From Idea to Shark Tank in 30 Days…

Posted: 3rd February 2012 by Kyle Rainey in As Seen on ABC's Shark Tank

As an inventor, I am always coming up with new ideas – in fact I currently have a list of over 80 different inventions. I have a U.S. Patent on an invention from when I was in college and after spending several years & a lot of money marketing & manufacturing my product, I was lucky to license it for royalty payments. Becuase of the time, money & struggles it takes to make money with a new idea, I haven’t activally pursued any of my inventions in years. Being a Mr. Mom, taking care of the household, running my art business & overseeing the building of our new home means that I rarely have the time to do anything with my inventions – other than write my ideas down on paper.

One day on a whim, I decided to send Shark Tank a simple email describing one of my ideas that I thought would do well on their show. It took me a few minutes to send the email and I never thought I would hear a response from them, but I was wrong. About a month after I sent the email, I got a call saying they were interested in “Tail Lightz” & “Twinkle Cheeks” & 30 days later I was on Shark Tank pitching my ideas to the Sharks & I never had to go on an open casting call. Everything happened so fast & in those 30 days I had to take this idea on paper &: Make prototypes & produce a clever audition video to submit to Shark Tank, Perfect my prototypes the best I could with the time I had, Write my Pitch for the show, have daily conference calls with show producers – practicing & perfecting my pitch & giving me homework to complete daily, write & submit 2 Provisional Patent Applications so that my products would be Patent Pending, Design and Trademark Logos, Obtain pricing overseas for manufacturing, Design my props and displays for my pitch, Research competition and different ways to make my products, fill out a ton of legal paperwork, all while taking care of 2 small children that were out of school for the summer & overseeing construction of a new house we are building.

Sure, my designs might have looked dated & my prototypes could have been better – but I think I did a heck of a job in such a short time frame. On Shark Tank, all I was trying to get across to the Sharks was the concept & show them different simple design ideas that are recognizable to everyone. I knew that if my products ever made it to the marketplace, the designs would be much better and current. When I was making my prototypes for the show, I only had 1 week to hire a local embroidery company to make all my samples from my quick designs & figure out ways to add and attach the lights, etc. I knew that my prototypes on the show were too thick, but that’s why they are called prototypes. I had already researched and figured out ways to make my products much thinner and more flexible where the lights would not get crushed when sitting down. I was hoping the Sharks would see the novelty aspect of my idea and how Tail Lightz could be a profitable fad and not treat my prototypes like they were the final retail ready products.

My goal for appearing on Shark Tank was not about the $50k I was seeking, but rather a chance to partner with the Best of the Best on one of my inventions so that I could potentially partner with the same investor on other inventions and business ideas. I believe that most of my inventions are far better than Tail Lightz & Twinkle Cheeks, but I also knew what type of products have the best chance at getting on the show. Since I know the struggles & amount of money needed to bring a new product to market – I knew that I needed a partner that could easily turn any product into a success. In fact, If one of the Sharks would have given me a chance, I would have gladly given them 50% of any of my other inventions or business ideas that they might be interested in. I’m sure that they would have found at least 1 invention out of my 80 that they would want to pursue. Oh well, I still had a blast pitching my idea to 5 of the most powerful investors in the country. I am thankful that I only spent 1 month and a few thousand dollars on this idea and I am happy to have had the Shark Tank experience.

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