Coolbox Enters the ‘Shark Tank’: Interview With Owners

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Coolbox entered the Shark Tank with their ‘world’s smartest toolbox.’ We interviewed owners Chris Stoikos and Jason Neubauer about their innovation that has power, audio capacity, a built-in LED lamp and can charge your phone.

Right now, you can pre-order one on their website for a Shark Tank special price of $199 with a July delivery date. As for their future plans, Stoikos assured us that, “In the next year Coolbox will be on the shelves of all major big-box retailers and all major sporting and hardware retailers. Over the next five years, we plan to license the product out to one of the largest tool manufacturers in the world so that they can reduce costs even further and make Coolbox a household name.”

Here’s what the entrepreneurs also told us about…



How the Idea For the Company Came About

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Stoikos:

I do a lot of DIY projects with friends and around the house and got sick of carrying my light, extension cord, speakers and various other things. I realized that there wasn’t one around, but there needs to be a product which incorporates them all into one package. This is primarily intended to help contractors and DIY’ers get the job done by bringing less with them, and having everything they need in one place. We also have sports teams, campers, photographers, makeup artists and many more who use the products for far more applications than as a tool box.


The 1st Prototype

Stoikos:

Through various product launches we actually had an incredible network of engineers, designers, business developers and rapid prototypers. I recruited some great co founders who could help bring this product from an idea to a crowdfunding campaign ready prototype in under two months.


Experience With Indiegogo

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Neubauer:

We had a very positive experience with the Indiegogo. The biggest thing that put us on the map was hitting our Indiegogo campaign goal within 12 hours, and then doubling it in 36. This started a chain reaction of media coverage by major media outlets and resulted in a very successful crowdfunding campaign.


Their Appearance on the ‘Tank”

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Neubauer:

We booked a flight to SXSW the night before it started with our first prototype. We had no passes, hotel or plan. Just one Coolbox. We booked a room mid-flight on Hotel Tonight and Chris saw there was a Mashable event they posted on Snapchat and we took a bike cab over with our Coolbox blasting. Chris walked in and we there was a MasterCard pitch competition going on we ended up getting runner up. We were approached by a member of their team to setup an initial call to see if would be a good fit and the rest was history. It’s an amazing story of believing in yourself/product enough to put yourself out there and truly believing in the law of attraction. I attached some pictures from SXSW I just pulled off my phone.


Nerves Once in the ‘Tank’

Neubauer:

The whole experience is surreal. You can prepare for everything, knowing your numbers, but you can’t prepare for the bright lights and having 20 cameras pointed at you. You also can’t prepare for some of the things the Sharks say that are ‘Good for TV.’ Going in, we thought Lori and Mark would be good targets for us, particularly Lori because of her knowledge of hardware and distribution. One thing that surprised me was how nice Mr. Wonderful was to us. He was much nicer than I thought. For our taping, he felt like the host of the show.