More than $1 million in pre-sales — and a mission to save marine life — wasn't enough to lure sharks on Sunday's "Shark Tank" season premiere.
Emma Rose Cohen and Miles Pepper pitched the sharks with their company FinalStraw, a $20 re-usable, collapsible straw that folds up and fits in a small key chain-sized case. FinalStraw aims to reduce plastic straw use by giving consumers an eco-friendly alternative. Plastic straws, FinalStraw says, are non-recyclable and don't decompose, polluting oceans.
To illustrate their point, the founders had 5,700 plastic straws rain down from the "Shark Tank" ceiling to represent the number of straws used every second in the United States.
FinalStraw launched in April on Kickstarter. The company made headlines this spring when it smashed its Kickstarter goal of $12,500, reaching $550,000 in seven days. At times during the campaign, the company has drawn $15,000 a day in pre-sales on its website, according to Cohen. As of this writing, FinalStraw's Kickstarter campaign page touts 38,443 backers and pledges of $1,894,878.
These numbers, while impressive, did not persuade the sharks to give the founders what they came for: a $625,000 investment in exchange for a five percent company stake.
Several sharks weren't sure the founders truly had a market yet. The Kickstarter campaign will not fulfill until November and Daymond John, for instance, struggled to believe people would pay $20 for a straw.
Lori Greiner agrees. "There's really dozens and dozens of straws out there to do what yours is doing," she says. "You haven't sold them and gotten them into people's hands yet. I like a product to be in-hand and know that it's really working."