Archive for Shark Tank

Wicked Good Cupcakes (with a wicked twist)

There is no question that I always have room for dessert. Cupcakes are known for being delicious individual desserts that are great for almost any occasion when you don’t want to get messy cutting up a cake. The problem with cupcakes is that they tend to fall or role around if you are transporting them somewhere…How could you transport and ship cupcakes without disappointing the customer?! Solution? Put the cupcake in a cup (or a jar)!!! This is exactly what a mother and daughter came up with for their growing bakery. Tracey and her daughter Dani now have a 20 million dollar business selling cupcakes in jars! Who would have thought?!

This duo has been seen on the show SharkTank and they even won over Mr. Wonderful himself.

(03/04/2015 Marshfield, MA) Wicked Good Cupcakes Tracey Noonan, right, and Danielle Vilagie (on left) got a major national boost in 2013 for their popular locally based mail order cupcake business with an investment from Kevin O'Leary, center, of Shark Tank. Wednesday, March 4, 2015. Staff Photo by Matt West

Focusing specifically on the millennial in this duo, Dani says not many 25 year olds have the privilege of owning a multi-million dollar company. I would go further to say that most people don’t see that much revenue in a lifetime.

Dani has proven that providing simple solutions can be the most elegant and effective business strategy. It’s new. It’s different. It’s tasty. And most importantly it sells. Dani also has an edgy style which is probably what gives a personal touch to the company’s name. Wicked Good Cupcakes got its foothold by making wicked good cupcakes…but the niche of being able to put it in a classy jar and ship it anywhere just opened up a whole new level of customers they couldn’t reach before.

Dani and her mom are a team. Dani, as a millennial entrepreneur, was able to offer a newness to the family recipes that I’m sure her mom aided in concocting. Their website is welcoming and enticing…which makes me even more curious to see how tasty these cupcakes are. I might just have to give into my sweet-tooth and order some. (It does look a little pricey though…so maybe I’ll save the order for a special occasion.)

Shop for some Wicked Good Cupcakes

Snap Caps – Maddie Bradshaw

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Maddie Bradshaw was worth her first million at only 13 years old.  At 16, she was selling over 60,000 of her unique necklaces a month and making over $1.6 million annually.

Her idea for these unique, interchangeable, bottle cap necklaces started out as simple school locker decorations.  At 10 years old her uncle had given her 50 old bottle caps.  She decorated them, attached magnets to them, and when her friends saw them they all wanted some.  This inspired Maddie to create different designs with bottle caps.

She created Snap Caps.  Snap Caps are necklaces with metal pendants on them to attract and magnetize bottle caps.  Every bottle cap has some kind of symbol, letter, or design so that a person can swap different caps out depending on the style they want to wear for the day.

Maddie found immediate success with her necklaces.  In nearly every store she launched them in they all sold out.  As her business continued to grow and she made her first million at 13, she attracted the attention of the national media and ended up being interviewed on ABC and was able to pitch her project on Shark Tank.  The Sharks loved her idea so much that THREE of them invested into her company!

Currently 19 years old, Maddie continues to grow and expand her business.  She has said, “The great thing about our company is that it’s growing with me.  As my tastes change, so will the products.”  Maddie has also published a book called You Can Start a Business, Too.  Her advise to other young entrepreneurs like her is to, “Follow your passion. If you come up with an idea and you love it, chances are other people will, too.”

Did Someone Say Scholarships?

In the big bad world of college searching and funding every student will ask the question “how much?” This question almost always refers to both how much it actually is to go to a school and how much scholarship said school will allot them. However, most students do not know about outside-of-school funding, whether it be state or private funding. The reason being is because of the hassle of the applications for said other scholarships and thus students leave a great asset and well of wealth to the wayside. But now there is a brilliant App/Website designed by a student to help students with their funding needs. Scholly is the brilliant and much needed brainchild of Christopher Gray. Being a low-income student himself, Gray searched for months during his latter years of high school applying for various scholarships until he had racked up enough cash to cover all college fees and then some. The process he went through however, was not an easy one nor a quick one. Thus, Scholly was born. Designed to easily connect students to private scholarships, Gray and his co-founders Nick Pirollo and Bryson Alief came up with an 8 parameter algorithm for easy scholarship connections. Even though it is practically a brand new company, Scholly has helped give out over $20,000,000 to 600,000 users since early 2015. From Chris Gray and me to my fellow broke classmates who are required to write comments; you’re welcome.

