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elavaboxJoshua Thurmond hopes to spark some interest from the Sharks for Lavabox, his portable campfire made from ammo boxes, in Shark Tank episode 1415. Joshua runs the business with his wife, Sylvia, who does not appear on the show. The native Coloradan is a longtime outdoorsman and river guide who works developing outdoor adventure programs for people with disabilities at the National Sports Center for the Disabled.

Back in the fall of 2020, Colorado had fire bans in their parks and outdoor spaces due to extremely dry conditions. Add that to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions and Josh was not a happy camper. That’s when he had an “AH HA moment.” He put a propane gas lead inside an ammo box, added some ceramic “rocks” and his product was born. He immediately got his invention, which he calls “a flamethrower in a box,” patented. Joshua chose ammo boxes because they’re sustainable and indestructable.

Lavabox comes in several varieties. The basic model, The Vol-Can-O, costs $199. The The Tacana Twosome: LavaBox and Over-Under Grill Thingy, costs $229, the Krakotoa Firebreather (the biggest model) costs $329 and the stainless steel Hekla costs $329. He also sells a variety of accessories. You must supply your own propane tank. Lavabox is available at 21 independent retailers, mostly in Colorado, and on the company website. As of August, 2022, he’s sold over 4000 units, but he’s having trouble keeping up with his orders and has had to periodically go into “pre-order mode.” He likely wants a Shark’s help with that.

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Posts about Lavabox on Shark Tank Blog

Lava Box – Portable Camp Fires

Lavabox Shark Tank Recap

Joshua enters the Shark Tank seeking $200,000 for 10% of his company. He says people have primal desires like building campfires. The devastation caused by human caused wildfires is horrible but totally preventable. He created Lavabox to have a safe and clean way to enjoy a fire. He goes over to a table to show how it works. You just pop the top, turn on the propand and light it. He says it can go from Kumbaya to heavy metal fire as he boosts the propane level. You can grill with it too. He asks the Sharks who is going to “get lit with me?”

The Sharks examine their samples. It comes in three sizes with everything but the propane. The smallest size is the biggest seller. He sells it for $199 and it costs $25 landed. Lori asks aboiut his background. He left his job a few months ago at the National Sports Center for the Disabled. Someone on the Colorado White Water Rafting Board wanted something that could give them fire but wasn’t cumbersome, so Joshua went home and tinkered. He made 7 prototypes, picked the best one and sold 40 in a week.

The business has been open 18 months. To date (summer, 2022) he’s at $610,000 in sales. He’ll make $290,000 in profits on that. 2022  sales are projected at $1.2 million. The company sells direct to consumer with all word of mouth advertising. People like it: he sold $100,000 in products at one trade show.

Mr. Wonderful offers $200,000 for 20%. Daymond wants to know why Joshua needs a Shark. Joshua says he wants to get into big box stores. Mark doesn’t think he needs to be in Bass Pro. He has no investors and was revenue positive in 8 months. He wants a Shark as an advisor. Daymond says he likes the product and thinks it has good big box potential, he offers $200,000 for 20%.

Lori says he doesn’t need to be in a ton of big box stores, but why not Bass Pro and Camping World. She offers $200,000 for 15% and a 75 cent royalty until she recoups her money. Joshua counters with 12% and the royalty deal. Lori counters with 12.5%. Daymond goes to 15% with no royalty. Kevin goes to $200,000 for 10% with no royalty. Lori tries to convince Joshua to take her deal and after some discussion, Joshua takes it.

Lavabox Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. The deal with Lori did not close. Joshua wasn’t strapped for cash, but he did want a mentor. In the end, he didn’t want to give up 12.5% of something he worked so hard for. He did get into 21 mom and pop camping supply and sporting goods stores across the USA. The company began donating $1 from every sale to Protect Our Rivers, an organization that “works to make a lasting impact on river health through active conservation, education, and access.” The company reached it’s 2022 revenue goal of $1.2 million, with a little help from Shark Tank.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on Lavabox & Joshua Thurmond as more details become available.