Music teacher turns the 'two-month hump' into millions

Travis Perry playing guitar using his product the ChordBuddy
Source: ChordBuddy
Travis Perry playing guitar using his product the ChordBuddy

Travis Perry walked into "Shark Tank" hoping for $125,000 for a 10 percent stake in his guitar-training product, Chord Buddy. He ignited a feeding frenzy in the tank and got even more than he bargained for when he agreed to a deal with panelist Robert Herjavec for $150,000 and a 20 percent stake in the company.

Who came up with the idea and how did the company get started?

The idea for ChordBuddy was mine. I've been a music teacher for more than 32 years. From experience, I learned that keeping students excited and interested in playing was key to their success.

I noticed that 7 out of 10 of new guitar students, including Bradi, my own daughter, quit taking lessons within 60 days. I call this 'the two-month hump." While teaching, I continued working on my idea of a simple "magical" device that students could easily mount on the guitar, press down a button and work on the right hand rhythm patterns until they learned how to play guitar chords on their own. Providing additional inspiration, Bradi told me, "Daddy if you'll invent that, I promise I'll learn how to play."

After researching the market, I made some contacts in the manufacturing industry and 17 prototypes later, I had the model to test with my students. Many years of product testing helped me create a two-month teaching program to complement the ChordBuddy product.

Why did you want to go onto "Shark Tank?"

I believed that national exposure for his product was the best way to build a successful business, and "Shark Tank" looked like a fantastic opportunity to raise some capital and generate national awareness.

What was it about your product and pitch that got the sharks interested?

The desire to play the guitar is almost universal and all of the sharks, especially Robert wanted to try it. Once he tried it, he was hooked and it was just a matter of negotiating the specifics.

What is it like negotiating with the sharks?

They are very smart, capable people and I really enjoyed the experience.

What has been the financial impact of being on "Shark Tank?"

With four offers on the table, I accepted Robert Herjavec's proposal of a $125,000 investment for 20 percent of the company along with another $50,000 in escrow to be used for an infomercial. The response that followed was overwhelming. Today, we're seeing more than $2 million in annual sales.

Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. & 9 p.m. ET/PT.

Meet the Sharks

  • Mark is the highly successful entrepreneur and investor who founded HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions.

  • Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business.

  • Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand.

Show Times

Tuesdays 8p & 9p ET

Upcoming Episodes

Tuesday, August 26 at 8p | 11p ET
NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton joins an entrepreneur in a pitch for his unique water bottle. Other pitches include an online business that can help people plan their own funeral, and a website site offering users real VIP access at the hottest nightlife events. Also, a follow-up story with Origaudio.

Tuesday, August 26 at 9p | 12a ET
An entrepreneur pitches a fragrance that claims to capture the scent of money, a woman brings in her luxury brand of soap and a man is overcome with emotion when it comes to his guitar learning system. Also, a “Mr. Mom” hopes his blue jean accessories spark an interest, and an update with Original Shrimp Burger.