What Really Came Of FLATED From Shark Tank?

The founders of FLATED featured their revolutionary inflatable vehicle accessories on "Shark Tank" in March of 2023. CEO Ryan Guay, CMO Ken Hoeve, and CFO Monqiue Keefer once worked together at a paddleboard company that was one of the first to use rigid inflatable technology. Though they were initially laughed at by their competitors, Ryan Guay stated that inflatable paddleboards now have more than 90% of the market share. After noticing a gap in the market for space-saving vehicle attachments — and due to the previous success of inflatable technology with paddleboards — the group decided to create an incredible line of inflatable vehicle accessories suitable for anyone who frequents the outdoors.

These attachments use tough-as-nails drop stitching inside of the inflatable structure to create a product that is rigid when inflated but easily folded up when not in use. These products can turn any car roof into extra storage space, or any truck bed into a contained and comfortable sleeping area, all without taking up extra room in your garage when not in use.

What happened to FLATED on Shark Tank?

With confidence and innovative products, the FLATED founders started off on "Shark Tank" with an aggressive valuation. They asked the Sharks for $350,000 for 5% equity, amounting to a $7 million valuation. After showing off some of their top-performing products, such as the Air-Topper (an inflatable shell that can attach to the top of any truck bed), the Sharks started asking the hard questions to really assess whether FLATED was worth their asking price.

The Sharks questioned the investors valuation which revealed they had only done about $277,000 in sales. Additionally, most of the FLATED owners were working on this business part-time, which was not enough effort for Sharks like Robert Herjavec. Eventually, all of the Sharks backed out except Daymond John. He wasn't fazed and came in with a royalty offer he felt was more appropriate based on the real value of the business.

His offer would satisfy FLATED's initial request of $350,000 and even allow them to keep their equity; but he also asked for an 8% royalty on each unit sold, which would then decrease to 5% in perpetuity once Daymond's initial investment was recouped. Ryan attempted to counter offer but — despite having backed out — multiple Sharks stepped in to suggest that the founders should take the deal, as Daymond could offer them unbeatable expertise in this market and bring their company success. After a quick chat, the group agreed and shook hands with Daymond, sealing the deal.

FLATED after Shark Tank

As with most episodes of "Shark Tank," FLATED got the exposure of a lifetime with over 15 million people tuning in the night the show aired and another five million watching the episode after it aired. We can only imagine the spike in traffic to their website once Daymond and the FLATED crew shook hands. Daymond got straight into business mode, hopping on Twitter right after filming to show his followers some of FLATED's products. He demonstrated the durability of the Air-Topper with a few solid whacks on the side of it and how small the products can get once deflated.

As avid fans of "Shark Tank" are probably aware, not every deal closes after airing, and there's lots of due diligence that both parties need to go through before ink is put to paper. Back in April, Ryan Guay did an interview with Youtuber Joe Pardo, where he asked the FLATED CEO about the status of the deal with Daymond. Ryan couldn't confirm or deny whether or not the deal was set, but he only had great things to say about Daymond and his team. Joe commented that this was pretty normal and some deals can take up to a year to go through.

Is FLATED still in business?

We imagine FLATED is still doing alright because their website is still active and their following across social media is alive and well. Comments on their posts range from questions about how the product works, how to prevent theft of the topper, and incredibly positive feedback. Reviews on REI are few in number but overwhelmingly positive with mostly five-star reviews rolling in.

The best review they've gotten so far has to be an Instagram direct message they received which was then posted to their profile back in June. The message starts off, "Oh boy, I think the FLATED just deflated my bank account." The customer goes on to imply that the Air-Topper and Air-Deck — the inflatable platform that can make a truck bed into an actual bed — made such a comfortable sleeping space that it may be to blame for their wife's recent pregnancy. We're willing to bet that's a rare bit of feedback for most car accessory companies!

What's next for FLATED?

Currently, the FLATED founders haven't given any word on whether or not their deal with Daymond has gone through yet. For now, we see they're working hard at marketing, giving interviews to continually expand their presence online and reach their target audiences, and making the rounds at trade shows to demonstrate their product. This last one is a good response to a bit of feedback they got from Mark Cuban, which was that the FLATED products are "touch to trust," meaning you have to see it and feel it in order to believe that it will work. This may also mean that it will take a while for the products to achieve "lift off" and see more sales come in.

FLATED's current line of products include the Air-Topper ($1,849), Air-Deck ($549), Air-Carrier ($629, an inflatable roof rack), and Air-Chalet ($349, an inflatable dog kennel). They also sell an electric air pump to make inflating their products that much easier.