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."
Social entrepreneurship seems to be as important to today's rising generation of entrepreneurs as turning a profit. Gabe Couch's Tagless seeks to partner shoppers with personal stylists who will hook them up with nonprofit, second-hand clothing distributors.
Little Rock is on its way to becoming a true entrepreneurial hub in the image of inland startup hotbeds like Austin, Nashville, Des Moines and Omaha, according to local tech firm founder Rod Ford.
The World Trade Center Arkansas in Rogers, an affiliate of the University of Arkansas, has received a $600,000 federal grant to expand its outreach services to strengthen the state's economy, the university announced Monday.
The firm's growth was bolstered by an $82,000 investment from the Arkansas Science & Technology Authority's Seed Capital Investment Program. That investment preceded a $550,000 funding round.