Shark Tank Deal For HyConn Deep-Sixed - Innovate Arkansas
Shark Tank Deal For HyConn Deep-Sixed
By Arkansas Business Staff, 7/4/2011 12:00:00 AMRemember the Cabot firefighter who hit it big last month on the ABC reality series "Shark Tank"?
Let's just say things didn't end as they appeared on television. Because of that, a Bentonville company may reap the benefits.
Jeff Stroope is the firefighter whose innovation - the HyConn fire hydrant and garden hose connector - was the subject of a spirited bidding war among potential investors, won by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, during one of the show's episodes.
At its conclusion, which was filmed in November, Stroope sold Cuban the entire company for $1.25 million, a three-year contract at $100,000 per year "to run the show," and 7.5 percent of all ongoing royalties.
Turns out Cuban wasn't as interested in manufacturing the product as licensing it to another company and collecting royalties. That led to Stroope's rejection of his offer.
Enter 101 Ventures, a business incubation company in Bentonville, which now has an equity position in Stroope's business.
Matt Fifer, who heads up the company along with Jeff Clapper and Mike Cockrell, said several orders have been placed for the fire hydrant connector, with as many as 30 distributors from across the country contacting the firm to help.
"But the biggest momentum is with the garden hose connector," Fifer said.
"We're in advanced talks with a couple of companies that do have worldwide distribution capabilities."
Leaders of the Arkansas Venture Center and the Little Rock Technology Park will set up offices in the former ARK Challenge space on the ground floor of the Block 2 building in the 100 block of East Markham in downtown Little Rock.
The Arkansas Research Alliance announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a $1.2 million contract from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that will extend a collaborative research program focused on graphene-based nanomaterials.
The Arkansas Science and Technology Authority has awarded a $37,000 grant for a University of Arkansas at Little Rock biology professor who says nanomaterials could increase the germination rate and biomass yield of bioenergy crops.
The Arkansas Venture Center introduced its first class of Pre-Flight graduates Tuesday night with promising, early-stage startups pitching ideas developed over the course of a 14-week, pre-accelerator program. Pre-Flight is a program created by the Nashville Entrepreneur Center in 2011 and licensed this year by the AVC in Little Rock.