Shark Tank

Mark Cuban-backed start-up LuminAID helps first responders in an innovative way

Key Points
  • On "Shark Tank" Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta pitched a solar inflatable light designed for disaster relief aid.
  • Stork and Sreshta asked for $200,000 in exchange for a 10% stake in their company.

Getting five offers on the table is a rarity on "Shark Tank." But for entrepreneurs Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, persuading the Sharks to believe in their product was a seamless effort.

In 2010, after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti, graduate students Stork and Sreshta were asked to design a product to help with relief efforts.

"One of the things we saw was that there was a real need for solar lighting on the ground after the earthquake, so we designed a solar inflatable light for disaster relief aid," Stork said.

From there, LuminAID was launched. Eventually, they pitched it to "Shark Tank," seeking $200,000 in exchange for a 10 percent stake in their business.

"We waited a little bit of time before going on 'Shark Tank,' and I'm glad that we did," Stork said. "We actually were going to be on a season earlier, but then we ... we were kind of pushed into the next season, and that allowed us actually to have another, I think, year of sales, basically."

But the timing wasn't the only thing that was on their side. The Sharks believed in the vision and mission of the company and were eager to help.

"It's brilliantly designed," Lori Greiner said. "I'm super impressed by you."

Five offers later, the LuminAID co-founders were in a position that few are lucky enough to experience in the Tank. Eventually, they ended up taking Mark Cuban's offer of $200,000 for a 15 percent stake, with the option to lead the next financing round.

Sreshta said Cuban has helped them stay as innovative as possible. Now, LuminAID sells solar lanterns that double as phone chargers. They've also expanded their market and sell to retail stores for camping and outdoor use, as well as to individuals for emergency kits.

"One of the more important parts of our business is that we have the opportunity for customers to buy a light and donate a light through our website, so Shark Tank has really helped us to garner more awareness about that ability," Stork said.

As a result of this, LuminAID has been able to send lights to more than 100 countries. For more information, visit

Celebrate National Small Business Week by tuning in to "Shark Tank," Thursday starting at 7 p.m. ET on CNBC.