Not even a week after the east coast experienced a severe blizzard, Shark Tank is going to feature a product that’s all about keeping cool: IcyBreeze. The company’s entrepreneurs, Jason Shackelford, Dave Yonce and Andrew Jenkins, all hail from Oklahoma, so they know a little bit about how hot it can get in the summer months. Tulsa World also reports that Jenkins, although he participates in the Shark Tank pitch, has since left the company.
So what is their innovation? It’s a combination cooler and portable air conditioner. Instead of relying on a cold beverage to beat the heat during your tailgating party, you can enjoy your drink and a refreshing breeze. The item features a three-speed fan, is battery-powered, and will hold a charge for several hours. After selling online, the product debuted in 56 Sam’s club stores across seven states back in May, 2015.
At that time, the product sold for a jaw-dropping $361, for a “Flurry” package that included a 12-volt battery and charger. Carter Matt, in its preview for Friday’s Shark Tank, quoted a cheaper price of $249, not including battery. Whatever the consumer price point, it’s sure to be more than your average cooler — and bound to be an issue when IcyBreeze’s founders face the sharks.
Despite the cost, IcyBreeze may attract a significant number of consumers willing to shell out cash for the product. PC Magazine gave the item a positive review in December, 2014, faulting only the cooler’s expense, noise and limited cooling range (air coverage area). The publication praised its design, spacious interior and ability to bring the temperature down by a reported 35 degrees.
The price certainly may not deter some outdoor enthusiasts who spend time in some of America’s hottest regions. Outside wrote in February, 2015, that IcyFreeze may have some utility, even if it seems at first impractical.
“The IcyBreeze may look like it belongs on the back pages of a SkyMall catalog, but the next time you’re planning a trip to Death Valley, think about what you’d pay for those gusts of refreshing goodness.”
It’s also environmentally friendly, using the ice water inside the cooler and no Freon.
As for how the IcyFreeze entrepreneurs will perform on Shark Tank, viewers will have to wait to see. The entrepreneurs were not able to divulge the result of their appearance, although they did tell Tulsa World an interesting tidbit: they were recruited by a Shark Tank producer and had to fill out an 80-page contract before they were even guaranteed a slot on the program.
They also had to tape a 10-minute application video and answer specific questions, which intimidated even Shackelford, who has a history of working in media.
“I spent years in television and a 10-minute video is a documentary. I’m used to doing one-minute or two-minute TV stories for channel 2 back in the day. Made us think, ‘Holy cow! This is getting real.'”
Although all of the IcyBreeze entrepreneurs are fans of Shark Tank, Shackelford pointed out that the program has an entertainment edge that sets it apart from an off-camera venture capital process.
“Looking at it from my background, it’s a lot like ‘American Idol’ where they have people who can really sing but also those who can’t and are atrocious. It’s not about the deal. It’s about the ratings point and making the show entertaining so people will come back and keep watching.”
Shark Tank airs Friday night at 9 pm on ABC.
[Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]