Drive Suits Before Shark Tank
Drew Beaumier is a student of film and art. In his mid-twenties, he stumbled upon a truth that, to him, was self-evident. He discovered that robots are really cool. However, unlike most shower-thoughts of its nature, Drew decided to turn this one into his livelihood. He wanted to share his love of humanoid robotic vehicles with the world. In 2009, he entered an early prototype of his invention into a costume contest. The costume was a fully functional motorized transformer costume, which he dubbed the first of many Drive Suits. After success here, he spent the next few years refining and marketing the invention. He also put together an all-star team of performing mechanophiles to showcase his Drive Suits.
A few years after taking this show on the road and making tweaks, Drew was ready to mass-produce Drive Suits, for the joy of all children-at-heart. However, he didn’t have much to show for sales, so he would need a partner to begin mass-manufacturing and distribution. He also needed help with intellectual property, product optimization, and marketing. Put simply, his business was still in its early stages. Hopefully, the sharks would see the potential behind Drive Suits and share Drew’s vision for a future of bionically optimized children.
Drive Suits During Shark Tank
Drew and his crew made themselves the center of attention by piloting their Drive Suits straight into the tank. Barbara rolled her eyes, and Robert looked like he had found himself in a Toys “R” Us. For 20% of his business, Drew sought a $150,000 investment. He introduced Drive Suits as a sort of next-generation wearable technology, clearly capitalizing on the recent popularity of devices like the GoPro and smartwatches. Besides this, his value proposition with Drive Suits was their novelty. His suits drew heavily from the popular Transformers franchise. He decided to mass produce them when his clients asked where they could buy their own suits.
Looking a bit giddy, Robert asked for the product’s top speed and a live demonstration, marveling at the hand-controlled motor. As Robert performed his inspection, Drew explained that the idea for Drive Suits came from necessity. Several years before, he was short on rent money and waiting tables, eager for some sort of breakthrough in the film or art world. Meanwhile, he heard about a local costume contest with a large top prize. He figured that building his costume was just a way to get by, but it turned into a career. Barbara broke his stupor. She expressed some concerns about the product’s safety, especially if it would be sold to children. Ideally, it would be safer than standing motorized toys, but she didn’t look convinced.
As he is known to do, Kevin drew back the curtain. His question about Drive Suits’ shipping containers forced Drew to admit that he had no sales to speak of. He’d been counseled to iron out intellectual property concerns before selling the product, which the sharks thought was wise. Unfortunately, attempts to stake out claims had been unproductive. Drew owned the trademark to Drive Suits, but a provisional patent on the technology came and went with little to show for it. He couldn’t afford a full patent. He even had trouble providing details on production costs and other key statistics. While Drew claimed the $150,000 would fund AutoCAD designs, intellectual property, and a manufacturer’s request, he still seemed less-than-savvy in business matters.
Mr. Wonderful zeroed-in on this apparent lack of focus and provided some advice on the toy business. Drew’s next step was to court a major company in pursuit of royalties. He’d been attempting to drum-up hype at a grassroots level for years; he was ready for the big leagues. Kevin and Robert began to discuss what they thought was Drew’s biggest challenge: What proprietary information did he have to offer a hypothetical partner? In their eyes, nothing. He could be valuable for his experience, but nothing more. Mark thought his colleagues were taking the wrong approach. Drew should focus on the performance aspect of his business. This would mean thinking smaller and trying to create a viral following before approaching major companies for partnerships.
Kevin scoffed at this idea, and the two of them continued to butt heads for the remainder of the segment. Should Drew take the safer approach and accept his destiny as a “circus performer”, or should he take a risk and spend his time courting corporate suits? Drew asserted that the latter was his true goal. He wanted a smash-hit. It quickly became clear that Mark and Kevin were Drive Suits’ only paths to a deal when the other three sharks dropped out in rapid succession. For Robert, Drive Suits lacked the proprietary elements he was looking for. For Daymond, there were too many unknowns in the infant business, and Barbara was still concerned with safety issues that Drew didn’t anticipate.
Mark eased some of the tensions by making the first offer. He agreed with Daymond that Drive Suits was in its early stages, but he was willing to hold its hand for now. If Drew agreed that they would need to adapt and consider all income streams, including both manufacturing and live performances, he would invest. His number was $150,000 for 40%. Daymond and Kevin derided this offer, calling it “blood-sucking”. From their perspective, Drew would continue doing what he had done with Drive Suits for the last three years. He would build more costumes and hire an engineer with the investment, but it would likely go nowhere. The money would dry up, Drew would be back where he started, and Mark Cuban would own 40% of his business.
