Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen pitch Roominate, their line of building toys for girls, in Shark Tank episode 602, part two of the season 6 premier. They designed Roominate to get young girls to have fun and become interested with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. The two young women, both with Master's Degrees in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford, envision a world where young girls' minds are stimulated by toys that aren't Barbie Dolls and dress-up kits.
Alice built her own doll as a child when her dad gave her a mini saw; she'd asked for a Barbie! Bettina was a Lego maniac as a child. Whether their childhood toy preferences influenced their career choices is unknown, but these two women pursued engineering degrees and they want to lead the way for other young girls with Roominate.
At the heart of it, Roominate is a do-it-yourself, wired dollhouse building kit. Girls can build a dollhouse of their own design, complete with working elevators, fans, and lights. While doing market research, Alice and Bettina found educational toys are more often marketed to boys, they simply took the classic girl's dollhouse and wired it up for a tech-savvy generation. Roominate won numerous awards, including the Parents' Choice Gold, Academics' Choice Brain Toy, Dr Toy 100 Best Toys, the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award 2013, and many more.
The Roominate women are likely looking for a Shark to help them with big box distribution and manufacturing. Can they build a relationship with one of the Sharks?
Roominate Shark Tank Recap
Alice and Bettina enter seeking $500K for 5% of Roominate. They appear to connect with Barbara and Lori immediately. They explain their business and hand out Roominate toys designed for each Shark. Barbara asks them to explain how it differs from other construction toys and Alice says it inspires open-ended play.
Roominate will do $5 million in sales this year. They're going into all Toys R Us and Radio Shack stores plus other majo retailers. Even though they designed it for girls, they reveal boys are playing with it too. Mr. Wonderful is impressed by their success. Mark worries they'll have to sell through at these retailers. Mr. Wonderful echoes those concerns.
Mr. Wonderful ultimately doesn't like the valuation, so he goes out. Barbara thinks they need to hyper target the product toward girls and she goes out. Mark makes a $500K offer at 5%, contingent on Alice and Bettina mentoring his daughters. Robert thinks Mark's offer is good, he's out. Lori offers to partner with Mark and Roominate does the deal!
Roominate Shark Tank Update
Roominate had an update segment in season seven, episode 706. Since doing their deal with Mark, they got their product in over 800 Wal Mart stores. The segment shows Alice and Bettina doing a product demo in a Wal Mart with a small throng of adoring children. They further reveal they're working on a Roominate app, their sales are around $4.5 million, and they have 8 employees in a new location.