Two startups in Denver are now swimming with sharks.
On Friday’s episode of ABC’s Shark Tank Show, Wedfulley and Wade Free struck deals with Sharks Robert Herjaveck and Kevin O’Leary, also known as Mister. Wonderful.”
Denver-based Wedfuly was founded in 2017 by former software engineer Caroline Kreidenberg.
He originally offered virtual wedding planning services. When the pandemic hit, Kreidenberg turned around and began helping to host virtual wedding ceremonies on Zoom. The company handles the technical side of the event, which includes the dispatch of tripods and rented equipment to film the event, as well as the provision of a remote production team to conduct and conduct live broadcast.
On-site filming is done by the couple themselves or by a tech-savvy friend or family member. Basic packages range from $ 800 to $ 1200 with add-ons available.
Kreidenberg told BusinessDen that Shark Tank producers reached out to the company in March and the segment was filmed in July.
“I was there for an hour and a half and I don’t remember anything happening because there is so much adrenaline there and I feel like I passed out,” Kreidenberg said.
At the show, Kreidenberg donned a wedding veil and asked for $ 200,000 in exchange for a 5% stake in the company. She told a group of investors that Wedfuly has hosted 700 virtual weddings since March 2020 and made $ 1 million in sales with a 75% return.
The three sharks quickly retreated. Diamond John said that now that the pandemic is waning, people want to be in person at weddings more than ever. Laurie Greiner said she likes Kreidenberg’s story, but the business doesn’t suit her. And Mark Cuban called scaling a problem.
O’Leary, on the other hand, was interested in the data that Kreidenberg could collect through Wedfuly. He offered $ 200,000 for a 20% stake in the company.
“I have many other companies serving weddings,” O’Leary said. “I don’t think you’re worth $ 4 million. But it’s an interesting data business if you’re willing to work with other companies so we can sell the rest to your customers. ”
When Kreidenberg asked O’Leary to lower his net worth to 10%, he quickly refused. But Herjavek decided to talk to her about it, saying that he thinks she is “a great operator and I think you can figure it out.”
“I couldn’t believe that Robert was able to match what I was opposed to, so I was very excited,” Kreidenberg told BusinessDen. “I didn’t want to give up a ton of my business because I own 100% and it’s important that we have the opportunity to do what we think is best, since we are in this business every single day.”
“We are very pleased that Robert’s experience, especially in the world of technology, is on our side,” she added. “It’s just as exciting to receive money, but it’s much more fun to have Robert on our team, and that’s more valuable.”
Wedfuly plans to use the proceeds to invest in sales and marketing, Kreidenberg said. The startup has four full-time and 15 part-time employees with an office in the Taxi RiNo building at 3455 Ringsby Court.
Without cotton wool
Wad-Free was the second Denver-based startup to appear at the show. Cindy Bray founded the company in June 2020 when she was frustrated to find sheets crumpled in the washer and dryer.
Bray was walking home with her dog from the post office when the Shark Tank called her this summer. “And I started dancing down the street,” she said. She submitted the application even before she received the prototype of her product.
Bray made a compelling presentation for her startup with a demonstration that anyone who washes the sheets can relate to.
The Wad-Free for Sheets, which retails for $ 19, is a clip that attaches to the four corners of flat or fitted sheets so they don’t get tangled in the washer or dryer.
Bray stepped into the Shark Tank and showed off the “terrible trio of wads” she experienced before the invention of Wad-Free.
“First, it’s a tornado ball,” Bray said as she pulled the twisted sheets out of the washing machine. “Yes, this tangled mess is not clean. Then we have a hostage pack where wet objects get stuck in a stretched sheet. And then there’s the burrito wad, where one sheet wraps around everything else in the load, and nothing dries inside. “
Bray, whose segment was filmed in July, told Sharks that she has raised $ 513,000 in sales since launching in June 2020. She told BusinessDen on Monday that her lifetime sales have now reached $ 1.1 million.
Wad-Free costs $ 3.50 to manufacture, and Bray said it had a net profit of 38%, which drew praise from Cuba. It manufactures the product in Denver and holds a utility model patent, trademark and copyright.
Bray has an MBA and experience in advertising and graphic design, and she ran her own company for nearly 20 years before her husband was diagnosed with a tumor in 2005. She now works full time.
“I had to build everything myself,” Bray told BusinessDen. “I am not an engineer and I have no e-commerce experience. I learned how to make my own CAD drawings for product design and injection molding. I had prototypes made at the Denver Public Library, which I tested on friends, family and strangers until I got a product that everyone liked. “
Bray asked a group of investors for $ 200,000 for a 5% stake in the company.
O’Leary, who said he sleeps naked on “the world’s most expensive Egyptian cotton, thousands of dollars,” first wondered if Wad-Free would harm the quality of his sheets. But Bray assured him that if the directions for both the fabric and the cotton-free product were followed, there would be no harm.
Cuban, on the other hand, said he “rarely” washes the sheets and was not involved in the issue, so he backed out of the deal. Heravek and John also turned down the offer for the same reasons.
So it came to O’Leary and Greiner.
O’Leary offered $ 200,000 for a 10% stake with a $ 1 million royalty.
Greiner, who called Wad-Free “a product of genius,” responded with $ 200,000 for a 25% stake in the company. She said she wanted to launch a commercial without Wad-Free and pair the product with Better Bedder, a Shark Tank product she invested in a product that prevents sheets from slipping off the bed.
“I know this sounds a lot. But let me tell you that I know how to make millionaires, ”Greiner said. “This is what I do, so this is my proposal. I want to be with you day after day and blow it up. “
Bray asked Greiner if she would make 10% of the capital, but the QVC-TV celebrity said she would not drop below 20. O’Leary, in turn, said he would reduce his capital to 5%.
In the end, Bray decided to partner with O’Leary due to his low equity stake.
“To be honest, this turned out to be the last thing I expected,” Bray told BusinessDen. “This product is clearly more like Laurie’s wheelhouse as a consumer product, but I didn’t want to give up that kind of capital and I went with Kevin because it was the best long-term game. I liked that he reduced his equity when two sharks started fighting for me. It was fast and furious. “
Bray does everything for Wad-Free outside the home and has no full-time staff. In early 2022, she plans to introduce a new product, Wad-Free, dedicated to duvets and duvet covers.
Other Local Shark Tank Alum
Other local companies that have appeared on Shark Tank include BeerMkr, a homebrewery that did not receive a deal in its May issue, and Carbondale-based MoutainFlow, which sells eco-friendly ski and snowboard wax and received a $ 300,000 per bottle deal. 20% of shares from Barbara Corcoran and O’Leary.
McSquares, which has a new deal with Mr. Wonderful, worth $ 50,000 for 11% of the company, was shown on Shark Tank last May, and Golf Kicks struck a deal with Mark Cuban for an October 2019 release.
The Fort Collins donut maker who appeared on the show has since filed for bankruptcy and opened three new stores.