Life Lift Systems Before Shark Tank
Life Lift systems is a safety device that was developed by Levi Wilson and Tim Todd to keep people safe during tornadoes. Wilson and Todd are from Oklahoma which is a tornado-prone area. It experiences an average of 60 tornadoes annually. Todd has even experienced two tornadoes in his lifetime with the first one destroying his grandparents’ house. The event happened while he was still a child. These experiences are what motivated the pair to invent Life Lift Systems, a tornado shelter.
The Life Lift System is an emergency room that can be raised to house an individual during a tornado or home invasion. There are 2 types of tornado shelters: above-ground shelters, and below-ground shelters. Above-ground shelters take up a lot of floor space in the homestead while below-ground shelters are prone to leakages and pests can breed inside. However, Life Lift Systems do not have these problems.
The United States is hit by around 1200 tornadoes annually meaning that there is a lot of demand for tornado shelters. The Life Lift System is a vortex, telescopic vault that can even be used as a bed. It only takes 60 seconds to rise.
Life lift is also developing a pool table, kitchen table, and workshop table that can be used to hide the shelter when it’s not in use. Their system is strong enough to withstand an EF5 tornado. An EF5 tornado has winds with speeds of 250 miles per hour wind and the objects that it brings with it such as cars.
Wilson and Todd had got the business up and running successfully but they still needed more capital. This is why they applied to be on Shark Tank. Their bid was successful and they were on the 13th episode of the 10th season.
Life Lift Systems on Shark Tank
Wilson and Todd went on Shark Tank seeking $555,000 for 15% of the company. They brought one of the shelters onto the show for the Sharks to see. The system that they brought comfortably fit four of the five sharks. Air circulation was the sharks’ first concern but Wilson showed them that it had vents all around that were covered.
Kevin then asked whether the vault was tough enough to withstand a twister that can destroy an entire house and he was told that it would. Lori then asked if the vault would be pulled up by the strong winds and she was told that it was bolted to a concrete floor so it wasn’t easily pulled up. Cuban then asked how it was bolted and installed in a house.
Wilson said that it is taken into a home piece by piece and then assembled in the spot where the owner wants. Lori then asked if it could go down when somebody was in. Wilson told her that there is a battery that will switch off and prevent such a thing from happening. Todd then gave them his history facing tornadoes.
After the explanation, Charles Barkley wanted to know what the total cost of setting it up was. He was told that it cost $6,000 for either the queen or king-size bed. For that price, they would fully install it in a home. Robert Herjavec then asked how it compared to the cost of setting up the other shelters. He was told that the cost is roughly the same.
Lori asked where people normally put the shelter. She was told that finding the right spot to put it is normally a major problem for people but many put it in their garage or pour a slab. Charles Barkley then asked what their sales were. He was told that they had sold 119 units in the past 3 to 4 months which was the period of time that they had been in business.
Robert asked how they had sold them and was told that they mainly relied on social media and advertising for sales. Kevin asked if they had installed them all and was told that they hadn’t they were in the process of doing so. They will also try to get some into the wholesale market. Charles then asked them what revenue they had recorded in that period.
Wilson and Todd told him that their revenue was $550,000 in the 3-4 month period that they had been in business. The sharks commended them for it. Barkley then asked them what their cost of production was. He was told that it was costing them about $3600 to make them and they retailed for around $4850. The sharks thought that this was not enough.
Cuban suggested that they charge more. Wilson was hesitant to do this. Kevin thought they could get people to pay $9000 for it. Todd said that it was a new company that had been in operation for at most 6 months. For them, there was still a lot to learn about business.
Charles asked them if it was their full-time job. Wilson said that he ran a machine shop while Todd was in marketing. Kevin then asked if they had a patent. Wilson told them that the telescoping system was patent pending.
After confirming that they would charge $6,000 to sell and install, Robert asked them what their plan was to sell more of them. He also said that their margins were very low. Wilson said that they wanted to have wholesalers across the country. Robert then asked them if they had any wholesalers lined up and was told that they had two dealers in Oklahoma.
Cuban strongly urged them to increase their sales price. Todd told him that their priority was to find installers across the nation. Wilson and Todd were also asked how much they had invested in the company and were told that they had invested $250,000. Barkley asked them how they had got their valuation. Wilson told them he based it on their sales and what they projected future sales to be given their current sales.
Robert then said that it wasn’t for him and so he left. Kevin said that he liked the idea to some extent but it wasn’t for him and so he left too. Charles then left saying that he didn’t think he could get his money back given the amount offered.
Cuban said that he loved the idea so he offered them the $500,000 they asked for but for 25% of the company. He said he was willing to finance the business further as they grow and would help in making new contacts. Lori said that she would do the same.
Wilson asked if either Mark or Lori would partner with them for 20%. He was willing to offer royalty. Cuban was willing and asked for the offer. Wilson said he was willing to offer a $100 royalty. Cuban said he would. Lori said she would do that offer as well. Todd asked if they were willing to partner. Cuban said no.
Wilson then decided to partner with Mark. He took Mark Cuban’s offer of 25% for $500,000. Todd said that they thought the idea would grow very fast thanks to Mark’s offer.
Life Lift Systems Now in 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update
Life lift Systems has witnessed major changes since the time it was started in 2008. For starters, the company changed its name to Vortex Vaults. They have continued to market their product on social media and boast of more than 6,500 followers on Facebook. They are still located in Oklahoma.
Their profit margins have increased to approximately $4,000,000 annually and the company now has a valuation of $15,000,000. It continues to provide the best shelter to those who need it in the worst of times.