Former preschool teacher turned entrepreneur Zahra Kassam hopes to school the Sharks on MontiKids, her Montessori curriculum based toys, in Shark Tank episode 1011. When she gave birth to her own children, she wanted to give them a stimulating environment that helped their development. She soon realized it was tough to do while balancing the other demands of parenthood. She also realized there were a lot of other parents who wanted the same thing for their kids but didn't know where to turn.
So Kassam set out to create toys and educational materials parents could use at home for their preschool children. The toys are based on the Montessori method, an educational approach used by tens of thousands of schools world-wide for over one hundred years. The Montessori method stresses learning through play, creativity, independence and more. Montessori learning encompasses developmentally appropriate cognitive, physical, linguistic, social and emotional materials. All toy designers at MontiKids are well versed in the method and hold Master's Degrees in education.
As for the business side of things, MontiKids is a subscription service that ships developmentally appropriate toys every three months. The programs start as early as three months of age. It costs $297 per level (there are 8 levels) and you can cancel anytime. Along with the toys come written and video guides for parents to help get the most out of the toys. There is also a support community. Kassam believes “providing educational play from birth to age 3 will help fulfill and expand your child’s potential.”
Kassam has been recognized by many leading educational foundations and groups as a leader in the field of early childhood development toys. She likely wants a Shark's help getting the message out.
MontiKids Company Information
Posts about MontiKids on Shark Tank Blog
MontiKids Shark Tank Recap
Zahra enters seeking $200,000 for 2.5% of her business. Daymond asks if he heard her correctly because that's an $8 million valuation. As she explains her business model, some of the Sharks question her. Lori wants to know what makes these toys different from other similar toys on the market. Zahra explains the value is in the educational aspect, but Lori still balks at the price.
Mark is concerned that they only have $200,000 in the bank after doing $550,000 in sales and a $2.8 million funding round. Robert thinks she's missing some discipline with her money and offers $200,000 for 10% plus a position on the board of directors.
Kevin then jumps in with a royalty deal. He offers $200,000 for 2.5% PLUS a $10 royalty until he earns his $200,000 back. After that, he wants a $2.50 royalty until he earns back $600,000. Zahra then asks Robert to go to $200,000 for 5% plus 5% advisory shares; Robert agrees.
Zahra makes a mistake after Robert agrees by asking Kevin to work with him. Robert is offended and says she's treating money like some Harvard project. With Robert out, she accepts Kevin's deal.
MontiKids 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 MontiKids closed and it's listed as one of O'Leary's investments on his website. Zahra feels a royalty deal will work well for her as she believes the company will be very successful.