in fear. You know, don’t worry about the things that you can’t control. Don’t lose sleep over the things you can’t control. And there’s a million reasons not to do something. If you have an idea and you want to pursue or something you want to do, you can always find a million reasons not to do it and a million opinions as to why you shouldn’t. Most people would advise you not to do things, more often than not, are telling you not to do it because they’d be jealous of the success that you might have if you succeeded. So I would say, be mono focused, do your research, work harder than anybody, figure out, find every single reason yourself, what to keep an idea from taking off or a business or a plan or whatever, be your own worst critic. Don’t let other people do it, be your own worst critic and self-edit, but ultimately, you have to operate without fear. And the only way you do that is taking the first step. You know what I mean? You just have to take the first step and then you take another one and another one, eventually, you’re in a full-on sprint and that’s really the best advice I could give. I want people to like me just like everybody else, and I feel like I’m pretty straightforward and nice and amicable with most people, so I get along.

Your reputation is critical. People have to know that you’re a person of your word, that’s the other thing. Don’t be the boy who cried wolf, the girl who cried wolf. If you say you’re going to do something and you talk about it a bunch with your friends, your family, whatever, you better do it. I mean, it’s really that simple.



Christina Kumar

Award-Winning Entrepreneur (Google for Entrepreneurs) | Author/5x Coauthor | Journalist | Interview Requests: