November 1, 2015
'Shark Tank': Windcatcher Gets Deal With Lori Greiner

On Friday's Shark Tank, viewers saw what might have been a first for the program. It wasn't so much the product, the valuation, or the mini "shark fight" that ensued. It was the entrepreneur writing the offers on the palm of his hand with a ballpoint pen. It was enough for Windcatcher's Ryan Frayne to make a personal impression that seemed to fit with the ingenious nature of his invention.

Windcatcher sells an air pad, but it has one key difference: it inflates quickly with a few puffs of air, without the assistance of a pump. The wide opening acts to amplify the air so, according to the official Windcatcher website, inflation is 10 times more rapid. Lori Greiner eventually closed the deal, but not after Frayne fielded offers from some other sharks.

Frayne told Heavy that despite his calm demeanor, he had some nerves when he first went before the sharks.

"Heck yeah! You only get one chance to get your pitch right and if you mess up, millions of people will see it. So yeah, I was nervous at the beginning. During the rest of the show I don't think I was nervous but I honestly don't remember. There was never a dull moment, that's for sure."
Frayne had already run a successful Kickstarter campaign and raised $149,405 from 1,472 backers. On Shark Tank he showed how the air pad could be converted into a seat when folded and secured with straps.

When the sharks asked about Frayne's background, he said he was a long-time inventor with no specific training in engineering. In addition to Windcatcher, he's behind products created by Oceanic Innovation, such the Liquid Loc resealable pouch and Zip It resealable tape.

He came in asking for $200,000 in exchange for eight percent equity. As Business 2 Community recapped, at one point every shark had made an offer of some kind. Frayne rejected Kevin O'Leary's venture debt offer that would have given O'Leary a six percent royalty until $800,000 had been recouped on his $200,000 investment. O'Leary would also receive 3 percent equity.

Robert Herjavec and Mark Cuban both offered equity deals and to fund future purchase orders. Lori Greiner at first proposed a joint deal with guest shark Chris Sacca, but as the panelists began to undercut one another the retail maven offered Frayne 5 percent for $200,000 on her own, which Frayne accepted.

Ryan Frayne 'Shark Tank' Windcatcher
Ryan Frayne kept track of his 'Shark Tank' offers by scribbling on the palm of his hand. (Courtesy Windcatcher/Instagram)

During the program, Sacca tweeted that he was "bleeding" because he'd been "bit" by another shark.

After the show CarterMatt wrote that Greiner was the right partner for Frayne because of her huge cadre of patents -- Frayne has a patent on his Windcatcher technology -- and her ability to turn products into big hits. Greiner's long list of consumer hits includes the Scrub Daddy sponge, Reader Rest eyeglass holder, the Drop Stop and educational app Scholly.

Views of Shark Tank will remember Greiner and fellow shark Daymond John instigated a bit more explosive shark fight last year, when they closed a deal with Scholly early into the entrepreneur's pitch. When the segment concluded O'Leary, Herjavec and Cuban exited the set, although it was unclear at the time if it was also merely a break in taping.

So far this season, viewers have seen all three guest sharks on the program -- Ashton Kutcher, Troy Carter and Chris Sacca -- but they may also appear in future installments. Shark Tank returns next Friday night at 9 p.m. on ABC with five of the six original investors.

[Main photo by Araya Diaz/Getty Images Entertainment]