A drain stopper may not be the sexiest product ever to appear on Shark Tank, but entrepreneur and inventor Naushad Ali hopes the Sharks like his Drain Strain invention in episode 616. Ali invented the product, which pops out of the drain with a twist, to catch all the hair his wife and daughter were plugging up his drains with. Catching hair and gunk before it clogs up the pipes made a lot more sense than pouring chemicals down the drain or running snakes through the pipes.
Mr. Ali liked the idea of a no clog drain stopper; unfortunately the Indie Go-Go crowd funders didn't. He did manage to raise $2000, but it fell far short of his $25K goal. That was last July (2014). Since then, he taped Shark Tank in September, but not much else has happened with his business.
The idea of creating a drain stopper replacement is a good one, particularly if it works. Drano is nasty for the water supply and snaking a drain is a dirty job – a lot dirtier than emptying the Drain Strain. The challenge for Ali, and a potential Shark investor, would be getting it into the Lowes and Home Depots of the world while mounting some educational marketing.
My Take on the Drain Strain Drain Stopper
I have four girls and a very lovely wife. One of the by-products of all this femininity in my house is hair – LOTS OF IT. I am “follically challenged” myself, so all the hair that finds its way into everything can be attributed to the women in my house (even our dog is female). About every other week, the bathroom shower drain starts running a little slow, thanks to the yards of blond and brown hairs that make their way into the pipes.
Mr. Ali is on to something with Drain Strain. When our drain gets slow, I have to get out a little snake tool and clear the gobs of hair that accumulate in the drain. Having a no-clog drain stopper with a little basket to catch debris, like Drain Strain, would save me a lot of work. I imagine it's still a messy job, but it looks like it's an easier messy job. I like easy, especially when it comes to home maintenance!
I really like this product. It's something I would buy at Home Depot on pure impulse if I saw it on the shelves. I'm a bit of a sucker for gadgets like this; it's the price of being practical in a house full of girls! I think the product is a potential huge winner, but will the Sharks?
Do Sharks Unclog their wallets and Invest?
While I like the idea, I don't think the Sharks do. I am not sure about how serious Mr. Ali is about his invention either. Since the failed Indie Go-Go campaign, there's been ZERO activity on the Drain Strain Facebook page and the web domain is parked. Ali pitched the drain stopper to the Sharks in September, so he's had plenty of time to get his online presence squared away.
My guess is he's having issues getting capital to make inventory. He didn't get cash from the crowd, and he likely didn't get cash from the Sharks if he has such a barren online presence. It could have been a “do or die” pitch to the Sharks and he just couldn't catch one.
While I don't think he gets an investment, I hope he leverages his appearance to get this product to market. With the exposure, I'll bet dollars to donuts he could raise $25K from a crowdfunding platform once he airs. Ali states he hasn't given up on the product and his website will be live after the show. Whether this is a new fangled strategy or he did get an investment and is holding off for other reasons remains to be seen. The Drain Strain is a good product idea, it would be a shame if Mr. Ali missed an opportunity to get it to market.