ReThink: A Millennial Entrepreneur’s Solution to Cyberbullying

Remember that one time someone said something at school and it hurt you, to the point that you remember it to this day? Maybe you experienced some form of bullying, a lot of people can identify with at least one case. Most of us grew up as kids without cellphones or access to internet for that matter. Verbal bullying consisted of what you could say to another person face to face or on the phone. With the introduction of the cell phone and mcyberbullying-benjaminmadeira-comost kids owning one, communication advances into other mediums. But with this easy mode of communication comes more ways to bully. Words over text last longer, but words can also be edited from the initial thought unlike face to face communication. So, many parents and school systems ask the question: Is there any way to try and limit text bullying without censorship of free speech?

Trisha Prabhu is a 16 year old female social entrepreneur with her mind set on creating something that diminishes cyberbullying. Trisha, around 13 years old started formulating an idea that limits bullying that takes place within the school system. She designed an app called ReThink. Over the past years, Trisha has won countless awards and finally got her idea officially endorsed by a shark on the show Shark Tank.

ReThink is an app that can be purchased by school systems where the app can be implemented to all electronics owned by the school. When kids go to respond to a message, if they use language that sounds offensive in nature, a message will pop up and ask if they would like to reword their text. This mere pause before sending has been proven to diminish cyberbullying immensely.

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Being someone who is weary about any speech censorship, I actually find this app to be acceptable because it doesn’t prohibit anyone from speaking what they think, just suggesting that they maybe rethink how they say it. It’s obvious to see that Trisha has compassion and a heart to help others, but she also has an eye to see a solution to a problem that seemed almost hopeless for many online. As an entrepreneur, she inspires me to not look past problems that are just socially accepted as how it will always be. As a communications major, she shows me how we can promote healthy communication without infringing on people’s rights to free speech.

Reeling In Success: Jack Danos

I’m from West Virginia, which means I know a thing or two about fishing. My father and I have gone fishing every year since I was a little girl…and most of the time we never catch anything. Maybe our problem was that there were never any fish around us to be caught! Jack Danos, a millennial entrepreneur of just 17 years of age, and his father, Jeff Danos, came up with a fish trick that targets people like my father and I…unlucky fishermen. Jack describes the Tactibite Fish Call as a device that is thrown in the water and lures fish in with interesting sounds. Other animal callers work with ducks and turkeys…so why not fish?!

I originally discovered Jack after watching a Shark Tank episode. He impressed me with his smarts yet also creativity to bring this fish calling idea into a device. Are there countless fish attraction products on the market? Yes…believe me. Dad and I are the suckers that check out these products. But this one stands out because of its simplicity. All you have to do is throw it in the water and let the fish come to your hook. The noises range depending on what fish you want to attract as well.

Jack’s idea is impressive because he used his knowledge about what was already on the market, and his knowledge of fish. Him and his father has tackled a large problem, that being fishermen want to catch fish. Jack values his company at around 1.5 million dollars and is expected to continue to grow in success within the next years. Maybe dad and I will have to give the Fish Call a try. Specialty of fishing and finding a niche have allowed Jack to earn a spot as a millennial entrepreneur. This can be used as a motivation to other entrepreneurs to focus on a problem you’re passionate about and reel in a successful idea.makers-3d-printed-fish-call-device-wow-judges-abcs-shark-tank-raise-150k-5

Scholarships Made Easy

As a college student, I know how expensive college is. I also know how hard it is to find scholarships that fit my needs. Christopher Gray saw this problem too as he grew up in a single parent household and had little to no means to go to college.

When Chris was in high school, he sifted through thousands of scholarships, and with a lot of hard work, he won $1.3 million in scholarships. As his own journey was very hard, Chris wanted to make it easier for other students. So Chris founded Scholly. Scholly is an app that helps high school seniors, current undergraduate students, or graduate students find scholarship money. It uses a patented scholarship-matching platform that gives you a targeted list that actually meets your needs and qualifications.

