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VSeatAni Armstrong and Bryan Visintin pitch VSeat, their more comfortable, ergonomic and “noseless” bicycle seat, in Shark Tank episode 1520. The journey toward creating the business began in 2017. Ani was biking and soaking up the California sun but her seat caused her great discomfort. She turned to her trainer, Bryan, also an avid cyclist, for a solution. When they went looking for a more comfortable seat, they couldn’t find one, so they decided to make their own.

This sent them on a journey to creat a “noseless” bicycle seat. Without the protruding “nose” on the seat, there’s less discomfort in sensitive areas. The seat is wider and flatter than typical bike seats, so it’s more comfortable and supportive. It’s made of metal covered in a gel-like coating. The seat is also designed to minimize bumps. They have a patent for their seat, so it is proprietary.

The VSeat is available on the company website. At $119, it’s definitely pricier than typical bicycle seats, but they make them right here in the USA. People seem to like the seats – the company website is loaded with positive reviews. The pair likely wants a Shark to help them get into bike shops and sporting goods stores.

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The VSeat: Revolutionizing Cycling Comfort

VSeat Shark Tank Recap

Ani and Bryan enter the Shark Tank seeking $150,000 for 5% of their company. Bryan, who entered on a bike, gets off the bike and moans. He says we still haven’t solved the problem of uncomfortable soreness while riding a bike, even when wearing uncomfortable padded shorts. Ani says riding bikes should be fun: being outdooors, the breeze in your hair or (while pointing at Kevin) on your aerodynamic head. Bryan says even after a short ride, it still hurts “down there.”

Ani says traditional bike seats put too much pressure on blood vessels that restrict blood flow to the genitals. That’s why they created the VSeat. It’s a noseless and bumpless bike seat ergonomically designed to support you for long rides. It’s soft pad allows for un restricted blood flow for women and men. Even though the seat is tilted slightly forward, the slip resistant material will “grip your tush like only your lover could.” It’s as easy to install as adjusting your bicycle seat and you don’t have to wear shorts that look like diapers.

Samples and Questions

Kevin and Barbara come onstage to try the seats that are on 2 stationary bikes. Kevin tries a traditional seat first. He says it’s uncomfortable and tries the VSEAT. Kevin likes the VSeat better. Barbara says the VSeat feels “lightyears better.” The Sharks head back to theiir seats and the questions start.

Each seat costs $24 landed and they sell for $119. They have over $300,000 in sales over a 3 year period. They sold $26,000 last year and this year (2023) they’ve sold a little over $270,000. Once they started advertising on Facebook and Instagram, sales blew up.

Origins and Backgrounds

The whole thing started when Ani told Bryan that she didn’t want to desensitize her “lady bits” while biking. As a trainer, Bryan knew traditional bike seats were bad, but not how bad until Ani pointed it out to him. They knew something had to be done.

Ani says her background is the American Dream come true. She was adopted at 3 days old in Iran by a “wonderful Armenian family.” Fast forward to when she was 12 years old and the Iranian police wanted to take her to jail because a strand of her hair was visible through her hijab. Her mom begged for her life and saved her life. Shortly after, the family left everything behind an moved to the USA. She went to school and got a degree in Chemistry and an MBA. She worked for Big Pharma and in medical devices, but there was something missing. Right before her dad died, she told him she wanted to improve people’s lives and do something better. In a small way, the Vseat does that – it let’s people live a healthier life. She tells the Sharks that if she can do it, anybody can.

Who’s In?

After the Sharks applaud Ani’s story, she tells them they have 6 patents, both utility and design. Ani and Bryan invested $500,000 of their own money into the business. Kevin says stores sell bike seats and new bikes come with a seat. This is a retrofit, he wants to know why they don’t license it. They haven’t approached bike makers about licensing yet because they think they need to be on the front lines explaining the product to their customers.

Ani thinks they can be direct to consumer and license it to manufacturers. Mark talks about Guardian Bikes and how he wanted to license their braking technology to other bike manufacturers. Manufacturers nixed the idea because the margins on bikes are so thin, they wouldn’t entertain adding additional costs to the bikes. Mark says he doesn’t think the market is as big as the others think it is and he goes out.

Kevin says there’s a lot of work here and offers $150,000 for 20%. Robert says he’s the “sporty Shark” and that he identifies with Ani’s immigrant story. He says they convinced him that direct to consumer is the way to go for the next 2-3 years and if it sells, the bike manufacturers will come to them. Robert offers $150,000 for 15%. Barbara says it doesn’t look comfortable and that it’ll be a hard sell; she’s out. Lori says they have 2 great offers; she goes out so they can focus on them. They counter Robert with 12.5% and he says no.

They ask if Kevin and Robert will team up and Robert says they will but for 25%. Ani asks if they’d do that for double the money and Kevin says no. Kevin and Robert offer $200,000 for 25% and Ani and Bryan accept.

VSeat Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. In the week after airing, they were shipping seats out like hot cakes. Bryan and Ani took a selfie of them in their shipping center and they look exhausted. As of May, 2024, just a month after originally airing, the deal with the Sharks has not closed. The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on VSeat & Ani Armstrong and Bryan Visintin as more details become available.