Krystal Persaud, the founder of Grouphug Tech, took her product to the investors in the Shark Tank to see if she could get one of the sharks to invest in her company.
GroupHug started out of Persaud’s personal frustration when it came to trying to be an eco-conscious person while living in a 300-foot apartment in New York City. She knew there had to be a way to use solar energy, but she couldn’t install solar panels on her roof, and she never went camping, so the types of personal solar panels that were available weren’t the type she could make any use from.
Persaud pitched her product to Sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner and guest Shark Rohan Oza.
Here’s what you need to know about Grouphug:
1. A Passion for Sustainability Led to the Founding of Grouphug
The product is simple; it’s a small solar panel that can be hung in any window. Using solar power, the internal battery is charged.
Persaud told Heavy that, while some people may think that using just one small source of solar energy doesn’t do much for the environment, that’s not exactly why the project is important to her. She said that the idea was to get more people excited about the possibilities.
“It’s meant to get people excited about how solar panels can be really good looking,” she said.
2. The Panels Can Be Built in Different Shapes
While the Grouphug website just lists one Window Solar Charger, Persaud said she gets requests to build them in different shapes fairly often. The product sells for $149, and the estimated product delivery is May 2020.
“I’ve sort of developed this model that now that I’ve gotten into the solar industry, we’ve figured out that we can create solar panels in any shape and sign,” she said.
Grouphug is currently working on the Solar Turtle, which will be the world’s first turtle-shaped solar panel. It will be coming to a nature center in Iowa. It is set to be complete in May 2020.
3. ‘Shark Tank’ Reached Out to Persaud
Unlike some of the entrepreneurs we’ve talked to about their Shark Tank experience, Persaud noted that she was asked to be on the show by producers following a successful Kickstarter campaign.
The opportunity was one that she didn’t want to pass up, especially because it was a good chance to educate millions of people.
“The whole reason I started the company is to show people that making sustainable changes like switching to renewable energy can be done in small steps,” she told us.
4. Persaud Quit Her Job to Start the Company
After studying product design in college, Persaud became a toy designer. She was always passionate about sustainability, though, and that was always in the back of her mind. She couldn’t find a job where she would be able to design sustainable products.
After spending some time designing toys while still practicing all the sustainable habits she could, like using reusable water bottles and composting, she began to think about taking what she’d already learned and use it to design something that’s complicated that she could help people understand.
She thought to herself, “If I could do anything, I wish that I could go solar.”
Persaud quit her job in the summer and began asking people about their personal sustainability habits, and she would ask them the same question she was asking herself about what would they do if they could do anything when it came to sustainability. Many of them told her that they would go solar if they could.
5. GroupHug Supports Female Workers in STEM Careers
Aside from sustainability, one thing that is important to Persaud is to be able to support females who pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). She said that she’s a huge activist when it comes to helping women pursue careers in tech.
“You can be a female tech CEO and also be on Shark Tank,” she told us when asked what one thing she wants people to take away from her appearance would be.
She also makes a point to work with female contractors and engineers.
Tune in to Shark Tank on Friday, March 20 at 8 p.m. ET/PT to see if Persaud is able to make a deal with one of the sharks.