Kevin offered $150,000 for 30%, on the condition that Drive Suits landed a partnership with a toy company. This was a big if. Pitching a major company is no simple task. Additionally, it would leave Kevin with none of the potential risk and all of the potential reward. However, it was far more ambitious than Mark’s deal. Mr. Cuban defended his deal on two accounts. First, it would solve Drew’s issues with reserve cash. In an R&D-heavy business, simply having enough money to keep the lights on for another month can be critical. Second, Kevin wasn’t the only connection to toy companies. Any executive would be just as likely to take a call from Mark.
Drew weighed his options. Part of him knew that Mark’s deal might be his best option, but he couldn’t bring himself to give up on a big break. “I’m kind of a gambler,” he declared, as he took Kevin’s deal. Barbara and Mark couldn’t believe their ears: Mark Cuban had lost! Daymond was just along for the ride, laughing for a solid thirty seconds. The end of the episode, often host to some light bickering and closing remarks, was especially juicy this time around. The show runners decided to insert some of the most blatant product placement ever seen on television. Daymond held up his T-Mobile phone and snapped a picture of Mark’s defeat, much to his protest. “It’s too late, baby! I got my T-Mobile super-fast 4G!” Shameless promotion aside, Drew was just happy that he got a deal.
Drive Suits Now in 2018 – After Shark Tank Update
Or did he? As Shark Tank fanatics out there might know, deals aren’t final just because they made it on TV. The sharks have a due diligence period after each episode to delve into their investments. Either Kevin’s people discovered something they didn’t like about Drive Suits, or talks with toy companies never materialized. The sharks brought up a number of concerns, including safety and liability, the company’s infancy, and high production costs as potential red flags. Whether or not one of these came into play, Drew would have to drive on.
Drive on, he did. Drew never shied away from the spotlight. Before and after his shark tank appearance, he and the newly-named Robots and Cars Entertainment appeared at conventions and media events. Drew even premiered his Drive Suits at an American Idol audition, singing Born to be Wild in full uniform. Unfortunately, he couldn’t make full use of his decent voice. It turns out that “car form” in a Drive Suit doesn’t boast the greatest acoustics. Forgetting the words didn’t do him any favors, either. As Drew left the audition area, disgraced, Steven Tyler fumbled his closing quip. “Before you go, how many gallons per mile?” It was a sad, strange day for all involved.
But the publicity stunts didn’t end. The next year, Drew took his team of Autobots to Let’s Make a Deal, a long-running game show along the lines of The Price is Right. This appearance seemed more suited to the suits, since contestants are often chosen based on their zany costumes. Just winning $2000 put it above the American Idol experience. Drive Suits’ quest for viral recognition has also taken them to the Canadian Discovery Channel, a stage show in Shanghai, and a UK-based web show. The payoff is a bit more questionable. Sadly, Drew still hasn’t gotten the word out to the degree he had hoped, and no toy companies have hopped on board.
The Drive Suits website underwent a name change (when Drew officially dropped the “Drive Suits” moniker), but not much else is different than 2013. The only major media appearances seem to surround Shark Tank. The website looks about a decade older than that, with clumsy overlapping text and a very early-2000s color palette. The “About Us” tab reads like a personal blog section, with unrelated details about Drew’s life and education. It even bears the endlessly quotable “My childhood dream was to be a transforming robot,” spoken by the man himself.
Despite the lack of a name or real money behind Drive Suits (AKA Robots and Cars Entertainment), Drew and Team R.A.C.E have kept on rolling. Although he couldn’t get his product onto store shelves, Drive Suits has found a niche in live entertainment. In the tank, Kevin warned that Mark was trying to make Drew an “elephant” or “circus performer.” This prediction may have come true, but Drew Beaumier is still a success in his own way. He has made a living as a Transformer, something the rest of us can only dream of.
Initial Offer and Valuation
20% for $150,000; $750,000 valuation
Offers from Sharks
Mark Cuban: $150,000 for 40%
Kevin O’Leary: $150,000 for 30% contingent on partnership with a toy company (accepted)