What Really Came Of Boho Camper Vans From Shark Tank?

During a 2018 vacation to Maui with his partner Sarina Gomez, David Sodemann rented a camper van and had a light-bulb moment. Sodemann, who is based in Arizona where camper van rentals didn't exist, wanted to bring this option to the home of the Grand Canyon and partnered with his friend Brett Ellenson to make this dream a reality. The two founded Boho Camper Vans. Their rental company provides customers with decked-out camper vans, which feature a bed, outdoor shower, kitchen area, and much more, making them ideal for planning a glamping trip.

Sodemann explained to Outdoorsy that things moved quickly after Maui. He said, "We got back from our trip inspired, and a few weeks later, we bought our own van. Two months later, we completed the build, and our van hit the road with our first renter the very next day."

Sodemann did not have the funds to start the business and had to use a credit card to buy the first van, which he named Stevie. He then listed it on Outdoorsy, and within a month, Boho Camper Vans had made $2,000.

In March 2020, Boho Camper Vans made it on Season 11, Episode 16 of "Shark Tank." Sodemann and Ellenson asked the Sharks for $300,000 for 10% of the company. The pair invited the Sharks to tour the inside of one of their Boho Camper Vans, and each of them was dazzled by the van's amenities. Would this be enough to secure a deal?

The Sharks clamored for Boho Camper Vans

On "Shark Tank," David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson disclosed that since creating Boho Camper Vans, they had built five vans and sold 12, many of which were being used as homes. He noted that their rentals cost around $200 per night and required a three-night minimum. In addition, the pair explained that it cost $20,000 to create their vans and that it took them eight months on average to recoup those funds.

Another bonus? They had no debt; and 2019, they made $493,000 in sales. Guest shark Rohan Oza asked the pair why they wanted $300,000, and Ellenson said it would be used for manufacturing. Sodemann and Ellenson revealed they were on track to make $1.9 million in 2021. Oza said he wasn't too sure about their financial projections but wanted in. Mark Cuban said he wasn't interested and was out. Kevin O'Leary told Sodemann and Ellenson that he would give them the $300,00 for 33.3%, and they subsequently rejected this offer.

Oza said he would do $300,00 for 25%. Barbara Corcoran interjected and said that she had complete faith in Boho Camper Vans and agreed to the $300,000 for 10% but with stipulations — she would give them $150,000 and provide them with $150,000 of credit. Lori Greiner stepped in and said she would do $300,000 for 20% with a donation to a charity for unhoused individuals. O'Leary returned with another offer, but Sodemann and Ellenson decided to close with Corcoran.

Boho Camper Vans hit a bump on the road

In February 2021, less than a year after their "Shark Tank" episode, David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson returned to the show with an update. On Season 12, Episode 13, Sodemann and Ellenson admitted that the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic had negatively affected Boho Camper Vans rentals. Sodemann said, "We were losing thousands of dollars a day; we weren't sure where the business was going to go."

He also revealed that they donated their rental vans to healthcare workers in the Phoenix area. Luckily, Ellenson explained that rentals picked up again as the pandemic raged on. This resulted in the company partnering up with Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, a dealership in Scottsdale, Arizona. 

Sodemann said their time on "Shark Tank" had led to more sales. He noted that in the months after the episode aired, Boho Camper Vans had made $1.4 million. Moreover, he said they had $1 million in pre-orders.

Corcoran was featured in the update and commended the company for its efforts. She told the pair, "You've doubled your number of employees. You've tripled your production. It gives me every reason to believe that the sky's the limit."

Boho Camper Vans expanded

Boho Camper Vans encourages customers to ditch planning an RV trip and, instead, see the country like a nomad in a camper van. As previously mentioned, the company also sells its vans. It offers custom builds and pre-designed layouts that can be used on various van models. The priciest camper on their site, the Bright Angel, starts at $45,970. Boho Camper Vans does offer financing. Its website also encourages prospective owners to meet with individuals who own a Boho Camper through its Boho Locals feature.

As for rentals, there are several available. A rental can set you back $199 to $250 a night. There is a three-night minimum, and renters have to be 25 years or older. In Phoenix, renters can opt for a Jeep in place of a van. 

When the company first started, it only provided rentals from Phoenix, Arizona. Now, it offers rentals in San Diego, California, through a new Airbnb-style program. Simply put, Boho Camper Van owners can rent out their van on the company's website. Eventually, Boho Camper Vans wants to make this available to the entire country.

Beyond this, the company sells van supplies through its online store. Speaking to the Phoenix Business Journal in July 2023, David Sodemann said, "It's very humbling to see how quickly Boho Camper Vans has grown in a short amount of time."

David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson went on Shark Tank as a joke

"Shark Tank" undoubtedly put Boho Camper Vans on the map. However, in an interview with Insider, David Sodemann and Brett Ellenson revealed that they applied for the show in 2019 as a "joke." Despite this, it has all worked out for Boho Camper Vans. The company was featured on Curbed and The Wall Street Journal in 2020, shortly after its appearance on "Shark Tank." That same year, Boho Camper Vans received a favorable review from RVtravel. Moreover, Boho Camper Vans boasts it has a 5.0 score out of 262 customer reviews.

At the time of this publication, Boho Camper Vans is active on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok, where they post van tours and more. On June 21, 2023, the company celebrated a milestone and commemorated this moment with social media posts. On Instagram, it wrote, "Boho started with our single rental van (Stevie) 5 years ago — TODAY — on the first day of summer. Since then we've completed over 1,200 rental trips!"

As of 2023, Barbara Corcoran is still listed as a partner on the Boho Camper Van's website.