Melni Connectors Before Shark Tank
Mark Melni, the owner of family run electronic store, is a man with a vision and an inspirational mind. Being surrounded by electrical applications on a day to day basis, it only seems inevitable that he would be struck with the idea to create something revolutionary. After witnessing numerous customers enter the store in hopes of remedying broken wires, Melni drew inspiration from both customer struggles and an old childhood toy. The Chinese Finger Trap, a tubular piece of material that a person sticks their fingers into and can not escape from by way of pulling them apart, became the basis for the overall design of Melni Connectors.
Back in 2007 is when Melni first produced his product. He created an ingenious new form of electrical connector that only got tighter when someone tried to pull it apart. In 2010 Melni received a patent for his product after having it tested at Underwriters Labs where is passed with exceptional scores.
After receiving his patent, Melni began to manufacture his product, officially kickstarting the Melni Connectors company. Mark partnered up with close friends Armand Eckert and Bryon Dunn to help get the business off the ground, but their help just was not enough to really give them the beginning boost that they needed. That was why the trio took to an episode of Shark Tank, to see if they could have the proper financial support needed to efficiently run a business still in its infancy stage.
Melni Connectors During Shark Tank
After entering the Shark Tank, Melni is quick to put a bold price of $500k for a meager 5% of his company. Kevin O’Leary immediately voices his doubts, saying that he worries for Melni if he believes that his company, that has yet to change the electrical industry, is worth $10 million. This doubt fails to shake the trio’s courage though, because they go on to explain exactly how the Melni Connector works. First he demonstrates the difficulty of making a connection between two wires by crimping it and confesses to having suffered a few shoulder injuries because of this time consuming method. Then in a few easy steps, he uses his own connector to quickly join the two wires together with considerably less effort than the former method. Robert Herjavec inquires on the safety of the electrical connector to which Melni confirms that it is safer and a lot more time efficient.
When asked about their company sales, they just recently received their first purchase order for $585k from Irrigation Components International. To manufacture each unit of the demonstrated size of connector is about $15 dollars, but the retail sale price is $39 dollars. O’Leary, still skeptical of the idea, points out that their only sale is still theoretical because the order itself has yet to be fulfilled, and thinks that they are insane for thinking that the business is worth $10 million. Quick to defend the product, they argue that Melni Connectors has a lot of appeal for multiple market areas because it can be sold both industrially and commercially.
The Sharks all appear to be relatively confused by the goal that the trio is trying to reach. So, in an attempt to unwind and take a few steps back, Barbara Corcoran asks for the story of the company’s origin. Bryon, the owner of Powerlineman Magazine, invested $50k into Mark’s business after having reviewed the product. Though the story lightens the mood, O’Leary jumps back in to say that the business is a mousetrap.
According to him, Melni Connectors lacks a game plan and direction to follow. Eckert mentions that the electrical connector market is worth $50 billion and that next year their sales will be around $6 million. Still unimpressed with their communication skills and sales pitch, Corcoran is the first to pull out. Lori Greiner quickly follows, deciding that she is not the best Shark to help them in their endeavors. Herjavec also decides not to invest, but Melni finds hope when Mark Cuban decides to make them an offer.
After sharing with them the story of his own company, Cuban feels like he can relate with the three men because he too started a business that did not exactly have a defined direction to follow. With that being said, he offers them the original $500k but for 12% of the company. However, in addition to this deal, he also wants to be given the option buy more of the company should they grow as anticipated. At first Melni hesitates, but his business partners are quick to talk some sense into him and he accepts the deal.
Melni Connectors Now In 2023 – After Shark Tank Update
Thanks to Mark’s investment, they were able to produce more electrical connectors in bulk. Since then, they’ve gotten seven international patents as well as an Underwriters Laboratory certification for the business (the latter means that the product has been tested to nationally recognized sustainability and safety standards).
Mark eventually invested another $1 million in the company, as did a large electrical supplies distributor. By 2018, they had started to ship the product. As for why it took so long, they had decided to wait until everything was good to go in terms of their patents.
In a later interview, Melni revealed that they had signed a deal with Irrigation Components International, the largest distributor of Center Pivot irrigation components in the United States. Not only that, but he also hinted that a large cable company was interested in purchasing the business. As far as we can tell, however, nothing ever came out of it.
As of 2023, the company is still operational with an annual revenue of $3 million and is listed on Mark Cuban’s website. Over the past few years, they’ve continued to distribute their products to the automotive, military, agricultural, and renewable energy markets. Currently, they offer three types of products under their MC Series—the MC-1 Direct Burial Splice (1/0 to 2/0 AWG), MC2400 Direct Burial Splice (#4-#2 AWG), and MC3400 Direct Burial Splice (3/0 – 4/0 AWG).
They also partnered up with the Amphenol Corporation, a major producer of fiber and electronic optic connectors, cable and interconnect systems, to produce a crimpless solar connector. The RadCrimp, as it’s called, is designed to significantly improve crimp reliability in the field while reducing the number of failures that are due to improper crimping. Not only does it use their dual spiral technology, but it’s also certified for 1500V DC.
According to their website, they will also be launching the Hyper-Spice, a waterproof industrial strength splice that features Hyperbolic Spiral Technology, later this year. For those who are interested, you can enter your contact details on their site and they’ll notify you as soon as it’s available. There’s also a video about the product that you can check out here.
When he isn’t creating electrical connectors, Melni likes to play the piano. In fact, he’s uploaded a number of songs onto YouTube.