When Kristina Guerrero pitched the Shark Tank last year, her company had a mere $7,000 in annual sales. But she had an attractive dog, Odin, and a great idea: a pet product that’s not a treat, but a complete meal. Guerrero explained she came up with the idea while hiking with her dogs and ran out of food.
Her Shark Tank pitch was bolstered by her clever marketing idea: to sell the product in outdoor adventure shops, to attract hikers and campers. As Business2Community reported, this distinction was important, especially after receiving push back on the small size of her revenue. Kevin O’Leary had a particularly graphic criticism.
“Seven thousand dollars, in the multi-billion dollar pet food market, is turbo-poop-on-a-stick.”
Eventually, Guerrero was met with the faith of one shark, Daymond John, who invested $100,000 for 35 percent. John had offered 40 percent; Guerrero countered at 30 percent; the two met in the middle.
Shark Tank viewers will hear an update tonight on TurboPup and will discover the product may be closer than they think if they want to run out and buy it. According to the company’s Instagram page, TurboPup is now on shelves in a major pet retail chain across the country. That major retailer is in addition to the numerous retail stores that were already carrying TurboPup.
TurboPup entered into a manufacturing and distribution deal with “Fetch… for pets!” that was announced in March, 2015, less than two months after Guerrero’s Shark Tank episode aired.
Guerrero appeared on last year’s Shark Tank episode featuring entrepreneurs who are also military veterans. Tonight’s episode has the same theme. My Champlain Valley reported that Guerrero, who was living in Oregon when she pitched Shark Tank, is now based in Vermont. The report featured a local ABC news update on her company.
Guerrero told ABC she is happy about TurboPup’s success, but has made a deliberate effort to remain grounded.
“It’s always really beneficial for me to remain in the moment. That’s what I’ve learned as an entrepreneur. In this moment I am through the roof, just so excited.”
Her original Shark Tank appearance was something to remember, however. The sharks were not shy about about criticizing her business model, especially since her sales were so low at the time. But after Shark Tank, things moved quickly.
“You put all of this work and sweat-equity into your business and then someone basically tears it apart.
“It was almost like a dream sequence. One day I get a phone call from [Daymond John], and the next I’m in the Empire State Building for a business meeting.”
It turns out, the word “turbo” has special meaning for Guerrero.
As the company’s website reveals, Kristina is a 2002 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy. A 12-year veteran of the armed forces, she is a turbo distinguished graduate of U.S. Air Force pilot training. She flew C-130 TurboPROPS. She’s received two Combat Air Medals for missions that supported Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Horn of Africa. Five percent of TurboPup’s profits are donated.
As Inc. reported, Daymond John recently used TurboPup as an example of how smart marketing can greatly increase a product’s success.
“Marketing technology has gotten to the point where you can target women aged 30 to 40 living in Detroit, who like dogs. Once you have that proof of concept, you can create another strategy for the best way to scale, and it can happen at light speed.”
Tonight’s episode of Shark Tank featuring military veteran entrepreneurs airs at 9 p.m. on ABC.
[Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images]