His 10-minute pitch won the approval of shark Kevin O’Leary, who made him an offer of $100,000 for a 35 percent stake plus $2 for every pair of earplugs sold.
For Mann, however, that deal was too costly for his young business.
“We were only in business for three months by the time we filmed, so it was very early to be giving up that much equity,” said Mann, now 29, who is Vibes’ sole founder. “Additionally, we weren’t fully confident on our price-point at that stage. It was unclear what [impact] $2 royalties would have had.”
Mann walked away from the show empty handed, but he said has “no regrets.”
By taking the bootstrapping approach and working out of his van, his business has grown from an initial investment of $33,000 to $2 million in sales as of 2017.
The show also provided him with necessary feedback and opened his business up to a whole new audience beyond concertgoers, he said.
From employees at Starbucks coffee roasting plants and U.S. military skydivers to car racing fans and children with autism, the Vibes customer base has grown.