Our family business was shown on ABC Shark Tank on Feb. 6th 2010. That was the first big exposure for Qubits building toys. My Dad a former member of the USAF, and holding a degree in Architecture, created the toys to permit children to build with a toy that was different, able to create 3D engineered structures that are stronger, bigger and more flexible than simple old fashioned Brick Toys.
Prior to going onto this TV show my Dad also created, grew, and sold a balloon company that reached $2 million in sales during its peak years. His first venture, The Incredible Balloon Machine Company allowed him to walk into the Shark Tank with a business track record. Qubits are based on designs drawn from nature. Triangulated pieces which mimic the many patterns seen in snowflakes, crystals, and nanoparticles. The Qubits pieces snap together and the unique shape 6 triangle piece allows for flexible designs in order to make spheres, tubes, and capsules.
Let's review what happened on the show.
Will the Sharks bite? Our family has been working out of our garage, and we are concerned about startup debt and the ability to further grow the business.
Qubits Shark Tank Recap
My Dad walked into the Shark Tank looking for a $90,000 investment, against a 51% ownership. A very low and generous offer. My Dad briefly demonstrated Qubits and explained some of the concepts behind the toy. Barbara Corcoran was intrigued when my Dad took pieces out of his pocket and he began building a structure right in front of the sharks. Barbara asked for a closer look. Robert Herjavec, on the other hand, was very skeptical. My Dad knew that the Sharks ultimately would ask for a controlling interest. Big investors like to demand a larger share because it allows them to keep control of the money, how it is spent and where it is spent. During last-minute discussions with one of the ABC producers, my Dad decides to offer 51% controlling interest in order to get all the sharks working together. It was a risky move to create a memorable pitch. Once my Dad mentioned the high percentage the Sharks became alarmed instead of grateful. Robert Herjavec questioned why my Dad offered the controlling share. My Dad explains that he wants to build a strong board of directors, and he wants all the Sharks on board with Qubits.
Next Kevin O'Leary asked for the sales numbers. He wants to know how much our family has been able to sell. The Sharks aren't impressed with our $8,000 in sales. To be fair we only recently started selling on e-commerce from our own website, so the numbers were very small. Kevin O'Leary said the market is already dominated by construction toy giant, Lego. Kevin O'Leary strongly advised that Qubits® needs to pursue a big money deal with one of the Big Four toy companies. Without a big toy company deal on the table, O'Leary saw no investment opportunity. Without a big toy company, he opted out. Robert Herjavec advised my Dad that he's “wasting his time” He's was the next Shark who declined to make an investment.
Kevin Harrington joined the others and he said he doesn't believe Qubits® can compete with the big toy companies. He's out. At this point, there are only two Sharks left. Barbara Corcoran drops out without giving any reason. However, my Dad said that she did say a few things but the comments were edited out of the final show. Daymond John is the last chance, he studies the toy and admires the brand name. John is impressed with the generous move in offering 51%. He thinks my Dad is well educated and has created a great Brand. Daymond is into brands. So Daymond offered a contingency deal, $90,000 for the 51%, with a condition that he first reaches out to the big four toy corporations to strike a multimillion-dollar deal with one of the major toy manufacturers. Robert Herjavec was disappointed that he didn't think of doing a contingency deal, Daymond John outsmarted him. My Dad accepted the deal and was glad to get the help of a well-connected shark.
* Qubits Shark Tank Update after Airing on Feb 6 2010
Despite John's connections and support, Qubits® was not able to reach a deal with any of the four toy manufacturers. The deal with John didn't conclude since it was a contingency but he did remain in contact. John became an online mentor to my Dad, who was later able to strike a deal of his own with a small toy company called Discovery Toys. He did that deal a year later, 2011. Discovery Toys is a toy distributor with an (AVON) style home-party business model. The deal proved very successful, and Discovery Toys gave our family the platform we needed to bring Qubits into the public eye. Sales soared after that.
Today, Qubits remains a family business, with a healthy sales record right here on Shopify and on Amazon where we are an AMAZON CHOICE product. Having a Shark Tank deal fall apart was not the end of Qubits. With dedication and hard work, our family was able to become a success.
Posts about Qubits on Shark Tank Blog
Qubits Toy Update - Shark Tank Blog
Qubits Company Information
Buy Now on Amazon
Other Companies As Seen on Shark Tank