On February 26, 2016, Katherine Krug brought her invention to Season 7 of the Shark Tank, hoping to gain investors for her product, BetterBack. Katherine was a long time back pain sufferer who had tried many different options with no success. She sympathized with others that suffer back pain, and after much research Katherine was able to create a device that would solve all of her back related issues. BetterBack was the product she felt the world needed.
Success Before The Tank
Before Katherine brought her invention to the Shark Tank, she first brought her product to Kickstarter with a $12,500 goal. 16,500 people backed the idea , and she was the first solo woman to sell over $1 million worth of product off a successful Kickstarter. Katherine did it in a little over a month. The remarkable progress ultimately gave her the courage to take her product to the Shark Tank.
What is BetterBack?
BetterBack is a device that corrects your posture by slipping the brace around your back and wrapping the straps around your knees. The simple device is both ergonomic and functional. It is light-weight, portable, and can make your seated posture perfect. Its design makes it easy to put on and take off without hassle, and works by training your back muscles. All it takes is wearing the BetterBack device 15 minutes a day, every day.
Let’s Make A Deal on Shark Tank
Katherine Krug pitches her product to the Sharks with her new fiance, showing how fast their posture could be corrected with BetterBack. She brought samples for each of the Sharks to try, and after briefly instructing them on how to wear the device, all of the Sharks noted how well it worked. She had them on the hook, the Sharks seem to like the product. She was full of passion and looked as though she felt very confident with her presentation and pitch.
She was looking for a Shark to “have her back” with a $750K investment for a 7.5% stake in her company, a $10 million valuation. The cost to make the product was $8.05. She sold them on Kickstarter for $49. After having 16,500 backers and having raised over $1.65 million, she stated her case that BetterBack was worth that $10 million.
After asking several questions about the product amongst the five Sharks, Barbara Corcoran backed out first. She did not feel confident that she would be good fit for the product, and there were too many unanswered questions for her to invest that much money. The customer had not tried the product, and that was too big of a risk. She felt Katherine was asking for too much money. Even though Katherine had shipped 10K products with 10K in production, Barbara felt she was still to large a risk.
Mark Cuban was concerned about her core competency and thought she had pigeon-holed herself a bit with her valuation. Which pushes Robert to make BetterBack an offer of $750K for 20% of the company. Next Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary, jumps in with a 25% stake in the company for the $750K that Katherine was asking for. This put their valuation of her company at about $3.75 million rather than the $10 million she originally valued her company at.
Lori Greiner hopped into the running with enthusiasm, she felt that BetterBack would work well with her QVC sales format. She liked that Katherine’s invention was demonstrable. She offers a 20% stake for the $750K investment. Which triggers Mr. Wonderful into making a counter-offer of a two year loan of the original $750K at 7.5% interest rate and a 5% equity.
This is where things got interesting. Lori counters Kevin’s offer with another deal for Katherine to consider. She offers a three year loan of $750K at a 7.5% interest rate and, after she is paid back, wants 8% of the company. With both of those offers, Katherine wants to phone a friend, which throws the Sharks into shock.
Robert said it was “Business 101” to walk away and call someone at that point. Nothing is guaranteed in the tank until the deal is made. That would have been a horrible thing for her to do because Lori, Kevin, and Robert could withdrawal any offer they had on the table. It’s the kind of offer that has you hanging at the edge of your seat pulling your hair out wanting to tell the inventor, “Take the offer!” Thank goodness that she comes to her senses fast and accepts Lori’s offer. She walked out of the tank with some amazing support from Lori Greiner.
BetterBack Now In 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Unfortunately, the deal with Lori never closed. However, that hasn’t stopped Katherine from continuing to build the business. For one thing, they started selling the product on Amazon, where it received great feedback. In fact, it was so popular that it was sold out for a period.
Fast forward to 2023 and BetterBack is still in business. Currently, the posture correction device has a four-star rating on Amazon. Looking at some of the reviews, most people seem to agree it works—that it’s effective at preventing pain and discomfort while sitting at a desk. Not only that but people have also written that it helps with tailbone pain. One user even said that it’s “better than a chiropractor.”
However, not all reviews are positive. For example, some people have found the device to be hard to use (ie. difficult to get into the right position). Others wrote that it didn’t help with their posture in a noticeable way.
Regardless, the business seems to be thriving as of 2023 with an annual revenue of approximately $5 million. If anything, that goes to show that it is possible to succeed even without a shark’s investment.
Not only is the BetterBack available on Amazon, but you can also get it from their official website. If you want, you can even upgrade the device to NASA memory foam for $59.99. You can also add a Healing Pearl Therapy Pack, which can be used for heat or ice treatment, for $9.99. Shipping is also free across the United States.
Aside from the original BetterBack, they’ve also added additional products such as the SuperStraps Luxe. Basically, they’re backpack straps that are designed to relieve back, neck, and shoulder tension. For those who are interested, they’re currently sold for $59.99 on their website.
That’s not all, they’ve also started to sell a “deluxe” version of the Betterback, which comes with deluxe comfort knee pads. Not only that but it can also be zipped into a portable case so you can take it with you on the go. And it’s just a little more expensive at $65.
At one point, they also had a Betterback “Plus” but as far as we can tell it’s no longer available (it’s currently listed as “sold out” on their website).
For more information, you can visit their website at getbetterback.com. They also have an official Facebook page (@getBetterBack) that’s updated on a regular basis. If you want, you can even send them a message there. Their Twitter account, however, hasn’t been updated since 2019.