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Scholly believes that everyone should be able to afford access to a quality education, regardless of who they are, where they’re from, or what they have. It is only $2.99, so it is cheap and accessible.

After Scholly was featured on Shark Tank, it became the #1 overall app in both the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store for over 3 weeks. In addition, the app has won numerous awards and Chris Gray has also won awards for his company.

Through all this success, Scholly is still dedicated to connecting students to over $50 million in scholarships so they can go to the colleges of their dreams. The company continually tries to improve and strengthen their company so they can go on to help more students reach their full potential.

Nohbo

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Meet Benjamin Stern. At the ripe old age of 17, this kid made a deal with Shark Tank Judge Mark Cuban for 25% of his company for $100,000. Crazy right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Then I looked into this miraculous product he thought up and developed and understood why. Ben’s product, the Nohbo, is a ball of dried shampoo that when run under water can be rubbed between your hands to produce a rich shampoo. This ingenious style of shampoo produces the perfect amount of soap for you while at the same time cutting down on plastic waste, which is the main goal of this company. These travel friendly spheres are perfect for any excursion you undertake. Just take however many you need for however many days and you’ll be good to go! Because of their small design and liquid free formula they will prevent spills and wont take up tons of space in your bag. However Ben’s products aren’t just limited to shampoo. He has also produced conditioner, body-wash, and shaving cream. Robert Herjavec of Shark Tank also commented “This could be the most successful product I’ve ever been presented with on Shark Tank.” Stern is continuing to be innovative in his product ideas as well as with his upkeep on Nohbo. He says his “…growing passion is to help the environment…” and we can’t wait to see what he’ll come up with next.

Go check out his awesome product in the video below:

13-Year-Old Bow Tie Connoisseur

Mo's Bows
(Image from mosbowsmemphis.com)

I’ve loved Moziah Bridges ever since I saw him on Shark Tanka few years ago. He’s thirteen and he has his own bow tie company. He started it when he was nine under the supervision of his mom, Tramica. The thing I love most about his company is how cool the brand is. Everything about it, from the story to the bow tie designs to the way his website is set up, seems to flow together to form one coherent brand that is totally his own. He’s been successful, too. This year alone, he’s projected to make $250,000 in revenue. He sells mainly through his online store but has branched out into shops and boutiques across the United States, too.

I think his story is inspiring because he’s a perfect example that all you need to start a great company is a vision and a support system. He had no experience with the fashion industry when he got into it at nine years old, just a dream and a helpful mom. It’s grown into something huge, just because he had the courage to start.

Moziah still has a lot of dreams he’s chasing after. His goal is to be in college with his own clothing line by the time he’s 20. He also wants to get more involved with charities. Right now, he’s donating money from his business to help his local community center in Memphis.

I think Moziah’s story is fantastic. It’s a simple and classic example of what can happen when you have good intentions and a vision for where you want to go. We can all learn a lot from him.
 

CoatChex

Derek Pacque found the inspiration for his business, CoatChex, when he lost his coat when he was out one night because there was no coat check.  His business originally started as a simple, collapsible coat checking business that operated inside local bars, but he quickly became frustrated with the traditional model of giving customers a ticket when they check their coat, meant to be exchanged at the end of the night for their coat back.  Customers constantly lost their tickets and coats were easily confused.  So, Derek innovated a new coat checking system.  Instead of using tickets, CoatChex uses its own app, pictures, and QR codes, which not only makes the coat checking process much simpler, but has the potential to create even more revenue for the business because the venues that CoatChex works in desire information about their customers that CoatChex can get through their app and provide to the venues.

CoatChex actually worked at the 2012 Super Bowl in Indianapolis and did over $100,000 in sales, incredible!

Derek appeared on the TV show Shark Tank, asking for $200,000 for a 10% share of CoatChex.  Mark Cuban offered him $200,000 for 33% equity, but Derek turned him down, unwilling to give up that much of his business.  He is now seeking $1 million from angel investors to use his technology in other services and develop brand partnerships.

Derek Pacque is an exemplary entrepreneur, not because he simply found a solution to a problem, but because he developed that solution even further when it had problems of its own.  He went beyond the simple solution and innovated to find a better one.

For more information, I encourage you to visit their website, http://www.coatchex.com/, (which, might I say, is very well designed).