Start-ups

'Shark Tank': Mark Cuban invested $100,000 in this invention that turns a pickup truck bed into a pool

Source: ABC

America loves its pickup trucks — in fact in 2018 the top three best-selling vehicles in the US were all pickups. And on Sunday's "Shark Tank," an Air Force pilot pitched a unique pickup truck accessory that won an investment from Mark Cuban: a pool liner that transforms a truck bed into a swimming pool. 

In 2014, Tommy Prestella was living in Arkansas when his toddler daughter asked to go swimming. Since their home didn't have a pool, Prestella created a makeshift pool using a tarp and bungee cords in the back of his pickup truck, and it sparked a business idea.

Prestella invented Pick-Up Pools, pool liners that transform the bed of a pick-up truck into a swimming pool. Thanks to a patent, he tells the Sharks, he is only person who is able to make the bed of a pick-up truck water-tight.

Prestella says he sells the product via his website for $200 to $210. But his lifetime sales total only $12,000. That's because after selling his inventory of 20 Pick-Up Pools in 2015, the manufacturer he had been using retired. Back to square one, 2016 was a wash as he looked for a new manufacturer. Then in 2017, he was deployed to Africa and had to pump the brakes on his pool business.

While he was away, Prestella's sister and part owner of the business found a new manufacturer, and now Prestella was in the Tank asking the Sharks for $100,000 in exchange for 25 percent of his company. He explains he wants to use the money to re-do his website and drive more traffic. 

Despite the explanation for the low sales, Kevin O'Leary is not impressed. But Cuban jumps to his defense: "The guy gets deployed to an unknown, to be unnamed, location in Africa!" he says. 

Cuban asks if Prestella can lower the sale price, which Prestella says he can get down to $60.

Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and O'Leary all pass. Barbara Corcoran is interested and offers $100,000 for 25 percent with two contingencies: Since he still has an eight-year commitment with the military, his sister-turned-partner has to be fully committed, and the price of the liner has to be less than $100. Cuban is also in, and offers $100,000 for 33 percent.

Prestella turns to Corcoran and explains he loves watching her on the show, but...

"The last time somebody told me he loved me, he left me and married my sister," Corcoran says as the other sharks laugh.

With that, Prestella accepts Cuban's offer and the two shake on it.

Don't miss: 'Shark Tank': Why Mark Cuban invested $640,000 in this company that sells empty boxes

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to ABC's "Shark Tank."

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