Updated:
Original:

ICYMI: This MN inventor was on Shark Tank - here's what happened

Minneapolis entrepreneur Jackson Mann was on the show to pitch a special kind of earplugs.
Author:

An inventor from Minnesota appeared on the latest episode of Shark Tank Friday night, hoping to make a deal with big-time investors.

Minneapolis entrepreneur Jackson Mann was invited to the show to pitch Vibes - a set of earplugs designed to reduce loud noises without sacrificing sound quality. Although his company has only been in business for a short time, someone who works for Shark Tank contacted Mann to be on the show.

In case you missed the episode, here's what happened...

The pitch

Mann looked pretty calm and collected as he approached the sharks, though he told GoMN that it was "a very high pressure situation." He began by asking for $100,000 for 20 percent of his company.

The sharks looked interested as Mann explained the inspiration for his product: After rupturing an ear drum at a loud concert, he wanted to make sure that it wouldn't happen again. So the next time he went to see live music, he wore a pair of foam earplugs that many concert-goers resort to. But he found that it wasn't a great solution, because the foam plugs are meant to block sound and aren't really designed for music.

Mann then passed out samples of his Vibes Hi-Fi Earplugs, which are white buds with an outer transparent sound tube. He claimed that not only do they work better, they're also designed to be as unobtrusive as possible (unlike your typical, fluorescent earplugs).

And to prove the difference, he brought the McNasty Brass Band from Minneapolis to play for the sharks, who seemed impressed.

"You could really hear it so clearly," Barbara Corcoran said.

The offer

Although the pitch seemed to amuse the sharks, Mann ultimately did not walk away with a deal.

The investors thought his price point (Vibes cost $4 to make and retail for $23.99) seemed too high, and that the company's sales were too low. Mann countered that his business is just getting started, but one by one, the sharks went out - except for Kevin O'Leary.

O'Leary told Mann that there's a competitor that does the exact same thing and is cheaper - he even happened to be carrying a pair, and pulled them out. But he was still interested, because unlike the competitors, Vibes are nearly invisible. O'Leary offered $100,000 for 35 percent of the company, plus $2 royalty on every pair sold until he's paid back.

Mann said he wasn't interested in a royalty deal, and that was that.

What now?

He may not have gotten an investment, but appearing on Shark Tank is great exposure for a start-up company, and Mann still has lofty ambitions for his product.

He hopes to “save the hearing health” of hundreds of millions of people around the world who attend noisy live events. What’s more, a percentage of each Vibes sold goes to the Hear The World Foundation to provide hearing aids and surgery to those in need.

The earplugs, for which Mann has design and utility U.S. patents pending, are currently sold in about 50 retail locations and at various venues, arenas, music festivals and events. For more information, check out the website.

Next Up

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

White House begins process to ban new mining near BWCAW

The stated goal is to protect the "unique natural wonder" of the BWCAW.

Autumn Merrick, Autumn Rose Merrick

Man charged in shootout, crash that killed 18-year-old on scooter

Autumn Rose Merrick was with a friend near the Holiday gas station.

D Quagon - DOC photo

DOC searching for convicted sex offender who has gone on the run

The recently released man removed his GPS monitoring device.

Anthony Edwards

Timberwolves: 5 things you can count on for the 2021-22 season

The Timberwolves hope to return to relevance this season.

pickleball

With parking ramp roof empty most of time, Chaska adds pickleball courts

The top level isn't often used, so the entities teamed up to meet a growing need for pickleball courts.

Mauno Silpala

Former UN official ID'd as pedestrian killed in Alexandria

The native of Finland retired in 2005 and was living in Golden Valley.

Screen Shot 2021-10-20 at 9.37.24 AM

Here's what the future radar shows; 'a few robust' storms possible

Rain is on the way. Some hail is also possible in stronger storms.

sean peterson hopkins

Mom of man killed in Hopkins says son died in her arms

He was fatally shot on Sunday night at the apartment building where he lived.

Related

On Shark Tank: The MN inventor whose earplugs don't ruin concerts

Rupturing his eardrums during a loud concert inspired Jackson Mann to invent a solution for music lovers.

beth fynbo busy baby

Minnesota mom turns down deal on 'Shark Tank,' sales still spike

Her Busy Baby Mat caught the attention of the Sharks, but she's glad she "stuck to her guns."

dog threads

Dog clothing company in Wayzata scores $250K 'Shark Tank' investment

Dog Threads sells matching outfits for dogs and humans.