Banana Loca Before Shark Tank
Banana Loca is an easy-to-use, compact kitchen gadget that conveniently removes the middle of a banana so that parents can inject the fruit with a filling. Nonetheless, this gadget doesn’t only work on bananas; it also works on donuts, cucumbers, and zucchinis. Regardless of what fruit or vegetable is being ‘de-cored’ with Banana Loca, parents will be able to add a little something sweet or savory in the center for a better snack for children. Banana Loca can inject anything from peanut butter and chocolate to things like cottage cheese and jelly. When using this gadget, the device holds the banana and essentially straightens out the shape prior to the middle of the fruit being removed. The middle is removed with the suction tube on the device. Parents can then inject whichever substance they’d like to by pressing down on the handle at the top. Banana Loca not only makes for a sweeter snack, but it’s also convenient as it can be used without the banana needing to be peeled.
Banana Loca was created by a team of entrepreneurial best friends, Bechara Jaoudeh, and Renee Heath, in 2019. Now, while the two may have no experience with kitchen tools, Bechara and Renee have already gained an exceptional amount of experience within digital marketing. A tool they’d be able to use heavily for the better within their time of business. Before launching Banana Loca, Bechara did have two other businesses of his own, making him aware of what a new business would bring him. Bechara graduated from Temple University with his bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. In 2009, he started his first business, Philly Marketing Labs, where he would assist other businesses that needed digital marketing. After just a couple of months, he started another business called Bagel Spice. As the name may suggest, Bagel Spice was a business that made epicure spices for bagels.
Renee, on the other hand, attended and graduated from Rutgers University with her bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Sociology. After graduating in 2005, she went on to do some freelance work as a broadcast journalist with the BBC Radio Leeds. Renee also has quite a bit of experience with digital marketing. In fact, before starting Banana Loca, she would travel to trade shows across the United States. It was at one of those trade shows where Bechara and Renee met and started a lasting friendship. The two of them really enjoyed attending these shows and learning about what cool new gadgets were on the market.
The inspiration for Banana Loca came when Bechara and Renee were discussing their childhood snacks. They got to talking about bananas and Bechara made a comment about how he enjoyed eating Nutella with his bananas as a child. In agreement, Renee then mentioned that her nieces and nephews always liked peanut butter with theirs. It was during this conversation that the founders realized that there hadn’t been a product on the market that would allow them to combine the Nutella or peanut butter with the bananas. The only option was to dip the fruit into the substance. With that, Bechara and Renee came up with an idea for a device that would effortlessly combine the two snacks. Thus, creating Banana Loca.
The Banana Loca business was officially launched in 2019. They started a Kickstarter campaign for it a year later in 2020. This campaign gained the founders more than $13,000. At the beginning of 2021, the Banana Loca devices were ready to be shipped to their first batch of customers. Soon after, the gadget started being sold on Amazon as well as the Banana Loca website; one device will cost consumers $28.99. Though they had a new business to run, Bechara and Renee did continue working on other full-time jobs, which is why they have chosen to try to impress the sharks. They’re hoping a shark can help them run their newfound business. Nonetheless, whether Bechara and Renee get a deal or not, they’re excited to see how appearing on Shark Tank will benefit their business.
Banana Loca on Shark Tank
Bechara Jaoudeh and Renee Heath enter the Shark Tank with a third individual who is dressed in a banana costume. The founders are seeking a $250,000 deal in return for a 25% ownership of their business, Banana Loca. Without wasting any time, the founders jump right into introducing themselves and their product. They reveal that they started the business with more than $224,000 of their personal money. This money went towards production. Upon explaining the concept of the Banana Loca gadget, the entrepreneurs demonstrate how the device is used to fill bananas. As the samples receive their samples and spend a few minutes analyzing it, they appear to be impressed. So much so, in fact, that Robert Herjavec claimed that the gadget was a genius idea, and Mark Cuban praised it for being an oddly satisfying process. They also liked how the newly modified snacks tasted. Nonetheless, the sharks are eager to hear how the sales have been thus far for Banana Loca.
All of Banana Loca’s sales come from online purchases, as that is their only form of sale at this time. With that, Bechara and Renee tell the sharks that they’ve done $134,000 in sales during the five months leading up to their time on Shark Tank. Given that, the Banana Loca gadgets cost them about $6 to make and they’re sold on Amazon and their website for $28.99. Their overall profit margins are currently between 45% to 50%, which the sharks seem to be happy with. The sharks go on to ask Bechara and Renee what they would do with their investment from a shark. They respond, saying that they want to use the $250,000 for stocking up their inventory and to start paid marketing; however, Mark tells them that paid marketing isn’t necessary for their business.
The first shark to make the founders an offer was Kevin O’Leary. He makes them the $250,000 offer, but he wants a $3 royalty per unit sold instead of an equity in the business. The first shark to drop out of the deal is Daymond John, who thinks that the device will only get one use before being stored away. Lori Greiner follows Daymond out after telling Bechara and Renee that the business is too new. Robert then makes the founders an offer for $350,000 in exchange for a 10% equity in Banana Loca. He adds in that he also wants a $3 royalty per unit sold. In response to Robert’s deal, Mark Cuban decides to team up with Kevin. Together, they offer the friends $250,000 in return for a 25% equity and a $3 royalty per unit sold until the $250,000 in returns. Bechara and Renee decide to accept their deal and Banana Loca leaves Shark Tank with a deal with two sharks.
Banana Loca Now in 2023 – What Happened After Shark Tank
After successfully landing a deal with two sharks during their Shark Tank debut, the deal Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban made with Bechara Jaoudeh, and Renee Heath has not yet been closed. The Banana Loca business remains in business, and they did fortunately receive a spike in sales after their appearance on the show. In fact, their sales increased by 100 times compared to their sales before the show. Now, as one could imagine, these orders did take the founders a year to complete and ship out; however, they were able to do it. They successfully fulfilled more than 10,000 orders. With that, unfortunately, there has not been any mention of the businesses sales numbers as of December 2023. Additionally, Banana Loca is still being sold for between $26.99 and $28.99 on Amazon and the Banana Loca website.