Entrepreneur and dog lover Meghan Wolfgram appeared on Shark Tank season 13 to pitch for her lure chase course equipment, SwiftPaws. Meghan believes nothing beats a good time with your dogs, yet not many people can spend it how they want, leaving their young fellows dejected.
SwiftPaws is Meghan’s solution to help owners interact with their dogs without overexerting themselves after a day of work.
She asked for a $240,000 investment for 6% equity stakes. Let’s see if any of the Sharks gave chase!
What Is SwiftPaws
SwiftPaws is a lure coursing equipment for dogs that helps them exercise and improve their agility. It’s a pet enrichment toy that allows owners to interact with their dogs and get them chasing after a lure without doing the extra labor. All you need to do is set the course, pull the string, fix the bait, and trigger it via a remote.
Meghan Wolfgram came on Shark Tank season 13 with her dog, Piper, to pitch for her business, SwiftPaws. She began her pitch by announcing herself as a proud dog mother and bringing forth the classic problem of all dog owners: the inability to match their dog’s energy.
The young entrepreneur used Piper to demonstrate how the course worked, and the Sharks witnessed the best game of chase controlled only by a remote. They couldn’t help but cheer for Piper and were even excited to try the product themselves.
Meghan explained how the remote worked to Daymond, who won the first play, and then Kevin joined in, making Lori exclaim in protest. After the demonstration, Meghan took Piper outside, and the Sharks marveled at what they had just experienced. Robert challenged Kevin to try the course and replied he’d do it only if the lure was a ten-dollar bill.
When Meghan returned, Lori asked her how she came up with the product and her background. Meghan revealed that she was introduced to the game as a competitive sport, just like dog agility.
Over 500,000 entrants competed for points, titles, and invitationals last year in an evergrowing straight-line lure coursing sport. SwiftPaws first started as professional-grade equipment catering to the needs of the security and search dogs, lure coursing champions, and helping big cats like cheetahs and leopards in zoos exercise.
Realizing the pro-grade equipment was expensive and hardly affordable to an average dog owner, Meghan decided to dress down her product for a home edition.
Meghan shared that after graduating with an economics degree, she took a break to discover the world of dog sports with her longtime sidekick and dog, Pretzel. She recently lost Pretzel to kidney disease after fourteen and a half years, and although Pretzel didn’t love playing with toys, he loved chasing.
Meghan built the first SwiftPaws prototype with the help of her father in 2012 and invited her agility sports friend for a test run; not only Pretzel, but everyone loved it.
After some trials and errors, Meghan moved her business from the professionals to the average dog owners and filed for a patent in 2017. She launched a Kickstarter in 2018 and shipped her first batch in 2019, which led to a seed round in 2020 on a convertible note with a 2.5 million cap; she raised $670,000 and was left with 63% equity stakes in her company.
Robert and Kevin inquired about the sales for the second time during her pitch, and Meghan hastened to calm them down. She revealed that SwiftPaws made $750,000 at the time of taping and was projecting $1.5 million in annual sales. Additionally, she had made the same amount in lifetime sales, which worried the Sharks.
Kevin wanted to know the profits she made on her lifetime sales and was shocked to hear she had only $140,000 in the bank. He inquired about her last year’s losses, and Meghan answered that she made $425,000 in sales but lost $380,000 the same year. As the Sharks shook their heads in disappointment, Meghan elaborated that she encountered production delays in the first half of the same year and had nothing in inventory until June.
Robert wanted to know where all her money went, and she supplied that she buys all her materials and assembles them in her hometown. Kevin told her that the offshore assembly would have saved her a lot of money, and Meghan agreed and told him she was open to change.
Still, Kevin pulled out of the deal, citing that the business was not for him.
Daymond told Meghan that he respects her for keeping her employees even in the most challenging times and raising the capital on her own. Despite his appreciation, he couldn’t ignore the high production and selling price, so he was out.
Mark applauded her for living the American dream and called her the perfect entrepreneur, but he didn’t think he was the right fit for her, so he was out.
Robert asked if the company would have a $5 million valuation if they reduced its price by half, and Meghan replied that was her goal. But she thought the company would have a $100 million valuation because they were dealing in a $100 billion industry. Robert didn’t seem convinced and had reservations about the outrageous valuation.
Lori intervened and offered Meghan her golden ticket, and the rest of the Sharks groaned playfully. As per the golden ticker rule, Lori gave Meghan precisely what she asked: $240,000 for 6% equity stakes.
Meghan accepted Lori’s deal.
After the episode aired, SwiftPaws sold out all its inventory and made $100,000 in just 24 hours. The deal with Lori closed, and the duo even did a live stream together.
Our Review of SwiftPaws
SwiftPaws is a perfect toy and distraction for dogs that helps owners keep some weight off their minds. Although niched, we think the company can expand by appealing to cats as they also like chasing things around.
There is also room to cut production costs by manufacturing and assembling the products offshore. With Lori on her team, SwiftPaws might be able to resolve their inventory issues and order blockage quicker.
Pros of SwiftPaws
- Enables agility
- Recreational value
- Easy to operate
Cons of SwiftPaws
- Order delays
- Limited availability
Who Is SwiftPaws for?
SwiftPaws is for dog owners who want to interact with their dogs without running around in the backyard on a hot day. If you are someone who lacks physical agility but doesn’t want your dog to suffer the consequences, SwiftPaws is perfect for you!
Are There Any Alternatives?
Since lure coursing is a popular sport, the market is teeming with alternatives, yet most of them are for professional training. You can use lure coursing equipment from Injoy, Lucky Dogs, Wicked Coursing, and Renegade to train your dog for competition, but you’ll still need SwiftPaws’ home edition to enjoy a no-stake chasing game with your dog.
Our Final Thoughts
SwiftPaws’ business model has a lot of room for improvement, especially in the production and assembly sector. If Lori helped Meghan reduce her pricing, SwiftPaws could expect a crazy influx of sales as dog owners always look for fun toys to please their pets.