Interview with Liddup from ABC’s Shark Tank

One of my favorite shows on TV is ABC’s Shark Tank. As an entrepreneur myself, I’m always fascinated with the products that people have created and the reaction of the Sharks to those people’s product and business.

I recently had a chance to do the following interview with Taylor Gwiazdon from Liddup who was on the April 5th episode of Shark Tank. He provides some really great insights into the show and their experience on the show. Plus, we find out what’s happening with Liddup since the show. Enjoy!

What’s Liddup?

We have taken the common ice chest/cooler and incorporated interior lighting, just like your refrigerator: you open the lid and the lights come on.  The cooler industry has been stagnant for years and being able to find what you are looking for just makes sense to us.  The LEDs inside the LiddUp Cooler give you ample lighting to find your favorite item.

Tell us about your experience getting on Shark Tank.

Our experience on Shark Tank was incredible.  It was definitely one of the most exciting moments for LiddUp.  The national exposure was great for our product, millions of people saw the cooler on the show and we enjoyed every minute of the taping.  It allowed us to finally showcase our product to the public.  I don’t think being from Las Vegas had any sort of impact on our approval.

How many times did you have to pitch to be on the show?  How much do the producers work with you on your pitch?

We practiced our pitch and rebuttal questions for months making sure we were on point with every detail of our company and could properly handle any question while on set.  At the time of taping we were a pre-revenue start-up company so we had to appropriately justify the valuation of our company.  We wrote our pitch and the producers were helpful in structuring it.

We had a slightly more fortunate approval process than most.  We were introduced to one of the producers of the show who loved our product and thought we would be a great fit for Shark Tank.  We went through the application process, paper work and audition video, and he was able to drop it right on one of the executive producer’s desk to see if they would like.  They loved us!

What was it like being on Shark Tank?  Is it as stressful as it looks?

Being on the show was a surreal moment.  It was intense standing in front of five prominent venture capitalists and pitching our product for the first time.  The great thing about the show is that it’s all business and the dialogue is non-scripted.  What you see is what you get.  The experience overall was exciting and intense, a moment we will never forget.  It was definitely stressful but we were so well prepared that they really couldn’t knock us back with an out of left field question.

What were you thinking when Robert dropped out on you?

We were a little surprised because he was upset that we wanted to discuss it.  I understand his point but he also needs to understand our decision to think it through.  He may have been making an investment in us but we would be making an equal investment in him as well, trusting his connections and work ethic to help LiddUp get off the ground.  We felt we had the right to chat about it for a second but he wanted none of that.  It’s all good though, he is a successful businessman for a reason.  It was cool having him interested in LiddUp!

What’s been happening with Liddup since Shark Tank?

We explored licensing the technology to major cooler manufacturers.  The feedback we have received is that they do not have the manufacturing capacity to start a new product line on a novel idea.   Most have asked us to manufacture the cooler and then we can discuss licensing.  This is our current mission and we are ready to pull the trigger on buying our first cooler molds as soon as our Kickstarter Campaign completes on June 3.

Any suggestions for entrepreneurs looking to go on Shark Tank?

Make sure you know your business inside and out.  Know your sales, revenues, profits, valuation, etc.  This will make sure you look prepared and know your facts so when people ask your business related questions you can answer properly.  Also, know your direction – where you want to go, what your vision is, what is the growth potential.  Make sure your responses are accurate and realistic.  You have to keep in mind that the person in front of you may not be as passionate as you are about your product or business.

If you’re interested in Liddup’s product, you can go and pre-order their lighted cooler on kickstarter.