Detroit Native Gets 500% Boost After ‘Shark Tank’ Appearance
Since appearing on the ABC show 'Shark Tank' in February, a Michigan woman has seen a 500 percent increase in her business.
Samantha John, a native of Metro Detroit, is the brains and vision behind a popular children's app called Hopscotch. The app teaches simple computer coding concepts aimed at young or beginning coders in order to teach them the basics of coding. Users can drag and drop blocks of code in order to create games that can be shared within the app and online.
John and her co-founder Jocelyn Leavitt launched the app in 2012. She tells the Detroit Free Press that the company found almost immediate success with 20,000 app downloads in the first week. Thereafter, they've seen about 200,000 active users each month.
Fast forward about eight years to April of 2020 when John and her partner were contacted by a producer with Shark Tank. They were encouraged to submit an audition and in September of 2020, John appeared face-to-face with the entrepreneurs -- or 'Sharks' -- who sometimes support, and oftentimes reject business plans submitted by business hopefuls.
John approached the sharks noting that business followed a subscription model, where some users pay a monthly fee in order to use the app's premium features. In the video below, she says that the business is breaking even but wants to take it to a new level.
"It's not really the right business model for Hopscotch," she said. "We want a little bit more capital so that we can start getting rid of that paywall, letting everyone in for free, and playing the long game."
The initial proposal to the sharks was a $400,000 investment for a 4% stake in the company. After being turned down by four of the five TV sharks, entrepreneur Mark Cuban showed some interest, saying that his kids have used the app and that he's impressed by what the company has accomplished so far.
"I've been a Hopscotch fan forever," he told John. "Just talking to you, I look up to you."
After a bit of negotiating, the Detroit woman wound up making a deal with Cuban, who invested $550,000 for an 11% stake in the company.
John says that since her February appearance on the show, app downloads have grown by 500 percent and calls her partnership with Cuban "amazing."