Saturday, February 4, 2023

Reviver 2023 Update – What Happened After Shark Tank

Reviver Before Shark Tank

Ben Kusin, from Dallas, Texas, was standing in line at a convenience store sometime in 2007, when he overheard a whispered conversation from the people standing behind him. Smoker Ben was horrified to discover that he apparently ‘smelled like an ashtray’, and quickly left the line to find something to remove the tobacco aroma from his clothes.

Although he discovered a vast array of products to freshen breath, from mints to gum, there was nothing that would freshen his clothes up in the same way. Ben was sure that such a product already existed and began to look for it. After some research he realized that there appeared to be a gap in the market, and that’s when he had his eureka moment.

It was no surprise that Ben was quick to notice a potential business opportunity, he is the oldest son of businessman Gary Kusin, the founder of the video game retailer GameStop, and the former CEO of FedEx Office. Mom Karleen is equally business minded, she owns JK chocolate, which produces premium cookies and chocolate sauces.

After a hefty investment supplied by dad Gary, to fund the four year long development process, Ben eventually launched the Reviver business in 2011, supply freshening clothes wipes that could remove unwanted odors. Ben kept the business within the family when he recruited younger brother Eric, a former buyer at Neiman Marcus, as company president and Chief operating officer.

Ben, who had previously worked as a brand marketer for software giant Electronic Arts, had a great deal of experience launching new products. Soon the start-up was growing steadily and the product range was expanded to include a wipe for pet odors. The entrepreneurs managed to get the new product stocked in Petco stores, but the ambitious Kusin brothers were all too aware of the boost that an appearance on shark Tank could get them, and knew that the partnership of a shark would open up many future sales opportunities. With that in mind, they appeared on Shark Tank in October 2014.

Reviver on Shark Tank

The Kusin brothers were looking for a shark to invest $150,000 in exchange for 5% equity in their business on the show. They ran through their pitch quickly and efficiently, demonstrating the effectiveness of their Reviver wipes on a T-Shirt that had been sealed in a bag with some hamburgers. Lori smelled the pungent shirt, and declared that the aroma of food was completely eradicated after just a few quick wipes with the Reviver product.

Robert Herjavec asked in which retail locations the wipes were stocked, Ben ran through the product line and revealed that about half of the sales had been achieved in 1,200 Petco stores nationwide.

Kevin O’Leary inquired about sales, as he does on virtually every segment, and Ben confirmed that total sales had been $500,000 in under 10 months. The subject moved on to product development, and after admitting that father Gary had invested $2 million to fund the development process, Ben explained about he and his brothers privileged upbringing and entrepreneurial parents, somewhat reluctantly

Robert Herjvec wanted to know what the brothers would use any further investment for. Ben explained that they had a meeting with Walmart that was due to take place in a few months, and they would benefit enormously from the experience that a shark could bring to that all important meeting.

Mark Cuban didn’t see Reviver wipes as a technological breakthrough, instead he viewed them as a ‘formulation’. He asserted his belief that the brothers had called the wipes ‘Technological’ to keep their investor dad happy, and told them he had a lack of belief in the future of the product. With little further explanation, Mark dropped out.

Kevin calculated that sales of $500,000, over 10 months, equated to about $20 in each of the 1,200 retail locations that the wipes were sold at. He asserted that the Reviver product was on the verge of being delisted by Petco, and told Ben and Eric that they needed far more than $500,000 in sales to justify a company valuation of $3 million, and with that, Kevin was out too.

Reviver on Shark Tank
Lori was shocked at Barbara’s controversial statement

Barbara Corcoran rarely receives disapproving glances from her fellow sharks, but she got several when she announced that she didn’t invest in ‘Rich-kids’ businesses as a matter of principle. Lori looked horrified but Barbara continued, explaining that the best entrepreneurs were always hungry for their next success, and that ambition for growth was usually lacking in those with a secure financial backing. And with that Barbara was out.

The slightly stunned silence was ended by Robert, ‘That’s a bunch of crap’ he opined, and told Barbara that success didn’t care who your dad was.

