Last Friday the final segment on the show featured RuckPack, a company pitched by Major Robert Dyer, a Marine Corps Officer. Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec made a total investment of $150,000 in the company in exchange for a 20% stake, which was twice the amount the Major went into the tank asking for. Recently we sat down with the Major and asked about his experience on Shark Tank.
Question: First off, the social media space (Twitter, Facebook) went up for grabs during your RuckPack pitch, with viewers of the show pleading with the Sharks to make you a good offer. What has been the response so far to your appearance on the show?
Answer: The response has been overwhelming, as we hoped but never expected. It has exceeded all of our plans. We’re very happy about that.
Q: In your segment you mentioned that you’re a husband, father, business owner, Marine Corps Officer and a military professor. Do you sleep? You’re clearly a driven individual — what drives you to be excellent in these areas?
A: After my deployments overseas, i didn’t think my service was done. I wanted to continue to help the community in some way, not only by developing this healthier alternative but by employing fellow vets as well. As marines, we’re mission oriented, so we see a mission and try to achieve it.
Q: Did you go into the Shark Tank hoping to work with any particular Sharks? If so, why?
A: I did. We had several conversations and believe it or not it always boiled down to Kevin O’Leary or Robert Herjavec. We think Kevin speaks “marine,” meaning he’s a no-nonsense guy who would be easy to work work with. And we thought that Robert, as a web and tech guy, would help us with the e-commerce part of our business.
Q: The demand you mentioned in the segment (15,000 units sold in about 1.5 months) was impressive. Since the time of filming, have you been able to ramp up production as you had hoped?
A: Yes. In our second round we ordered four times as much and we expect to quadruple it again next time.
Q: Your statement that “with twice as much money, we can kick twice as much ass” was a great high note for the show to end on. How did it feel to receive twice the investment that you had originally asked for?
A: We were stunned. We planned several scenarios that might come out of the show, but we certainly didn’t plan on getting more money than we asked for.
Q: How has it been to work with Kevin and Robert so far?
A: It’s been exactly what I hoped. Kevin has been awesome. His staff has been great. He has already given us some great advice. They’ve both been incredible to work with so far.
Q: What’s next on the horizon from RuckPack? How can fans of the show best support your company and vision?
A: The best way fans and customers can support us to ask their stores to carry RuckPack.
Q: If you were to offer some advice to entrepreneurs who are considering applying to Shark Tank, what would that advice be?
A: More than anything, do your homework. I watched five episodes a day, day after day, to prepare. You’ll always pick up something new. No small business is perfect. You’re going to have some things you wish you did better. Don’t make apologies, just create solutions.
Q: Is there anything else about your appearance that you’d like to add?
A: Everybody at ABC, from top to bottom, the staff and support was everything i could have hoped for.