'Shark Tank' star Lori Greiner inks $240K deal with SwiftPaws, a Melbourne dog startup
Minutes before Meghan Wolfgram's "Shark Tank" segment debuted Friday night, volunteers started popping champagne bottles and handing glasses to attendees at a standing-room-only viewing party at Groundswell Startups.
Did the SwiftPaws founder and CEO secure a "Shark Tank" deal? Wolgram didn't reveal the secret.
But it turns out the Malabar resident was wearing the obvious clue on her necklace: one of Lori Greiner's rare-and-coveted 24-karat "Golden Ticket" medallions.
Greiner — who is known as "the queen of QVC" — agreed to invest $240,000 for a 6% equity stake in SwiftPaws, a small Melbourne company that says it has developed the world’s first backyard dog lure coursing machine.
"Meghan, everything that you have done, you made it yourself. You did everything you could to make this work. And you understand business," Greiner told Wolfgram on "Shark Tank."
"Really, you're so impressive. And then the product, I think, is really phenomenal," Greiner said.
"And I think you can sell millions and millions of these," she said.
Based at Groundswell, SwiftPaws employs four full-time workers and operates a small warehouse just north of downtown Melbourne for assembly and packing.
"I've been up so many nights. There's going to be so many happy dogs," an emotional Wolfgram told Greiner after they embraced on the "Shark Tank" stage.
Wolfgram built her first prototype lure-course contraptions more than a decade ago on her parents' dining-room table in Palm Bay. She founded the monthly Lure Course Brevard dog-exercise gatherings at Wickham Park in Melbourne and a field in Cocoa.
The SwiftPaws $450 Home package includes horizontal spinning pulleys that power a clothesline loop, sending flag targets zipping more than 30 mph across the grass.
A "Shark Tank" producer contacted Wolfgram in August, and she flew to Los Angeles and taped her segment in September. The results were revealed during Friday's live ABC broadcast and the Groundswell party — which was punctuated by dog barks.
On "Shark Tank," Wolfgram demonstrated the dog-exercise device with Piper, her German shorthaired pointer — who drew laughter from the "sharks" by excitedly spinning and darting across the stage chasing a white flag.
Groundswell attendees cheered throughout the SwiftPaws segment. Wolfgram watched the episode from the front row, petting Piper.
"Meghan — day in, day out — she lives and breathes SwiftPaws. She knows this business inside and out," Jarin Eisenberg, Groundswell chief operating officer, told the crowd.
Greiner joined the event virtually, briefly chatting with Wolfgram via FaceTime. Combined, Greiner's portfolio of "Shark Tank" companies has generated more than $1 billion in sales, including Scrub Daddy, Squatty Potty and Bantam Bagels.
SwiftPaws will demonstrate dog lure coursing during Poochella, a pet-themed festival set for April 16 at Wickham Park. Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and admission is free. Entertainment includes food trucks, bands and adoptable dogs.
Proceeds will benefit Touch of Grey Rescue, a Melbourne Beach nonprofit that provides senior dogs rehoming, foster and hospice care.
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