Lori Greiner was fully in agreement with him, and even more positively for the Reviver business, she loved the product. Instantly perceiving it to be capable of huge sales, she was prepared to make an offer. She would supply the requested $150,000 investment, but in exchange for 15% equity in the business. She stressed the value she would add to the business as a strategic partner, and her ability to get Reviver wipes stocked in multiple large retail chains.

Ben thanked Lori for her offer, but inquired if any other sharks were interested in a deal. Robert Herjavec seemed undecided, he was deep in thought for a long moment, until Kevin O’Leary harassed him for taking so long to come to a decision. Finally Robert announced that he too would make an offer, the same $150,000 investment, but in exchange for only 10% of the business.

Lori was quick to emphasize the number of large retailers she was in contact with, and assured the Reviver entrepreneurs that she could take them ‘to the top’. Robert Herjavec tried to get a word in, but Lori spoke over him, refusing to let him derail her speech. When she had finished he was determined to remind the brothers that his offer was the most generous of the two.

Ben and Eric held a short whispered conversation until Kevin O’Leary prompted them to make a decision. The brothers reached an unspoken agreement, and Lori, smiling broadly, seemed to know what it was before Ben spoke. He told Lori that he and Eric would love her to ‘join their freshness family’, and the Queen of QVC pumped her fists in celebration, ‘Cha-Ching!’ she exclaimed, as Robert Herjavec looked disappointed.

Reviver Now In 2023 – The After Shark Tank Update

The deal with Lori closed successfully. The “rich kids” comment had sparked some discussion online but they paid it no heed. Eventually, the brothers began to appear on QVC promoting their wipes. They even introduced a line of wipes for dogs and cats.

Fast forward to 2016 and it was announced that they had partnered up with MirMir, a mobile Photo Booth business that had also appeared on Shark Tank previously. That’s not all, they also invested in a restaurant called Malibu Poke, which is located in Dallas. They even opened up a second location in Austin a year later.

Their Twitter account (which only has two followers) hasn’t been updated since May 2022

As of 2023, the wipes business is gone. At the very least, their website has been taken down. From what we could find online, Ben and Lori had exited the company back in 2019. However, they continued to sell wipes up until 2022. In May, they even posted on Twitter that “a new launch is coming soon”. Despite that, nothing ever came up on their website in terms of new products and by September 2022, their website had gone dark. If you try to go to their site now, you’ll be greeted with a “We’ll be back soon! Reviver Wipes is currently unavailable” message.

The Revivers Wipes website is no longer online as of [year] – this is the message that you’re greeted with if you go on their site

Will they actually be coming back? Are they revamping the site or are they gone forever? It’s hard to tell. Their social media accounts haven’t been updated since the “new launch coming soon” message either so it doesn’t look too promising for sure.

What are the brothers up to nowadays? According to LinkedIn, Ben founded a new company called VENN in January 2019, shortly after leaving Reviver. Based in Dallas, it was a 24/7 network for streaming, entertaining, gaming, and e-sports audiences. In the end, it lasted for two years until October 2021. Since then, Ben has been focusing on his Dallas Poke business.

As for his brother Eric, he has been a partner at JK Chocolate, a Dallas-based dessert company, since January 2022. Not only that, but he also has Malibu Poke and MirMir listed as his other places of employment. What’s interesting, though, is that Reviver is also listed as “active” on hisLinkedIn page, so it’s probably best to take everything on his profile with a grain of salt.

The brothers’ Dallas-based poke business seems to be doing quite well – it currently has a 4.2-star rating on Google out of 156 reviews

In any case, we probably won’t be seeing the siblings on the show anytime soon. We’re not exactly sure what’s going on with Reviver Wipes but it doesn’t look like they’ll be rejoining the company anytime soon. At least, that’s what it looks like from their LinkedIn pages.

tphomer69@live.co.uk'
Steve Dawson
Steve Dawson has been writing online for two years. He has an interest in anything that interests other people and a thirst for knowledge about all subjects. He lives with a grumpy cat called Bubbles and an addiction to chocolate.
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