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."
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During the past two years, UA has installed 1,000 wireless access points in residence halls and academic buildings; officials say that's the halfway point of getting the UA tuned in wirelessly to the Internet.