Amelia Cosgrove and Bryan Thomas hope to build a relationship with one of the Sharks when they introduce Popup Play, their STEM-based children's playhouse company, in Shark Tank episode 815. The husband and wife team started the business in November, 2015 with the mission of bridging the gap between the virtual, digital world and the real world. With a successful Kickstarter campaign under their belt and investors lining up to work with them, they've come a long way in a short time.
The Popup Play experience starts with the PopUp Play Build Lab app. Kids pick a template of either a gingerbread house or a castle (more designs are coming soon) then design everything from windows, doors and decorations. The company then creates a playhouse from the child's design and ships it for $99. The play houses are durable, rigid fiberboard and snap together easily. Kids can color them and decorate them any way they want, plus they get to see a real-life representation of their design.
So far, they sold over 2000 play houses. Popup Play's target age is 3-9 years old and they claim the app and end product encourage analytical thinking. It's a STEM toy that fosters “an engagement with technology and engineering that will last a lifetime.” They likely need a Shark to help manage future growth and to attract licensing opportunities. Will a Shark play in this fort?
Popup Play Shark Tank Recap
Amelia and Bryan enter seeking $250,000 for 6% of the business. After explaining the business, complete with a bunch of kids playing in sample houses, they get down to business with the Sharks. They explain they have a deal with a large auto manufacturer for custom work. Out of their $330,000 in sales over the past 11 months, that deal accounts for $300,000.
Bryan explains they are more of an on-demand design and manufacturing company, not a toy company. Kevin can't see how customer acquisition costs are figured, so he goes out. Barbara follows Kevin. Mark doesn't agree with their strategy and Lori thinks it's too early; they both go out.
Chris asks if their machine can cut other materials and they say yes. After explaining that they are more of a software company, Sacca says he thinks the idea is fun. He offers $250,000 as a convertible note with a $3 million cap and the couple accepts.
Popup Play Shark Tank Update
The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. Since doing the deal, Popup Play still sells the play houses. The couple also started Popup Tech, which does branded design for businesses.