Sawyer Sparks, a 22-year-old college student from Purdue University, walked into the Shark Tank last night with a bright idea: modeling dough that kids with wheat allergies can use. On paper, that sounds like a pretty weak concept, but bet you didn't know that one out of eight kids has that problem, and bet you also didn't know that the biggest player in the dough market, Play-Doh, sells some 96 million cans a year. Divide 96 million by eight, and you have a market of 12 million cans of modeling dough a year for wheat-allergic kids. Why hadn't anyone thought of this before?
It took a kid who didn't know the rules to come up with the notion, patent it on his own, and bring it to market. Last night, Sparks brought his idea in front of the self-made millionaires on ABC's Shark Tank, asking for $125,000 so he could stop mixing batches in his kitchen and fulfill his dream of building a Soy-Yer Dough factory in his hometown of Bloomfield, Indiana.
The Sharks took one look at that giant potential market and embroiled themselves in a feeding frenzy. Kevin O'Leary, especially put on his pussycat face to land the deal with Sparks that would allow him a cut of the licensing contract.
Sparks, though just a senior in college, came away with $300,000. And millions more may be soon to follow. How did he do it, and where does his invention stand in the production pipeline? Is he still cooking up the stuff in his kitchen with his mom and his girlfriend? The answers are yes and no, and you can get them by watching our Skype video interview with the budding entrepreneur.
Watch more of our video interviews with the entrepreneurs and the Sharks at www.dailyfinance.com/after-shark-tank, and watch full episodes of this gripping show at ABC.com, right here.
Today on AfterShark: student Sawyer Sparks and his $300,000 idea