Five Clemson University entrepreneurs received a boost to their burgeoning start-up Sunday night when they received a $100,000 commitment from Shark Tank panelist Mark Cuban.
Cuban, a billionaire entrepreneur and one of five panelists on the Sunday night ABC TV series, agreed to invest $100,000 in Kanga Kase Mate, a lightweight, insulated cooler that keeps canned beverages cool up to seven hours. Cuban’s cash infusion will get him a 20 percent stake in Kanga Kase Mate, which was borne out of a College of Business class assignment.
Clemson University College of Business management graduate Logan LaMance ’18 was joined by Teddy Giard, a Clemson marketing student and Austin Maxwell 17, an engineering graduate in pitching their business idea to the panel of investors. Though it aired Sunday night, their Shark Tank segment was recorded last September in Los Angeles.
Logan said Kanga is in the process of working out details of the investment with Cuban. But the $100,000 will go toward building inventory and finding warehouse and office space.
“We’ve outgrown my parents’ basement, so one priority will be finding space for our inventory and an office,” he said. “We’ve already sold out of some popular designs, but we expect delivery of more inventory in the next two to three weeks. Meeting the demand for Kase Mate will require space to store inventory.”
Kanga Kase Mate is an alternative to bulky ice chests. Its 3-layer insulating system does for 12- and 24-packs of beer and soda, what a koozie does for an individual can.
“The Kase Mate is a light and inexpensive alternative to bulky and expensive coolers that are inconvenient to lug around,” said Logan, a Pickens native and CEO of Kanga. “The Kase Mate is the next generation of cooler that keeps the beverages cold in their original packaging for up to seven hours – all without the need for ice.”
Other members of the Kanga leadership team include Ryan Frazier ’17, a financial management graduate in charge of finance, and Kyle Self, a marketing student taking time away from school to manage the start-up’s digital strategies.
To date, Kanga has sold about 7,000 Kase Mates and has generated six-figure revenues, all of which has been reinvested. The Clemson team is currently working on product deals with Anheuser-Busch, Wicked Weed Brewing, Flying Dog Brewery, The Home Depot, several apparel brands and a casino in Illinois to market their product.
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