Shark Tank

These 'Shark Tank' entrepreneurs turned a class project into a profitable small business

Key Points
  • Three Clemson University students pitched Kanga, a beverage-cooling product that originally started out as an idea for a class project.
  • The entrepreneurs asked for $100,000 in exchange for a 10% stake in their company.

It's the simple things in life that can lead to great opportunities. For three students at Clemson University, cold beer was one of them.

"We started Kanga in 2017 as a class project at Clemson University," said co-founder Logan LaMance. "We had to create a solution to a problem that we faced, and the biggest problem that a group of 21-year-olds dealt with was carrying around a case of warm beer all day because our coolers were too big and bulky. So, we created the first Koozie not for a can, but for the entire case of beverages to keep them cold for 7 hours without ice or hassle."

LaMance and his partners Austin Maxwell and Teddy Giard took their product to "Shark Tank," seeking $100,000 in exchange for a 10% stake. Maxwell, in particular, was a superfan of the show, saying "Shark Tank" was the reason behind his desire to pursue entrepreneurship.

The loyalty to the series clearly inspired a smart pitch, because it didn't take long for the Sharks to warm up to the idea. Plus, offering cold beers in customized Kanga coolers didn't hurt.

"There's a lot of different things that keep beers cool, as you've pointed out here. Very competitive market. Do you have any sales?" Kevin O'Leary asked.

Maxwell said Kanga reached $103,000 in sales over the first six months, in addition to landing a trial run with Anheuser-Busch. And to top it off, each of the three men put only $833 of their own money into the business. All in less than a year with only brief business experience under their belt.

"To go from receiving a 'B' on our class project just 2 short years ago to where we are today — it's really an exciting accomplishment," Maxwell said in an email to CNBC. "However — everyone on our team feels that we are just getting started and that we've barely even scratched the surface!"

LaMance said they've come a long way since the classroom. "It's hard to imagine where we'll be exactly in 5 years, but we envision the Kanga brand to be among the few that customers instantly think of when they think of coolers and beverage cooling products."

Find out if these young entrepreneurs get a deal on "Shark Tank," Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on CNBC.