San Diego When producers of the popular ABC TV show “Shark Tank” last came through San Diego County to audition potential entrepreneurs in 2014 — at Southwestern College in National City — more than 150 locals showed up to make their pitch.
Far fewer eventually made it through to the actual TV show, where a panel of five established investment moguls has either taken a bite of — or chewed up and spit out — the product ideas of hundreds of would-be Thomas Edisons, Steve Jobses and Ron Popeils during the past seven years.
Several from San Diego County have made it to the prime-time stage, with mixed results. Here’s how a handful fared:
Company: FitDeck Inc.
CEO: Phil Black
Headquarters: San Diego
Product: Custom deck of playing cards that can be shuffled to create a variety of exercise workouts.
What happened on TV: All sharks rejected pitch for $300,000 in exchange for 20 percent of the company in 2014.
What happened next: Former Navy SEAL Black reported that shark Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, later agreed to a private deal for FitDeck to produce branded basketball card decks. Company has since sold decks for golfers, seniors, kids, pregnant women and other specialized segments.
CEO: RDub! (Randy Williams)
Headquarters: San Diego and Tucson, Ariz.
Product: Internet and app-based radio station.
What happened on TV: No sharks came through on the CEO’s 2014 quest for $75,000 in exchange for a 10 percent equity stake, despite an assist in his on-air pitch from singer Brian McKnight.
What happened next: The company later lined up several new affiliates and sponsors for its nationally syndicated radio and internet program, “Sunday Night Slow Jams.”
Company:Tower Paddle Boards
CEO: Stephan Aarstol
Headquarters: San Diego (Pacific Beach)
Product: Stand-up paddle boards
What happened on TV: Shark Mark Cuban agreed in 2011 to invest $150,000 in the company for 30 percent of equity.
What happened next: Aarstol reported that revenue reached $7 million in 2015 and is on track to reach $10 million in 2016.
Company: Tipsy Elves
CEO: Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton
Headquarters: Downtown San Diego
Product: Eccentric holiday-themed sweaters
What happened on TV: Shark Robert Herjavec, a venture capitalist who also owns a Canadian technology firm, invested $100,000 for a 10 percent stake in 2013.
What happened next: The company reported 2014 sales of $7 million, as it became a year-round online seller. Its sweaters appeared in the 2015 Seth Rogen movie “The Night Before.”
Company: RuckPack Inc.
CEO: Jimmy O’Brien
Headquarters: San Diego
Product: Nutrition supplements and sports beverages
What happened on TV: In 2012, after a pitch from company founder Robert Dyer, a decorated U.S. Marine major, sharks Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec agreed to invest $150,000 in exchange for 20 percent of the company; later revised to an $80,000 loan while taking no equity.
What happened next: Company repaid loan and reports recent annual sales of between $350,000 and $450,000. Projects $1.2 million in sales by the end of 2017.