The Tandem Boogie slogan is “it takes two.”
So it was fitting the inflatable invention created by a ocean-loving San Clemente family didn’t just score a deal on “Shark Tank,” they got two investors to jump aboard to team up and financially back the creation.
The Clark family – parents John and Manya and daughters Alleanna, Juliette and Lyla – made their world-wide television debut Friday, March 12, on “Shark Tank,” a well-known series on ABC showcasing people pitching a panel to invest in their products.
Not all get the shark investors, however, to bite on their pitches.
The episode, which was filmed last August, shows the family of five coming out enthusiastically introducing themselves before asking for $100,000 for a 10% stake of the company.
They showed a video of the Tandem Boogie, much of it filmed in their hometown of San Clemente, showcasing how two people could ride waves on the large inflatable bodyboard side by side, or in front and behind.
They even got shark Robert Herjavec to give it a shot, the businessman smiling wide as he tilted back and forth and even did a flip while he mimicked being in the ocean.
“It was super fun, it felt solid,” he said.
The family got to talk about their background and what roles they each have in the business, which had already raised Kickstarter funds of upward $30,000 to make the first few hundred boards.
The Clarks also talked about their love for the ocean and how they enjoyed doing water sports together, showing all five on a stand-up paddleboard in the Dana Point Harbor.
Manya and John Clark also got to promote their shelving business, Modern Shelving, sharing how they’ve been entrepreneurs since their daughters were young.
Daughter Juliette, who introduced herself as the CFO, or Chief Fun Officer, talked about how they had to pivot sales online because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The first two sharks, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary, passed on making a deal, as did investor Mark Cuban.
But Herjavec talked about another Orange County family he teamed with years ago, the Hamborgs, who created the Hamboards – a cross between a stand-up paddleboard and skateboard made in Huntington Beach.
“That was my investment, they were the California dream,” he said. “I learned a lot from the Hamboards. You have something they didn’t: a patent.”
But, he said, to even consider a deal he would need a bigger stake in the company.
“It was a lot of work. I’ll give you $100,000, but I don’t want 10%,” he said.
John Clark jumped at a chance to negotiate.
“Are you solo or do you want a Tandem Boogie partner?” he asked.
The team turned to shark investor Daniel Lubetzky, who agreed that for $100,000 and 35% stake in the company, he would team up with Herjavec to cut a deal.
The Clark family took a moment to huddle up to discuss the offer and declared they would accept the deal.
“Getting a deal like this, our goal was to get two sharks – it’s very much on brand,” John Clark said. “We couldn’t really envision going into the tank and getting just one. We have double the opportunity.”
In the months leading up to the showing on Friday, it was difficult to not divulge the outcome to friends and supporters.
“It was so hard not to talk about it. People want to know how it went,” Juliette Clark said. “When you say ‘Shark Tank’, their eyes light up, everyone knows what it is and has seen the show at some point in their lives.”
John Clark said he knows how much work a new company takes and the exposure it needs to in order to reach new customers. Giving up more equity than they asked for originally was OK in the end, he said.
“It’s all relative. They’ll have more stake in excelling us,” he said. “We didn’t have to accept that deal.”
Manya Clark said they had a “pretty realistic” valuation of the company in their mind.
“We knew we had to negotiate,” she said.
Friday was a special day not just because they made their world-wide debut, it’s also the same day the final paperwork for the deal with the shark investors closed.
“They don’t all close and most of them don’t close by the air date,” Manya said.
They also timed a rebranding to coincide with the show.
They formed a new company called Tandm Inc. that will serve as the umbrella for a range of products they hope to release, including Tandm Snow or Tandm Skate, with Tandem Boogie now called Tandm Surf to include other types of inflatable water boards such as more traditional surfboard shapes.
They also are working on a Tandm app to get two people together to do adventurous activities together, which will launch by summer.
“Whether it’s surfing or any outdoor activity, we see the benefit and need and interest in wanting to find partners to do stuff with,” said Alleanna Clark. “We have a solid vision for a mobile app that connects people with our branding and story, connecting people to do these activities to get outside or to reconnect with friends after being inside all year.”
Originally, their goal was to sell 1,000 boards this year. But John Clark said he learned a valuable lesson from the shark investors and is now aiming toward upward $1 million in sales by year’s end.
“You need to think bigger and dream big,” they told him.
And hopefully, the Clarks said, they can inspire other families to work together to create and innovate fun products for others to enjoy.
“Not to get a little corny about it, but it’s the foundation of what we believe,” he said.
More info: tandemboogie.com.
Source: Orange County Register