TITIN Before Shark Tank.
Patrick Whaley wasn’t happy with his slim physique as a young man, and began filling his backpack with added weight in elementary school, in the form of books, to help him gain additional muscle. But he soon realized that a large bulky weight on his back wasn’t the ideal training aid. The additional weight worked against him and caused problems for his shoulders during his workouts, so he continued developing the idea throughout his school years, refining it but not quite perfecting it.
His inventive streak had to take second place to his education while he studied engineering at Georgia Tech, but a traumatic experience soon took place that turned Patrick’s life upside-down. In May 2009, whilst moving into a new apartment in Atlanta, Patrick was the victim of an attempted mugging. During a struggle for his attackers gun, he was shot in the chest, the shot entered his lungs, went through his liver and exited through his back.
Fortunately luck and youth was on Patrick’s side and he survived the potentially life-threatening injuries, but he faced an arduous recovery program lasting months, or even years. His rehabilitation was aided by his own weight-enhanced training shirt that he had spent so long developing. Patrick discovered that his shirt was the best aid he could use daily, to help him recover fully. Within a year Patrick was back to full strength and newly inspired to market his TITIN shirt as he had now named it. He began displaying it at enterprise conventions throughout the country and concentrated on getting as much visibility for his product as possible.
He launched a Kickstarter campaign in May 2014 to gain additional funding. Although he was seeking $100,000, he eventually managed to raise over $117,000 with the help over 500 backers. Shortly after the campaign ended, he was approached by Shark Tank producers and invited to appear on the show.
TITIN on Shark Tank
Patrick appeared on the Shark Tank in October 2014 and announced to the sharks that he was hoping to secure a half a million dollar investment in exchange for just 5% equity in his TITIN business.
The training shirt entrepreneur launched into his fast-paced pitch without pausing for breath. He explained at breakneck speed that TITIN was a patented, form fitting weighted compression gear system that was designed around the human anatomy. The shirt utilized gel inserts that had the same density as human muscle tissue. Patrick came into the tank with promotional materials that claimed the TITIN system could deliver a 13% increase in vertical leap, an 11% boost in endurance, and a 3% increase in running speed. It all sounded too good to be true.
Mark Cuban looked doubtful, the second Patrick ended his pitch he dictated that Patrick tell him about the science behind the product.
Patrick began talking about the successes TITIN had helped athletes and sportsmen achieve but Mark interrupted, he snapped that Patrick was just supplying anecdotal information, he wanted to know how the shirt worked.
Patrick essentially repeated his pitch but added the fact that the weights in the shirt acted as an internal weight, rather than an external one. That way TITIN could build muscle and increase workout effectiveness without causing problems for joints or posture.
Mark was still unconvinced ‘So you’re telling me with a padded bra I can jump 13% higher?’ he asked. Lori laughed at that but Patrick kept things serious and talked some more about internal weights. Mark compared the shirt to old-fashioned ankle weights used by athletes before modern gym facilities were available, he expressed amazement that Patrick could value a company at $10 million based on such an old idea.
Kevin O’Leary was more supportive, or maybe he just wanted to argue with Mark ‘It’s about vision’ he asserted ‘It’s about what it’s worth next year’, but Mark was looking less than impressed with his own vision of the business.
Patrick handed out the TITIN shirt and Robert Herjavec, a keen fan of personal fitness himself, was eager to try it on. He asked how much the shirt weighed and Patrick began to run through the details, but that just sent Mark Cuban off again. He again asserted that training shirts with pouches for weights had been around for years, what was different about the TITIN? Patrick once more ran through how the weights in his shirt acted as an internal weight, rather than an external one. He was looking a bit jaded from Mark’s constant belittling of his product by now, but he kept his cool and didn’t falter from his explanation, even when Robert began posing and clowning around in the TITIN he was trying out.
Kevin O’Leary, as per usual, wanted to know what sales Patrick had achieved so far. Things got a bit more interesting for the sharks when Patrick informed them that he had achieved almost a million dollars in revenue in just the previous month. Kevin asked where the shirt had been sold so far. Patrick confirmed that most of the sales had been made online, although he was talking to multiple brick and mortar stores and had recently made a sale to the largest medical distribution company in America.
