Spooner Boards

spooner boardsBernie Miller and Ruben Guymer pitch Spooner Boards, their “skateboard without wheels,” in Shark Tank episode 729. The product is a rigid plastic board that allows users to “skateboard” on any surface. The product was “invented” in 2006 by accident. A fellow by the name of Randy Putland was cleaning out his surf shop and he wanted to dispose of an old dog crate. As he was cutting up the rigid plastic box, he inadvertently created the first prototype. Mr. Miller saw the shape, tried it out and immediately knew they were on to something. By 2008, they were making and selling the boards in the San Diego area; they brought Guymer on board to help with promotions.

They initially sold 1200 Spooner Boards and, in 2010, began targeting the physical education market. Before long, they had them in over 5000 schools. Things really took off when a teacher who also owned a few Learning Express stores put them on her shelves. Before long, the product was in over 100 Learning Express stores and selling briskly. They can be found on Amazon and in hundreds of small toy stores today. To date, over half a million products have been sold.

There are three models. The Freestyle costs $45 and is designed for kids under 4 feet tall. The Pro costs $55 and is for taller kids. The Yardboard is $99 and is like a snowboard that doesn't need snow. All the products are virtually indestructible and are made in the USA.

The guys likely want a Shark to help them get into big box retailers. Will a Shark get on this company's board and invest?

Spooner Boards Shark Tank Recap

Bernie and Ruben are joined by a third partner, Randy Butler, as they come to the Sharks looking for an investment of $400,000 in return for 16% of their company. Ruben demonstrates the Spooner and the Yardboard before they hand samples out to the Sharks.

The Sharks are impressed enough to start firing questions about sales and profit margins. In six weeks, during the Christmas season, they sold $50,000 worth of boards, 1,100 units. The boards sell for $45 and $55. The cost of manufacture is $12 and $12.50 for the small and large boards. Kevin O'Leary is impressed with the margins. Sales in the past year were $1.73 million, with projected sales of $1.8 in the coming year. They've been able to get into 1,200 retail locations. The trio began marketing through physical education programs, appearing at school shows. The boards are now used in 150,000 PE programs to date.

The company is clearing $400,000 profit per year, including the $60,000 salaries for each of the partners. With no debt and a healthy profit margin, the Sharks question what they have to offer in the deal.

Ruben explains that they want a Shark “on board.” They'd like to branch out. Although they went to the New York toy fair, and had an opportunity to go into Toys ‘r Us, they were afraid of over extending. With a Shark to guide them, they'd be able to enter the big box retailers.

Robert Herjavec explains that bringing an investor in will change the dynamic of the company, because there's an additional responsibility to the investor.

Mark Cuban agreed, mentioning a previous investment, Surf Set Fitness. The owners were overwhelmed by the change in how their company operated, and ended up buying out their Shark partners in order to return the operation to a “more leisurely pace.” Mark says that those entrepreneurs weren't ready to make that step, and he doesn't think the Spooner Board guys are, either.

Barbara interrupts to make an offer. She's willing to put up $200,000 in return for 8%, but they'll have to get a second Shark to join the deal with the other half. She's thrown down the gauntlet for her fellow Sharks.

Kevin O'Leary makes a counter offer. He thinks Spooner Boards needs capital more than a Shark partner. He's willing to give them the $400,000 in increments of $100,000. He wants a $2 per board sold until the loan is paid back at double the original debt- for a total of $800,000. In case of a buy out, he'd like a 3% equity option, but would hold no voting rights, allowing the trio to run the company as they see fit.

While Kevin was constructing his deal, Barbara and Mark Cuban conspired. Mark joins Barbara's offer because of his interest in Power Paddle. He feels the two companies would benefit from collaboration. The trio are on the spot, but Lori Greiner has an offer. She doesn't get a chance to finish. They accept Barbara and Mark's offer before hearing Lori's offer and leave the Shark Tank with a deal.

RESULT: DEAL with Mark and Barbara for $400K for 16%

Spooner Boards Shark Tank Update

The Shark Tank Blog constantly provides updates and follow-ups about entrepreneurs who have appeared on the Shark Tank TV show. The Spooner Board guys seem to be following their ongoing path to success with the help of Barbara and Mark. The boards are still available on their site at the prices mentioned on Shark Tank, with optional accessories easily added. They've added a new product, Subfloor Liquid Tiles, color changing mats that fascinate kids and adults alike. They've even achieved their goal of getting shelf space in big box stores, entering Walmart and other retailers. It looks like the Spooner Board guys are sliding on to new victories, taking the Sharks along for a very profitable ride.

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