Grypmat is a company from Solon, OH, started by a jet mechanic who has created a product that keeps his tools accessible regardless of the nearby available surfaces. As the entrepreneur demonstrated, sometimes a jet mechanic only has the nose cone of a fighter jet on which to keep his tools, a surface from which one can imagine tools falling from with some frequency.
Instead, the entrepreneur created a flexible, gripped tool tray that can hold tols up to a seventy-degree angle while working near curved surfaces. And while he was inspired by avaition uses, the tray can really be used on any curved surface such as cars, boats, rockets... The entrepreneur has had interest in the product in fields as varied as medical uses to gunsmiths to even NASA. The Grypmat has a utility patent pending.
The product comes in three variations, small, medium, and large with medium being the best selling variation. Prices range from $29.99 for small to $49.99 for medium to $69.99 for the large unit. The entrepreneur claims that the cost to produce is 25% of the retail price landed.
Since starting the business ten months ago, Grypmat has sold 10,000 units in $400,000 gross sales, netting between $150,000 and $200,000. However, the company has not yet turned a profit as all of the net revenue has been re-invested into inventory.
The Grypmat has no in-store retail sales yet. Every sales has come either through the company website direct to consumer or at tradeshows.
In terms of prior investment, the entrepreneur has invested $40,000 of his own money in addition to another $100,000 in grants and competition winnings.
The entrepreneur has two goals for the money he is trying to raise. First, he wants to invest more in inventory to bring the cost down. Secondly, he would like to focus on innonvation and create new accessory products that attach to the Grypmat to form a system.
Branson came in as a third for more money more equity on original $200k/20% offer from Mark & Lori offering to take over back office and sales for a chargeback fee.
Making A Deal
Lori and Mark jumped on the deal and made an offer for $200,000 for 20% of the business. In return, they would take over the back office and sales in return for a servicing fee to allow the entrepreneur to focus on innovation.
His presence actually sweetened the pot for the entrepreneur. The original deal offered by Lori and Mark would have resulted in a bite of half the valuation or $1,000,000. With Sir Richard getting in on the deal and bringing extra money to the table it reduced to the bite to $800,000 and now associates the product with someone who carries a lot of weight in the adventure space. Something that surely can’t hurt the product’s prospects.
On his personal blog Sir Richard posted an update on the three companies he invested in on Season Nine. One of these was Grypmat that he, along with Mark and Lori invested in together. Sir Richard states that Grypmats are now being used by the Virgin space companies as well by electric race teams. Additionally, the entrepreneur was featured on the cover of Time magazine, listed one of Forbes 30 under 30 people to watch and the mat itself won the gold Thomas Edison Award. Lastly, the entrepreneur made an effort to focus more sales direct to consumer through the website just six months before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, blunting some of the effect on sales.
- Richard Branson's Blog, "Three years on from Shark Tank", published October 26th, 2020.