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zipstringStephen Fazio and Austin Hillam hope to rope a Shark with ZipString, their device that actually pushes string, in Shark Tank episode 1409. Both young men left their respective universities in 2021 to start the business which is still operated out of the Hillam’s basement in Johns Creek, Georgia. The young men were introduced by Hillam’s bishop shortly after Fazio entered his “string shooter” in the 2021 Georgia Tech Printed Circuit Board (PCB) Competition and won.

Together, they spent a lot of time in the basement getting the invention just right. It’s a small device that spins a loop of string. The built in battery is recharged by a USB cord. Beginners start with a smaller loop and graduate to larger loops. When you’re operating it the string undulates and moves in all sorts of directions. When they posted a video of it in action on Tik Tok, it got 20 million views in one day!

Once they perfected the design, they got the business started with a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised $90,466 back in October, 2021. They shipped products to backers in February, 2022. AS of the original air date, social media views of the original video have surpassed 200 million. They likely need a Shark’s help with inventory and maybe getting out of Hillam’s basement.

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Posts about ZipString on Shark Tank Blog

Zip String – THE Toy for 2022

ZipString Shark Tank Recap

Stephen and Austin enter the Shark Tank in black suits with sunglasses. They say that throughout the decades they have engaged with objects that have entertained millions. Early on, it was the yoyo. In the 60’s, they had the Etch-a-Sketch, in the 80’s there was the Rubics Cube. Stephen reaches into his jacket pocket and says “now introducing the toy of the future, ZipString!” They whip off their glasses and start playing with their toys. After performing several tricks, they say they’re seeking $100,000 for 10% of their business.

The Sharks are using their samples and they all think it’s pretty cool. Robert shouts “I LOVE IT!!!” Austin says he got the idea in a physics class; the professor had a desktop version of ZipString. He made a smaller, handheld version. When he put a video of it on social media, it got over 20 million views in one day. They’ve sold over 10,000 units so far in a year. They cost $6.35 to make and they sell for $25. Total sales are $277,000. The reason they didn’t sell more was due to supply chain issues – they couldn’t make them fast enough. With volume, they can get their costs down to $5.87. Barbara and Kevin think it’s too expensive; Robert disagrees.

Kevin offers $100,000 for a $1 royalty per unit in perpetuity. Lori loves it but she thinks it’s too early; she’s out. Barbara says it’s nothing she could help with; she’s out. Robert offers $100,000 for 20%. Kevin jumps in and offers $100,000 for 15% and Robert says he’ll go to 10%. Mark chimes in and says he thinks it will peter out; he’s out. Kevin proposes he and Robert team up at $100,000 for 20% – 10% each. The guys counter at 15% and the Sharks say no. They take Robert and Kevin’s deal.


ZipString 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 immediate aftermath of the original air date, the company was plagued with backorders and they had some irate customers. They are also combatting numerous knock off products. As of July, 2023, they’ve ironed things out and things appear to be running smoothly. At this time, there is no evidence the deal with the two Sharks closed.

The Shark Tank Blog will follow-up on ZipString & Stephen Fazio and Austin Hillam as more details become available.