Entrepreneur Michael DeSanti brings his squirrel proof bird feeder, called Squirrel Boss, to Shark Tank episode 421. DeSanti is a former aerospace pro who loves the outdoors – and birds. Like a lot of people who keep bird feeders out, he hated wasting money on bird food to feed squirrels. The little buggers are the bane of bird feeding folks everywhere, so DeSanti sought a marketable solution and spent almost two years perfecting his version of the squirrel proof bird feeder.
DeSanti designed a sturdy bird feeder that delivers a small, static electric shock via a remote control. If you see a squirrel on the bird feeder, just push a button and he'll jump right off. The shock isn't big enough to hurt the squirrel, but soon they'll be trained to stay away from the bird feeder. I used to throw fire crackers out in the yard when squirrels molested my bird feeder. Soon, they were trained to get off the thing when they heard the back door open! DeSanti's version of the squirrel proof bird feeder is a lot quieter than my method. As for what the squirrels do when he's not home to push the button, DeSanti says “the squirrels don't bother me when I'm not home!”
Is there a market for a Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder?
According to the National Sunflower Association (yes there IS such an organization), Americans spend $2.2 billion on birdseed each year with a total of $32 billion spent in the “birding industry” (including equipment, transportation, guides, etc). We have a couple of non squirrel proof bird feeders in our yard, but the dog keeps the fluffy tailed interlopers away from them.
If I didn't have a dog, I'd consider the Squirrel Boss. I know a lot of people who'd like this idea. Even though it seems like a cruel way to keep them off the feeder, not many people will lose too much sleep if a rat with a bushy tail gets a bit of a jolt. I know a few people who might actually enjoy zapping the little vermin!
Will Sharks get a jolt from Squirrel Boss?
This is a classic Shark Tank/As Seen on TV type of product: it solves a problem, appeals to a large market, and it is moderately priced. DeSanti's been selling the Squirrel Boss online since 2009, but he's most likely looking to the Sharks for expanded distribution as much as he is for funding.
I could see any of the Sharks jumping on this business. In a press release photo, Lori, Daymond, and Mark are taking a “closer look” at the Squirrel Boss, so maybe they all team up on this one? Mr. Wonderful will also likely float some sort of royalty proposal; he'd probably want a royalty on each squirrel zapped!
I am predicting a deal for Squirrel Boss and I am “IN” with my squirrel zapping remote firmly in hand!