Square Wheels – SharkWheel

sharkwheelWheels are supposed to be round, but SharkWheel inventor David Patrick doesn't think so! He spent a long time coming up with the first square wheel for skateboards and went through a lot of failures. Once, he ordered $10,000 worth of useless wheels from a manufacturer, but he, along with business partner and former tennis pro Zack Fleishman, was undeterred.

The SharkWheel isn't exactly square – it just looks cube-like. It's actually three sine-wave shapes stacked on each other, which gives it the appearance of a cube when viewed from the side. The sine-wave shape allows the SharkWheel to channel debris and move over rough ground without causing the rider to wipe out. The company currently makes skateboard wheels; that's how they're proving the concept. They're also looking at other applications like wheels for wheelchairs, baby carriages and shopping carts. Could car wheels be part of the future too?

Patrick and Fleishman are looking for a Shark to join them in their SharkWheel venture when they pitch in episode 623. They won a a FedEx small business contest and raised over $100K on Indie GoGo and managed to do over $350K in sales in 2014, so they aren't some hokey start-up. The question is, will a Shark want to wheel and deal and invest in SharkWheel?

My Take on SharkWheel

I'm not a skateboarder, but my teenage daughter rides a longboard; it's been her primary mode of transportation since her car died. She plans on taking her board to college to zip around campus. She's actually heard of SharkWheel and wants me to score her a set (hint hint – think review SharkWheel peeps). A friend of hers has a set on his board, so next time he scoots by, I can check them out in action.

I'll never get on a skateboard myself, so I would never use the product, but I am intrigued by the potential for other applications. Reinventing the wheel is no small feat. The wheel is only one of the most important things to happen to humanity next to fire and indoor plumbing! If the SharkWheel design (which is patented) can work on skateboards, it could work on motorcycles, cars, or anything else with wheels. THAT is big and for that reason, I am IN.

Do Sharks Wheel and Deal?

It appears SharkWheel has proof of concept, sales, and credibility in the skateboarding world, so if they can articulate their strategy well, they could get some interest. With a product name like SharkWheel, having a Shark investor would be good cross-branding.

The problem is, skateboarding is perceived as a niche market – even though it's a multi-billion dollar one. The value for SharkWheel lies in other applications, that would make it a huge business. I don't think the company will have a problem getting to $1 million in annual sales, but if they started making wheels for wheelchairs, baby carriages, shopping carts, and motor vehicles, it could be a hundred million dollar company in a short time. That's why I think a Shark or two will bite.

What will hurt SharkWheel is they probably won't want to give up too much of the business, which usually means the Sharks pass or the entrepreneur politely declines. I think, for a variety of reasons, that this is what will happen. SharkWheel will get the Sharks bidding, but they'll leave without a deal.

 

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob Merlino.com and more.

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