SHARK TANK (Part 1) - Our Journey To The Tank

Our journey to the Tank started a longgg time ago. Let's take you back over ten years ago when we first started ActionGlow.

We were thirteen and sixteen years old and had just launched our website while we were at a local business expo. It wasn’t completely finished and we had very little inventory to sell, but we did it anyway and crossed our fingers that somebody from the expo actually went home and used it to purchase a lighting system after they left.

Shockingly, the checkout process on our website must’ve worked and the misspelled words must not have deterred too many people away because we sold out of all of the inventory we had built up within 48 hours (which wasn’t a lot but c’mon give us a break).

Only a few weeks went by, and all of a sudden we received TWO emails from separate Shark Tank casting members...

WE WERE STOKED

But didn’t really know what we were in for… or how long our journey to the Tank would be.

2012 - SEASON 4

 

We applied to Shark Tank for the first time.

We created a submission video acting as professional as possible and filled out all the application paperwork in between our math homework and sending out product to our customers. We were working closely with one of the casting associates throughout this process (shoutout Mindy!), but ultimately never made it through to the next round.

We were cut from Season 4 of Shark Tank (although we don’t blame the directors for this one, lol).

We chalked it up as a good learning experience and moved on.

About a year-and-a-half later, Mindy reached back out to see if we wanted to give it another shot. We were a little bit older, had a few thousand more in sales, and learned a lot since starting our company. 

2014 - SEASON 6

 

We applied for the second time.

If any of you have gone through the Shark Tank application process, you know it’s not easy. They do a good job in making sure you’re a legit company, and if you aren’t, they will be able to tell pretty quickly.

Or maybe, you just wouldn’t think about filling out that much paperwork if you weren’t serious about the opportunity... who knows.

After submitting new application paperwork and another video acting as professional as possible, we waited, and waited, and waited. You only hear back if it’s good news, and our hopes of moving forward were fading. It had been a couple months without hearing anything. By this time, it was fair to assume that…

We were cut from Season 6 of Shark Tank.

It sucked, not gonna sugar coat it. But it wasn’t the end of the road for us – and we knew that. We were still in school, and for the next couple of years would rush home every day to make business calls, send emails, and design new iterations of our product. This wasn’t normal for kids our age, but it was our normal.

Pleased to see us still in business after all this time, Mindy (bless her soul) reached out yet again to see if we were interested in applying for Season 8 of Shark Tank. I think you know where this goes next…

2016 - SEASON 8

 

We applied for the third time.

Surely, we were bound for success. We were even older, coming off our best year in sales, and at this point had a pretty good grip on all things business.

We filled out the stacks of application paperwork and refined our submission video, finally grasping the concept that this is for a TV show – so we need to be energetic and actually show our personalities. After submitting everything for a third time, we waited with high hopes of hearing something back. 

Third times a charm? 

We heard back! It was Mindy, telling us that the producers loved our video and would like to move us forward. We were thrilled, but Mindy also made it clear that there was still some approval needed from the directors. She concluded by telling us that we were in a “very good position and majority of applicants never get this phone call.”

WE CELEBRATED, prematurely?

We took our parents out to dinner (on our brokepreneur dime), tried to order an alcoholic beverage (got shut down by the waitress), and celebrated like we were catching the next flight to LA (first class, of course).

Our next call with Mindy didn’t go nearly how we expected it to. It wasn’t good news.

While the third time’s a charm for most, it wasn’t for us.

We were cut from Season 8 of Shark Tank.

 Why keep going?!

It was defeating. There was so much time and energy poured into each of our applications, what were we missing? Why were we not making the cut? These questions would haunt us for quite some time.

Our Shark Tank story paused here for a few years, but ActionGlow was doing better and better. Even with the disruption that COVID caused in our world, we were able to do some things we could only dream of. We had the opportunity to travel the world for night surf competitions, amassed an incredible group of professional athletes that all turn to ActionGlow for their night riding adventures, and were able to work with the action sport brands that have always inspired us – such as RedBull.

We were both out of school and laser-focused on the company. With more time available to pour into AG, we were making leaps in the action sport industry.

2022 rolls around, and we received a basic email reading “Season 14 Shark Tank Applications Now Open.” As a joke, I ask Dakota if we should try one last time, for good. Because we were approaching a very busy year he said no, and honestly, I don’t blame him. But that doesn’t mean I have to listen to him.

2022 - SEASON 14

 

We applied for the fourth time.

I filled out the online application, and completely forgot about it for a month. Dakota had no idea that I sent in an application, until we received a suspicious email from a casting associate named Liz wanting to learn more. Dakota was shocked to say the least, but he’s surprised me with even crazier ideas in the past. That’s the reality of the situation when your Co-Founder is also your brother. 

After some persuasion from my end, the two of us jumped on a call with Liz and did our best to win her over. Our conversation with Liz was great, and before we knew it we were thrown right into the paperwork and submission video portion of the process.

Oh boy, here we go again.. 

Being the last time we would ever consider applying to the show, we gave it everything we had and laid it ALL on the table. We filmed until 5am on four separate occasions for our submission video, poured our hearts into the application paperwork, and anxiously submitted everything to Liz (two hours past the deadline).

We felt great with what we created. Dakota being right brained handled the video portion, and I tackled the paperwork with my left brain. Not even sure if it would be accepted, we anxiously waited to hear back.

Only a few weeks went by until we heard back. It was Liz, and she sounded excited. She said that the producers loved our video and would like to move us forward. She concluded by telling us that we were in a “very good position and majority of applicants never get this phone call.”

You bet your ass we didn’t celebrate this time, lol. We just laid low and continued to focus on growing ActionGlow, trying not to get our hopes up.

It all happened so fast. Before we knew it, we were assigned a producing team (legends Shawn & Drew), started working on our pitch, and began designing / building out our display!

Does this mean we were pitching to the Sharks for sure? Well not exactly. There is more due diligence to work on, practice pitch meetings, and legal briefings. They make it clear that you can be cut from the show at any point during this process. It provided a nice uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach – that this could all be for nothing… again.

Continuing to pour everything we have into this opportunity, we received news that every entrepreneur could only ever hope to get. We were selected out of over 40,000 applicants to fly out to LA and pitch ActionGlow to the Sharks.

Are we dreaming?


4 comments


  • Diane Sawchuk

    Wow, love your story! Lived up in Kalkaska, MI. while raising my sons. My oldest son Matt, lives in North Pole AL. and cross country skis. I purchased him led lights for safety and since they are awesome. It is dark, most of the winter and he got a color changing headlight. I wish I could see his face when the light package is delivered to him!
    Thank you both for your journey and blessings for your future….


  • Marvy

    Congratulations!!! This time, you nailed it… Thanks to your determination and perseverance, you won. I am from Kingsley and so proud of you. Keep it coming. 🤗


  • MK

    So proud of you both!! Can’t wait to see you on the big stage!


  • Brandon Wireman

    So stoked for you guys and all of your success so far. What an incredible story and journey. This is inspiring for so many young entrepreneurs. Keep chasing your dreams and growing ActionGlow to be the next household name! 🤙🏼


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.