“Momtrepreneurs” Courtney Turich and Christie Barany pitch Monkey Mat, what they call a “portable floor” in Shark Tank Episode 528 this Friday. The two became friends when they worked together at a Fortune 500 medical device company. Courtney spilled red wine all over Christie's white shirt and the pair became friends. Courtney got the idea for Monkey Mat when she had a long layover at the airport and “cringed” while watching her kids crawl all over the dirty floor. She wanted a portable floor she could take with her anywhere, but without the bulk of a big blanket.
Christie liked the idea and thought the portable floor concept could be used for a variety of activities including concerts, picnics and other “on the go” activities. They started experimenting and ended up with Monkey Mat. It's a light weight, 5 x 5, portable floor that has weighted corners and folds up into a small pouch that can fit in a purse or diaper bag. They launched the business in 2012 and have thousands of fans. The Monkey Mat won an award at the ABC Kids Expo in 2013 and the product was featured at the Woman's Inventors Network in Las Vegas last fall.
They've sold thousands of units on Amazon and appear to have a hit on their hands!
My Take on The Portable Floor
When I first saw this I thought “it's a blanket, what's the big deal?” The big selling point for Monkey Mat is it's lightweight, water-resistant, and it folds up into a tiny pouch, making it very convenient. As a father of five, I've toted my fair share of kids gear around. We always had a blanket or two in the trunk of the car, but we never took one on a plane!
When you have small kids, it's a good idea to have something for them to lay or sit down on. Most public places are pretty skeevy, so I see where Christie and Courtney are coming from. Having moved beyond the diaper bag stage of life, this is not a product I'd buy today, but I probably would have owned two or three when the kids were little (we had 4 under age 5 at one point- CRAZY!). Monkey Mat will undoubtedly be a popular baby shower gift and find its way into mommies' diaper bags all over the country before long.
Will the Sharks Monkey Around or Invest?
Baby products fare well in the Tank if the value is there for the Sharks. The Monkey Mat ladies have proof of concept for their product, but will the Sharks think it's a one trick pony? It's a good product. If Lori thinks it will sell on QVC, she'll bid. I don't think Robert or Mr. Wonderful will bite, but Mark or Barbara might.
One of the Lady Sharks would bring good karma to this business, but Mark invested in kid's products in the past. He'll want a decent chunk (30%) of the business and he'll also want to know if Courtney and Christie have other products up their sleeves. I think the Monkey Mat gals get a deal, the question is, which Shark will it be?