Grypmat is on the surface, a simple rubber mat designed to keep tools. Deceptively simple on the outside, Grypmat is perhaps an example of how there are pretty simple solutions to several problems, and those solutions can be easily discovered through entrepreneurship. The product is the brainchild of Tom Burden, a weapons mechanic for the United States Air Force. Even working for one of the most technologically advanced organizations in the world, Burden came across quite an annoying problem routinely when doing weapon maintenance on fighter jets. There was no place to keep his tools organized, and they slipped all over the curved surface of the jet. Burden realized that he was not the only one facing this problem, and plane maintenance staff used several things as makeshift solutions, such as rags and even urinal cakes, to hold their tools. Thus, Grypmat was born, and Burden soon realized that his invention had the potential to be used in several different sectors.
Grypmats are silicone trays that stick to any surface; therefore, there is no fear of slipping. The tray has different compartments to hold tools easily, and you can even organize them any way you like. The tray can hold tools even at extreme angles up to 70 degrees, which makes it excellent for working on uneven surfaces. Though initially created for aviation, anyone who works with tools can benefit from a grypmat. The product comes in three sizes and is an excellent addition to any sector that uses handheld tools.
Grypmat’s simple innovation resonated with the consumers as the business continued to go from strength to strength. After its Shark Tank Appearance, the business took off and is now estimated to be worth around $4 million. The company is closing deals with major sectors such as the Air Force, which will now use the product.
How Did The Shark Tank Pitch Go?
Tom Burden strode into his Shark Tank pitch confidently, wearing a jumpsuit that showed his affiliation with the United States Air Force. The Sharks seemed excited to hear the pitch by looking at Burden’s attire and the several aviation-related props on the stage. It was exciting since guest Shark Richard Branson was present as an aviation business expert.
Tom Burden kicked off his pitch, presenting in front of the nose of a fighter jet. He asked the Sharks if they had ever been annoyed about their tools going everywhere during weapon maintenance on a fighter jet. This uncommon question posed as a relatable one struck the Sharks as humorous as they responded with chuckles. It also told the Sharks about Burden’s background, which got the Sharks even more interested in the product. Burden asked $200,000 for 10% equity.
Burden then went on to demonstrate just how difficult it was to hold any tools on the uneven surface of a jet and how there wasn’t a solution for this, so the maintenance staff had to come up with makeshift solutions. He then demonstrated how the Grypmat stuck to an uneven surface and was compartmentalized to hold tools easily. Branson interjected that he could see his airline staff using this product, which solidified his interest, much to Burden’s joy.
Burden handed out samples of his products and emphasized that his product was not restricted to the aviation sector and could be used anywhere tools are used for maintenance. He gave the example of the mat being used while tinkering under a car’s hood, showing the product’s everyday use. The Sharks were all sufficiently impressed with the product. They turned the conversation toward numbers to figure out the financial side of the business.
When asked about sales, Burden replied that his product had done $400,000 in sales in its first ten months. All the Sharks were impressed by the number indicating that the business was doing well. Robert Herjavec asked what Burden needed the Shark’s money for, and he replied that he needed it for inventory and creating an entire business infrastructure.
It was evident that all the Sharks were in for the business. John Daymond was the first to make an offer. He loved the product and offered $200,000 for 25% of the company. Burden was clearly hesitant, and Daymond dropped his bid to 20%. Herjavec and Branson were next; they offered $200,000 each for 20% of the company. Burden said he would be most interested in doing business with Branson due to his aviation background. Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban then put forward a joint of $200,000 for 20% but provided that they would do all the marketing and logistics work for the business.
Burden had his share of options. However, he played cleverly as he wanted several Sharks on board. He asked Greiner, Cuban, and Branson whether they would all agree to an offer of $360,000 for 30%. The three of them agreed quickly, and they all congratulated themselves on a deal, much to the dismay of Daymond and Herjavec.
Our Review of Grypmat
Grypmat is an excellent product that makes the life of people who work with tools much more manageable. It is specifically designed to be used on most surfaces, and the variety in size also helps immensely. There aren’t many issues with grypmat. However, it still has some room for improvement to elevate itself even further.
Pros of Grypmat
- Non-magnetic, so easier to maneuver
- Slip resistant
- Chemical resistant
- Can hold tools up to a 70-degree angle
- Compartments for holding tools
- Available in different sizes
Cons of Grypmat
- Price point can be steep for customers
- Customers complained of chemical solvents deforming the tray
Who Is It For?
Grypmat was originally born out of an issue in the aviation maintenance sector; however, as Burden pointed out, this product can be used in different sectors. Grypmat’s features make it a good choice for anyone who works with tools in any capacity. These trays can be used by professional workers and people who like to build and repair things out of interest.
Are There Any Alternatives?
There are no like-for-like alternatives with Grypmat’s features available on the market. There are, however, plastic tool trays that can be used for flat surfaces.
Grypmat is a true example of entrepreneurship looking to solve common everyday problems. The product was created to make people’s lives easier, and people responded in kind by making the business a success. Grypmat has established itself on the market, and it is expected to continue on its positive trajectory.