On February 5th, Peter Arlein, founder of MountainFlow Eco-Wax, stood in front of the Shark Tank business tycoons in a complete ski kit and presented his product: a vegetable, petroleum-free ski wax that does not leave any nasty chemicals in the snow like traditional ones Waxes. By the time the segment was over, he had sold 20 percent of the company to two Sharks, Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary, for $ 300,000.
Outside, MountainFlow won the Gear of the Show Award at last year’s Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. There we look at hundreds of products that were presented to us in a matter of days. Truly unique products stand out in a sea of talk about updated membranes and midsoles, and the MountainFlow story was simple, straightforward, and had the potential to make a huge impact on the environment by removing petrochemicals from water catchment areas. Scouts for the show thought so too.
Arlein, a passionate skier and former patrol based in Carbondale, Colorado, worked in marketing when he developed numerous night ski waxes for several years before winning the award at Outdoor Retailer. Later, when a cold email from Shark Tank producers popped up in his inbox, he almost didn’t answer: He was incredulous that the reality TV show would be interested in his product.
The chances of going on the air are great: the show receives nearly 40,000 applicants per season and only 88 airs, according to USA Today. Even less are funded (and some of the deals fall apart later). However, Arlein replied to the email and after his first phone call with the producers he understood why a large network would be interested in a new ski wax technology. “The cool thing about MountainFlow is that you can explain it to anyone in ten seconds, even if they don’t know what ski wax is,” says Arlein. “I think that’s where you saw the mass appeal.”
Corcoran, a Manhattan real estate developer and 12 season veteran of the show, took a personal interest in MountainFlow as she has been an avid skier for over 50 years. (While speaking with Outside, she was particularly animated when she described the powder she had recently obtained on a trip to Deer Valley, Utah.) “What I really liked about Eco-Wax was that it not based on petroleum, ”she says. “I wax my skis maybe twice a season and I never knew they were petroleum-based products.”
She also says she was almost as interested in Arlein himself. He has a roped mountaineering build and a bushy mustache that is often emphasized by a fully engaged smile. “That goofy look he had and that outfit was adorable,” she says. “I bought myself immediately. I thought I like this guy. Sympathy is a big card in everything. ”
(Photo: Courtesy ABC Shark Tank)
Arlein says he hit MountainFlow thousands of times, and when he was standing in front of the lights in full ski gear, he went on autopilot. “Once you’re on the set, it just feels like a business conversation,” he says. He succinctly explained the effects of petroleum and fluorocarbons on waterways near ski resorts and the collective damage that can occur when large numbers of skiers dump these particles. “I had never thought of that before,” says Corcoran. “I thought whoa, I didn’t mean to ruin the earth – I want to buy this product.”
Some of the sharks were avid skiers and already knew about the ban on fluorocarbons in ski racing and took the time to explain it to the audience. “It showed everyone that this was a real thing and my company found a solution,” says Arlein.
While he found it difficult to deliver the pitch nature, the quick calculation he had to calculate on stage as investors kept changing their offerings proved very difficult. After some back and forth, he picked up the deal with Corcoran and O’Leary. “Other investors have expressed an interest in putting money into the company, but it’s tremendous for us to get these sharks on board,” said Arlein.
While the $ 300,000 is a nice boost to the company that was his side gig for many years (he was only full-time last year), he’s most excited about the tools these business veterans need to grow. “Now I get twice as many resources. [Corcoran and O’Leary] Both have great teams with intelligent people who help out when problems arise. That’s why I’ve come to terms with these two, ”says Arlein.
Main Photo: Courtesy of ABC Shark Tank