What Really Came Of InstaFire From Shark Tank?

InstaFire lit up our screens on Season 7, Episode 19 of "Shark Tank." Quite literally. In an unforgettable pitch that aired in February 2016, entrepreneurs Konel Banner and Frank Weston marched onto the stage, holding a flaming tray. Starting a fire on "Shark Tank" is definitely one way to get a product onto the sharks' radar.

Banner and Weston describe themselves as outdoor enthusiasts who wanted to make starting a fire easy for anyone and make the wilderness more accessible. According to InstaFire's website, the idea was sparked by the 1976 collapse of the Teton Dam in Idaho, a disaster in which Banner's sister and her family were missing for a week.

Thankfully, they were found alive and well, but the incident piqued Banner's curiosity. How would someone boil water and cook food when they had nothing? Many years later, in 2007, Banner saw a man lighting a fire from a rock. Inspired, he and his business partner Weston set to work, eventually creating InstaFire, a patented blend of volcanic rock and other substances. It could be lit using just a match or magnesium striker and would burn on its own, or it could be used to light wood or charcoal. It worked every time, and the pair began selling it to camping enthusiasts across the U.S.

What happened to InstaFire on Shark Tank?

InstaFire was already selling well when Konel Banner and Frank Weston went on "Shark Tank." Their ask was $300,000 in exchange for 10% of their business. Their pitch ignited the sharks' interest as the entrepreneurs showed how easy it is to light a fire, how InstaFire can burn on water, and how the fire starter can even be used to extinguish a fire.

Shark Robert Herjavec brought up concerns about the value of the company as the founders admitted they hadn't marketed the product much until a little over a year before appearing on the show. The other sharks, however, were interested. Kevin O'Leary offered $300,000 for 33.3% of the business. Daymond John offered $300,000 for 20% and 33.3% of online sales.

Sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner stepped in with a joint offer of $300,000 for 33.3% of the business. Greiner would bring her experience in retail, while Cuban would help with online sales. After some negotiation, Banner and Weston accepted a partnership with Cuban and Greiner for $300,000 and 30% of the business.

InstaFire after Shark Tank

The sharks' investment was like rocket fuel to InstaFire. The year before they went on "Shark Tank," they did over $370,000 in sales. Within three years of appearing on the show, they made $7.5 million in retail sales and were bringing their product to 7,000 retail stores across the U.S., including Target, Home Depot, and 2,800 Walmarts.

Konel Banner and Frank Weston expanded their product offering, too. From having two products when they appeared on Shark Tank, they now have at least 31, including fire rope and an ember oven. Since appearing on "Shark Tank," more media recognition has followed, and InstaFire has been featured on "Good Morning America" and in Wired Magazine and Popular Mechanics. Shark Lori Greiner features InstaFire on her website and is clearly proud of its success.

Is InstaFire still in business?

InstaFire is still very much in business. As of August 2021, their annual revenue stood at an estimated $4 million, so their success after "Shark Tank" has continued. InstaFire was named Best Fire Starter by Wired Magazine in 2017 and 2020; the company currently has an affiliate program as well.

InstaFire's products have been well-received by consumers, with numerous glowing testimonials on the company's website. Their flagship product, the granulated fire starter, has 4.6/5 stars on Amazon, with reviewers loving how easy it is to use and how environmentally friendly it is. This is a huge plus for InstaFire: the fire starters contain no harmful chemicals, and the ash left over becomes a natural fertilizer. Reviewers have also confirmed InstaFire's claims that it works in harsh conditions like rain, snow, and strong winds. Basically, InstaFire does what it says on the packaging, and evidently, consumers love it.

What's next for Konel Banner and Frank Weston?

Konel Banner is listed as the CEO of InstaFire on LinkedIn, and Frank Weston is listed as the President and COO. They have held these positions, according to LinkedIn, since 2008. InstaFire is clearly a long-term commitment for the founders who are both still with the company. Banner's Facebook page indicates his excitement for the new products InstaFire is producing, with a post in 2022 about a portable self-powered heater that can be used indoors and outdoors.

InstaFire also has a YouTube channel, where videos about new products and how to use the items are posted. One of their latest videos features hurricane-proof safety matches that are water- and wind-resistant. Banner and Weston's early inspiration to help those in dangerous situations still seems to be informing their product development. We can look forward to more exciting developments from the pair and their wildly successful company. As their website says, they're just getting started.