Earning a big investment from the heart of a shark
America watched this past Sunday as Chris and Geanie Rodgers awaited their fate.
The couple had offered up their Rapid Rope product for potential investment and support to "Shark Tank," a reality show in which contestants pitch business ideas to major investors.
The couple had requested a $200,000 investment from the "sharks" in exchange for a 20% stake in the business. Now they stood on stage, millions of people at home watching and waiting to see if anyone would make an offer.
"I have been sitting here thinking to myself, 'What do I know about rope?'" Barbara Corcoran finally says. "Not a damn thing," she continued with a chuckle that drew smiles from the nervous entrepreneurs, "but I have fallen in love with you, which is not a good reason to make a business decision at all."
But the shark would go on to recall that ironically, some of her best business decisions on the show came from the heart. Those are the ones that have made her the most money.
"You are a walking, talking example of the American dream — period," she said. "I have no doubt in my mind that you're going to make it."Corcoran then offered the couple the $200,000 investment they had requested but bumped the stake in the business up to 30%. Geanie bargained for 25% prompting the shark to playfully tell her, "I don't love you that much."
No negotiations followed and little time passed on air before Chris responded.
"We appreciate everybody here today taking your time, but Barbara, we will accept your offer."
Chris grew up in Prineville, where his parents currently live.
"It's great to be from Prineville and to have went through CCHS," he said.
Chris, Geanie and their children now live in Eagle, Idaho, where they are avid outdoors people. They always have some kind of utility rope for camping, fishing, outdoors or simply around the house.
"It was always a knotted mess," he said.
Chris is a lineman by trade, which means he repaired and maintained damaged power lines.
"One of the things a lineman prides themselves in is figuring out a better way or a better process, so we started tinkering on certain stuff and how to make it work," he explained, "so we came up with an idea of having a cordless spool of rope that winds out."
He said the rope is in a canister and pulls out with ease. It has a cutter on top, so it is not necessary to use a separate knife. Rapid Rope is a uniquely designed multi-use dispenser system that can be used for almost every rope application and contains 120 feet of extreme utility rope.
"The theory behind it is you still have your utility rope you can use, and you have no knots that come out. It's kind of like dental floss on steroids," Chris said. "It's kind of like duct tape. It has 101 uses, and you always have it with you. You can use it for anything or everything. There are endless uses."
The couple applied to be on the show three years ago. They were in Africa working on a mission when they got the call that they had been chosen to move ahead on the show. The process to appear took a year and involved a lot of paperwork, but they agree that in the end, it was definitely worth it.
Hearing Corcoran not only make an offer but hear her base that decision on her feelings about the couple and their story struck a chord with Geanie.
"When Barbara said that she made the decision from the heart, it just made me feel like what drives us to do what we do has a purpose," she said during an interview on the show. "If we can raise our children to give back and make a difference in humanity and this world, that is our No. 1 goal."
Not only did the couple land their prized business investment, their story moved one of the sharks, Rohan Oza, to make a $10,000 donation to a charity they hold dear, Ghana Make a Difference.
"Through that organization, we take youth groups down to (Ghana, Africa) and help out with the school, rebuild homes — help out any way we possibly can," Chris said.
Now that their "Shark Tank" episode, which was taped in September, has finally aired, Chris and Geanie are no longer burdened with keeping an exciting secret. They can finally tell people how their turn on the reality show ended.
Not that they necessarily need to tell anyone — the TV appearance has drawn quite a bit of attention in just a few short days. They have gotten lots of media attention and received numerous emails and phone calls thanking people for their story and showing their support for the Rapid Rope product.
"It has just been a whirlwind of love and support from everywhere," Chris said.
Meanwhile, the couple has begun moving forward with the new and substantial investment in their company.
"It is going to be huge for us," Chris said, "to move us to the next level."
And though the show is over, most of the sharks have kept in contact with the business owners and reached out to Rapid Rope on social media to say how much they love and support the couple.
"That means the world to us," Chris said.
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