Last Friday, local entrepreneur Ben Wood, was featured on ABC’s hit TV show, “Shark Tank,” which throws hopeful business owners into the “shark tank,” a panel of self-made millionaires who decide whether to invest in the contestant’s product.
In the episode, Wood, 29, pitched his product, Viewsport, athletic shirts that reveal words and patterns that are activated by sweat.
He began by soaking a shirt to display the hidden message. He said they were fully customizable and that he was interested in spreading the technology into other kinds of clothing. Although his initial presentation was strong, he failed to garner any support from the five potential investors.
The sharks began to question his product’s potential. As he accidentally soaked the wrong side, the message failed to appear on the shirt that was custom made for the show. The sharks were quick to pounce on the mistake — ruthlessly calling Wood "arrogant" and his products "gimmicky."
His request for a $500,000 investment to expand Viewsport was turned down, and he walked away without an offer from the judges.
Although harsh, Wood said he wasn’t surprised by the sharks’ biting words.
“They said some nasty things, but that’s TV,” said Wood.
His business, which he started after dropping out of medical school in 2009, has grown significantly since the show was taped last fall.
Wood said that the show helped spread interest in his product, as shirt orders skyrocketed after it aired.
"I hope the success continues," he said.
—Includes reporting by David Specksgoor