Oru Kayak from Shark Tank

Oru Kayak shark tank

Oru Kayak is a foldable kayak invented by Anton Willis, who loved paddling all his life but had no place to keep his fiberglass Kayak when he first moved to San Francisco. Willis had always been interested in origami, which inspired this creation.

Later, Andy Sobhiani (MBA in Design) and Roberto Gutierrez (a professional in outdoor sports sales) joined his business. The business was officially started after they gained enough funds from Kickstarter. They raised $443,000 in 2012 after initially placing an ask for $80,000.

Oru Kayak weighs only 26 pounds making it incredibly lightweight. Before the final product, Willis made 25 prototypes and tested them in the San Franciso and Bay areas. The design of the Kayak was so innovative, having only top seams, that it was featured on CNN, Popular Science, and Fast Company, among others.

Are They Still an Active Company?

Oru Kayak is currently active and in business.

How Did the Shark Tank Pitch Go?

Andy, Anton, and Roberto pitched Oru Kayak at Shark Tank seeking $500,000 for a 12% stake in the company. The main selling point that they emphasized during the pitch was Oru Kayak’s sturdiness. They stated that it was comfortable enough to be used by beginners and more experienced paddlers both.

They shared that they’d started selling the product nine months earlier and were already shipping worldwide. Their sales were at 1228, selling each piece for $1100 and having gained a total of $1 million. They added that although the current cost of making a single piece was $505, they planned on looking for a way to lower it to $305. They added that the projected profit for the next year was $4 million.

Mark Cuban stepped out first because he wasn’t interested in outdoor sports products, followed by Daymond Johnson. The latter felt that the manufacturing process was still in its early stages and not 100% reliable. Kevin added that he thought they were asking far too less because the production cost for each Kayak was quite a lot.

Barbara did seem somewhat interested because she shared that she already owned two kayaks and wouldn’t know what to do with a third portable one, and therefore also stepped out.

Only Robert was interested in Oru Kayak; he didn’t understand why the other Sharks weren’t investing more into it. He added that he’s already invested in a similar venture that did well.

Robert offered $500,000 for 25% of the firm. However, the three entrepreneurs felt this was too big an ask. They countered his offer with $500,000 for a 15% stake in the company and a seat on the board. However, Robert Herjavec didn’t budge from this offer, even when they suggested $500,000 for a 20% stake.

Eventually, the three accepted the offer.

Our Review of Oru Kayak

We decided to try Oru Kayak to see how it would fare in practice.

The good news is that the kayak comes with QR code instructions for assembly, which is more environmentally friendly. The assembly process was simple, with buckles, velcro, and a couple of bulkheads on each side. The adjustable backrest is comfortable to relax on while you paddle. It’s firm, leak-proof, turns quickly, and can hold a straight line. It can also handle people who are tall because of its length.

The bad news is that the kayak is primarily designed to be used in protected waters, which means it won’t withstand rough conditions. Because it’s a recreational kayak, it paddles slowly. The sides of the kayak can get in the way of paddling because of the angle. The deck for the kayak is too wide, which can lead to drip water collecting in it. The seat is a little uncomfortable to sit on because of its contour unlike hard shell kayaks, which have better seating.

Pros of Oru Kayak

  • Good sturdy material
  • Leak-proof
  • Comfortable and spacious
  • Easy-to-Assemble

Cons of Oru Kayak

  • Expensive
  • Only for recreational paddling
  • Uncomfortable sides and seating
  • Wide deck

Who Is Oru Kayak for?

Oru Kayak is for people who paddle as a hobby and want a portable kayak. Other than hobbyists, this is also great for sports enthusiasts, whether they are professionals or beginners. It is ideally suited for those who like to paddle recreationally.

Are There Any Alternatives?

Oru Kayak was a unique foldable kayak when it made its appearance on the show. However, there are now other portable kayak options on the market.

Aquaglide Deschutes Inflatable Kayak is an excellent alternative to the Oru Kayak. It’s lightweight – even lighter than Oru Kayak – weighing only 19 pounds, and can easily be packed into a carrier bag. It even comes with its duffel storage bag with handles on the bow and stern, so you can easily carry it to different places.

The Aquaglide Inflatable Kayak has other exciting features as well. The footrests are adjustable, there are velcro adjustments for the seatings, and it comes with quick-release seats. Also, it has its own Halkey-Roberts Valve adapter, paddle keepers, and quick-release fins.

This inflatable kayak has the perfect length while being stiff and lightweight enough for your paddling needs. It can handle 300 pounds of weight for one person and even comes with its repair kit.

Our Final Thoughts

Oru Kayak is a good investment for those who are looking for a sturdy and firm kayak to take on their trips to the lake. It’s better than inflatable kayaks because of the solid leakproof material. It’s also simple to assemble for recreational paddlers. It’s length is perfect for people who are tall as well, and it can handle considerable weight. On top of this, it comes with a repair kit that you can easily use to fix the kayak if you’re in an isolated environment and need help.

It’s designed to be comfortable for beginners who are just getting started with kayaks. However, the seat is a little uncomfortable, which might be a problem for those who prefer contoured seats.