LuminAID hits it big with Shark Tank investments

Shark Tank has been hitting America by storm, and our client LuminAID was fortunate enough to make an appearance this past Friday!

If you haven’t seen it yet, Shark Tank is a show where startups have the chance to pitch their products to billionaires, hoping to get an investment. It was LuminAID’s turn for a share of the spotlight and they earned a $200,000 investment from billionaire Mark Cuban. Meanwhile, here at BuddyBoss we spent the last few weeks preparing their website to handle the 3 million visitors who would inevitably come to their site during that 1 hour segment!

CHI LuminAid Shark Tank Mark Cuban
CHI LuminAid Shark Tank Mark Cuban

LuminAID is a startup owned by two intelligent women, namely Andrea Sreshta (a current MBA student at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business) and Anna Stork (2012 Kauffman Global Scholar at the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship). These two women came up with an inflatable solar light, intended for emergency purposes. The idea for LuminAID’s inflatable solar light first came up after the incident of the Haiti earthquake in 2010. But it was after a year, during the Tokyo earthquake, when the duo decided that their product could become a necessity for such emergencies and unpredictable catastrophes. Thus, it led them to put their innovative product on the market.

Currently, their technology is being used by relief organizations all over the world. The solar-charged waterproof lantern is being sold for a retail price of $19.95. Before Shark Tank, LuminAID had already earned more than $1 million in sales in the last 12 months.

On the hit program Shark Tank, LuminAID received offers from all five Sharks! It’s a rare incident to see all five Sharks throwing in their money to invest in a single company. Mark Cuban offered $200,000 for a 15 percent stake in the company, with an option to lead the next round of financing for $300,000. Another similar offer came from Robert Herjavec without the additional financing option. For a 20% stake in the company, Daymond John offered $300,000. Lori Greiner only offered $200,000. Kevin O’Leary was fast to offer a $200,000 investment for 4% in royalties up to $800,000.

In the end, Andrea and Anna chose Mark Cuban’s bid. According to Andrea, they made the right decision with Cuban. For them, Mark Cuban understands their vision about the technology as not just something to be sold as a consumer product. Congrats, ladies!

4 Responses
  1. It’s powered by Shopify, on a robust setup at Rackspace.

    Yeah it’s a crazy amount of traffic. That show gets up to 10 million viewers per episode, and a lot of those viewers check out the companies during and immediately after their pitch…

  2. Just out of WooCommerce curiosity….
    What do you think would have happened had the site been powered by WooCommerce (instead of shopify) and taken that many hits?
    Assuming your answer is something along the lines of non-favorable 😉 what do you think Woo could do to make their platform sustain such traffic and orders?

    1. Shopify is a closed system with a lot of optimization and CDN support built into it, so it was easier to optimize for traffic there. It’s possible to handle huge traffic in WooCommerce as well, but requires more effort. You can compress all the CSS and JS and combine those files (across the whole site) and the serve all that in a CDN. You can also put the site on a very good server and cache PHP and give it a lot of RAM and bandwidth to use up. It’s still risky, several million hits in a short timespan is a lot. The best thing WooCommerce can do is reduce database hits as much as possible and keep the CSS/JS light.

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