Kickstarter seems to be the new breeding ground for Shark Tank entrepreneurs and Tigere Chiriga's Floating Mug is the latest Kickstarter to swim with the Sharks in episode 602. The Floating Mug was inspired by moisture rings left on furniture in Chiriga's home; hot beverages produce heat and slight moisture that's damaging to furniture. He's an avid tea drinker and his wife got on his case when he'd mark up their new furniture.
The Floating Mug is one of those inventions that was made to solve a problem. In Chiriga's case, he likes his tea in a porcelain mug, so he looked for mugs that wouldn't mark up his tables. One day in 2008, he was in his kitchen and saw the banana hanger (like the one pictured above) and the light bulb went on. He designed a prototype and had some made for his personal use.
When people kept asking him where they could get a Floating Mug like his, he knew he was on to something. That's when he discovered Kickstarter. Fast forward to 2012: he found a US manufacturer (his prototypes were made in China) and set up a campaign to produce 500 mugs; he needed $15K to make a master mold and production mold of both the mug and and the handle. Much to Chiriga's delight, he raised $39,981!
My Take On The Floating Mug
I think this is a nifty idea. I'd want one, for sure. We drink a lot of coffee and tea in our house and it would be nice not to have to deal with coasters or napkins. It looks cool, too! The possibilities for licensing have to be HUGE. I think you'll see a Floating Mug just about anywhere coffee and tea is served very soon. I am ALL IN!
Will the Sharks Float Chiriga a Deal?
I'm betting there are fantastic margins on the Floating Mug. The Sharks will take one look at this and know it's a winner – expect a Shark fight. I'm thinking everyone tries to make a play for this, but it will come down to Lori ultimately doing a deal.
The reason I say this is, 10 days prior to airing, The Floating Mug website and online store are down. There's a message on the non-functioning website that says “Hi! I'm just cleaning up, have guests coming September 26th. You can get updates from my Facebook page Cheers! Tiggs.” That says he's amping up his site to accept MASSIVE traffic. His online store is a Shopify store which isn't up yet either. The message on the online storefront says: “Sorry, this shop is currently unavailable.”
Shopify is Shark Tank's eCommerce platform of choice. They NEVER crash. The fact that the Floating Mug Company sites are undergoing what appears to be extensive upgrades tells me a Shark is in the mix!