Daymond inquired what the previous years sales had been, Patrick replied that $600,000 had been achieved in sales the previous year. When he was asked how much profit he had made from the $600,000, Patrick had to explain about his previous partner. In 2012, he had made a deal with a venture capitalist, his new partner had insisted on employing an executive chair to oversee things within the company. The new partnership had not gone well, Patrick’s executive chair had ‘burned through’ the million dollar investment the company had received and, in the end, Patrick had bought them out only a week before appearing on the show.
There were a few more questions from Daymond, and Robert Herjavec, about the status of the business now but Patrick fielded them all professionally, he and his father were now the sole owners of the TITIN business, they had no debt and they had a 30% net profit margin on their impressive sales.
Robert asked what the projected sales for the next year were, Patrick asserted that he was looking towards $10 million in sales the following year, possibly as much as $16 million. His main problem currently was purchasing the inventory to sell on, he had $1.4 million in sales outstanding but no way to process them quickly without the investment he was seeking on the show.
The sales figures were impressive but the sharks were still not convinced, particularly Mark Cuban. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks just couldn’t see the value in the business, he made his feelings clear ‘My BS meter is going through the roof’ he exclaimed. Patrick tried to win him over but it was never going to happen. After some more discussion about the claims that TITIN could improve the performance of professional athletes, Mark dropped out. ‘OK’ said Patrick, seemingly glad to get rid of Mark before he could sour a deal with the other sharks.
It was too late in the case of Robert Herjavec, he had already been infected with Mark’s distrust of the business and the objections raised made him uncomfortable. The sales were impressive and the product was interesting, but the valuation of the company was too high, and Robert was out too.
Lori Greiner was also uninterested, she didn’t really have a feel for the product and it wasn’t something she could see herself investing in. She was far friendlier towards Patrick, but she followed Robert in dropping out.
Kevin O’Leary however felt differently, he saw the product as belonging squarely in the huge and lucrative apparel market. He felt there was something there and he had an offer to make, the requested $500,000 in exchange for 15% equity. Kevin didn’t stop there, he had a few mild insults for Patrick himself, describing his pitch style as that of an ‘Arrogant ass’. The other Sharks laughed at that and Kevin continued ‘If you want a friend, buy a dog, but if you want an investor, I’ll be your investor, but you are a bit of a …’. Whatever Kevin did label Patrick at the end of his tirade was bleeped out, but Patrick took it in his stride and smiled, with his mouth anyway, his eyes looked less forgiving.
Patrick didn’t jump at the offer and Daymond quickly stepped up with an alternative proposal for him. He also had doubts about the future of the company, but he was prepared to offer the half a million dollar investment, in exchange for 20% of the business. It was a higher percentage than Kevin had proposed, but Daymond clarified that he would be prepared to handle the TITIN inventory for Patrick. He also didn’t insult the entrepreneur at all, which usually helps when you’re striking a deal.
There was some more resistance from Patrick, who made a counter offer to both sharks in an attempt to reduce the equity on the table to 10%, but neither Kevin or Daymond were prepared to budge. Ultimately, unable to achieve an improved offer, and seemingly uninterested in working with Mr Wonderful, Patrick accepted Daymond’s offer and they shook hands on the deal.
TITIN After Shark Tank
With the Exception of Daymond John, The sharks were unconvinced by the TITIN business during the show. Patrick’s impressive sales figures were weighed against Mark Cuban’s vocal distrust of the product, and most of them chose not to invest once Mark had voiced his concerns. Daymond saw through the doubts, he realised that Patrick’s inventory problems would be solved with investment and inventory management. Patrick confirmed he chose Daymond’s offer as inventory management was a vital element of it.
Since the deal was struck on the show, TITIN, which remains the only weight compression equipment with a patent, has begun to be used by high profile customers, such as Paul Millsap of the Atlanta Hawks. There are other celebrity endorsements from Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, and from his former team-mate Jonny Gomes, who now plays for the Tohoku Golden Eagles in Japan.
With the visibility of TITIN improving, and sales increasing since the show first aired, Patrick and Daymond see a bright future for the business. They envisage moving into the mass market and producing a less expensive version for the average consumer and fitness fan. Time will tell if TITIN revolutionizes workouts for us mere mortals, but with the cheapest TITIN system currently retailing for $250, I’ll stick to those ankle weights that Mark Cuban was talking about for my Sunday Morning run for now.