In Shark Tank episode 704, Ryan Frayne proposed his WindCatcher Air Pad, an air mattress that instantly inflates. The WindCatcher uses “Quick stream inflation” to inflate an air mattress in seconds without a manual or battery-operated pump.
Pumping into the WindCatcher “valve” appears like blowing into a large bag. As you blow into the valve, you suck in maximum atmospheric pressure air in the aperture, making each breath 15 times more powerful and letting you fill the air pad quickly. Deflating is equally quick. An air pad that is completely inflated measures 74 x 20 x 4 inches and costs $100.
Frayne’s initial round of production was sponsored via a successful Kickstarter campaign. In 2013, he earned $149,405 toward a $50,000 target.
The entire set folds up neatly for convenient transport, and accessories may convert an air pad into a recliner. Frayne foresees the technology being utilized in inflatable tents, rescue buoys, inflatable rescue backboards, and much more.
Ryan proposed the offer on Shark Tank, asking for $200k in exchange for 8% of WindCatcher. He began by displaying how inconvenient it was to fill a standard inflatable.
The Sharks were astounded when he demonstrated the WindCatcher. The Sharks were taken aback when he revealed the mechanism behind the WindCatcher valve.
Ryan was struck with the concept while inflating some airbags at the beach. He was not a scientist, yet he conducted extensive research, developed the valve, and sold $165K in merchandise since 2013.
Mr. Wonderful was curious whether Ryan intended to develop a brand or license the technology. When asked how much it incurs to manufacture, Ryan stated that his margins were 60%.
Lori offered $200K in exchange for 15%, and Ryan was not pleased.
The Sharks kept bidding, and Ryan was quite happy with the response, yet he was ambitious and didn’t settle for less. Finally, Ryan Frayne sealed the deal with Lori for $200K at 5% with a line of credit.
Lori’s agreement did not succeed since another firm offered a comparable product. It led to a dispute, which is why the transaction never concluded.
Ryan was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer shortly after appearing on the show. On June 5, 2018, he died.
In 2019, his wife and his closest friend attempted to restart sales with an IndieGoGo campaign, but it did not have a great response. Since June of 2019, their social media has been inactive. While operational as of 2021, the brand’s website does not feature any items for sale.
The website is inactive as of February 2022, implying that the company has gone out of business.
Our Review of WindCatcher
WindCatcher AirPad employs simple physics to rapidly speed up the inflating process by drawing in surrounding air and intensifying each blow. And, thanks to the indirect inflation, you’ll don’t have to place your mouth on a soiled valve that’s been around the floor (or in somebody else mouth)!
When it’s time to pack up, a single tug on the WindCatcher valve’s deflation ring lets air out, making for quick deflation. There is no wait time and no squeezing. There is no fuss.
The dual-function air pad 2+ also includes built-in straps, allowing you to use it as a mattress and a seat. 75D rip-stop polyester bonded with TPU (sturdy and stronger than PVC) fastener with a g-hook: opens and closes the wind catcher valve instantly and effortlessly. Because it is not insulated, it is ideal for any non-freezing temperatures. It also comes with a repair kit.
Pros of WindCatcher
- The G-hook Fastener opens and closes the WindCatcher valve easily.
- Keeps you warm when resting on those cold evenings.
- Horizontal baffles make it really comfy!!
- The built-in elastic band connects to the G-hook, letting you pack the WindCatcher AirPad without a stuff sack.
- The valve never comes into contact with your mouth, no sanitation issues.
- There will be no loud and unpleasant electric pumping sounds.
- No power is required.
- No pumping is required.
Cons of WindCatcher
- The polyester is not resistant to mold and should be left out to dry if used around water or moisture.
- Some users have reported that it deflates quickly and does not hold back air for long.
Who Is WindCatcher For?
WindCatcher products are great for travel enthusiasts who love to camp or are always on the go. This innovative, easily inflated, the deflated airbag can be used as a mattress or chair and doesn’t require a motor pump.
WindCatcher’s product line comprises blown-up outdoors and trip gear that rapidly inflates thanks to a patented fast inflation valve.
The mattress is unique due to its technology. It does not require a pump or electricity to function. It immediately inflates by just blowing into the simple built-in valve.
The WindCatcher AirPad saves you from blowing into an air pump through a slow and dirty nozzle.
Once deflated, the whole AirPad rolls up easily, making it quite convenient to be carried wherever you go.
Are There Any Alternatives?
While WindCatcher made quite an impression at the Shark Tank, Lori later withdrew his offer because the product had other alternatives on the market.
Magica, AKASO, WELLAX, and many more offer Air Pads with similar technology.
Now that the products from WindCatcher are seen nowhere in the market, it’s safe to say that customers should shift to other brands for Air Mattress.
Our Final Thought
In the years since the episode initially aired, WindCatcher has gotten a lot of attention, and Ryan has been the target of some lighthearted internet conjecture.
Ryan had anticipated an increase in orders after the show’s debut and was pleasantly delighted when prospective consumers came.
To boost sales and create awareness of WindCatcher goods, the WindCatcher airbags were put on sale for a month after the show. Ryan said the promotion had caused sales to “jump through the sky.” WindCatcher’s technological inventiveness was also noted.
Unfortunately, Ryan’s untimely death and his family’s incapacity to continue the firm did not do the brand credit.