If we had a nickel for every time we heard, “You should be on Shark Tank,”…well let’s just say we wouldn’t need to go on Shark Tank. Our journey began three years ago when I tripped in a pothole during a pre-dawn training run. After hobbling home I turned to my wife and said, “I need headlights for my sneakers.” Sometimes you literally fall into great ideas.
My wife and I soon became obsessed with this vision. Our kitchen became a makeshift laboratory and the night streets, a testing ground. We soon learned that being an entrepreneur is a 24/7 rollercoaster in attempting to perfect an idea. Nights are spent dreaming about new ways to achieve a concrete goal. Our bank account, vacation fund, 401k, and house became ways to keep the quest alive until we found others who believed in our vision too.
Easily understood product or service
“Why didn’t I think of that?” 98% of the time, that was the next thing people would say when I pitched my idea for Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights. Competition is intense for the attention of consumers. The value of your product or service has to be quickly understood and almost self-evident. “It lights the path ahead and keeps me safe and injury free at night? I want that!”
Slide decks, pictures, and impassioned pitches will only go so far. The proof is in a tangible working prototype — an object that an investor can hold to help them see the light (yes, that was a pun). Herein lies the tough part. Costs start to accumulate quickly. We relied off our network of friends and family who believed in our mission to provide us seed funding to develop the first prototype. It’s a little like fishing; you catch a little fish and use that to bait a bigger fish and keep repeating until you finally catch a shark.
Question: That’s a pretty cool idea but will anyone actually buy it? Answer: You won’t know until you try. In February 2015, we launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. Our 30-day campaign raised $43,000. More importantly, we now had 500 customers in 28 countries around the world. Night Runner was off and running and no one asked “will they buy it” again.
In our first year of operation we sold more than 8,000 pairs of Night Runners to customers in 42 countries. What started out as a clumsy accident three years ago has lead us to pitching our company to billionaire investors in front of a national TV audience of 10 million viewers! Night Runner will be featured on Shark Tank on Friday, October 7th, 9:00 - 10:00 ET/PT on ABC. Tune in to see if we can keep pace with the sharks!
Doug and Renata Storer are from Orlando, Florida and are the inventors of Night Runner 270 Shoe Lights. Night Runner 270 consists of two small, featherweight, water-tight LED lights that clip securely to each shoe and flood the path ahead with light up to 30 feet. The light units provide 270 degrees of visibility so runners or walkers can be seen from the front, sides and even from behind via a rear-facing red tail light. The rugged lights also feature rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that remain bright for four hours. Visit www.nightrunner270.com for more information. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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