‘Shark Tank’ is well-known as the long-running reality TV platform for aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their business ideas to industry leaders who’ve made it big in the real world (and who can sniff out a good deal from a mile away, thanks to their shark-like instincts). The budding businessmen (and women) come into the Tank seeking financial backing and pitch their business model to a panel of investors. The goal is to negotiate the best investment deal for their business.
In November 2017, Julia Cheek appeared on ‘Shark Tank’ because she needed additional funding for her startup, EverlyWell. What the company does and did they manage to impress the Sharks and where they are now are questions that we answer for you in the next section.
EverlyWell: Who Are They And What Do They Do?
Harvard Business School alum Julia Cheek founded EverlyWell after she spent thousands of dollars and countless hours trying to get her own medical tests done when she was sick a few years ago. She wanted to come up with a solution that made medical lab testing easier, more convenient, and more affordable for people. And so she started EverlyWell in 2015 – a company that makes DIY lab-testing kits. They currently have an inventory of 32 products, test-at-home kits for a myriad of health concerns ranging from allergy and food sensitivity tests to men’s health and women’s fertility tests to the more popular STD tests. More recently, EverlyWell launched COVID-19 test kits, which ran into some regulatory issues with FDA initially but were ultimately approved in May 2020.
How does it work, you ask? It’s quite simple – you purchase the medical test kit you want and collect the sample (blood, urine, or saliva) in the comfort of your home. Then you send the sample to one of EverlyWell’s many partner labs and wait a maximum of five business days to get your results, which are shared with the customers through an online portal. The idea behind EverlyWells is to save people time and money, and spare them the inconvenience of having to go to various labs for testing. One of the major benefits of EverlyWell is that it allows people without insurance to get tested as well. As it is that most medical insurances don’t cover lab-testing, using EverlyWell ensures that people don’t incur too exorbitant a lab-testing bill.
Julia Cheek, founder and CEO of EverlyWell, entered the ‘Shark Tank’ seeking $1 million in exchange for 5% equity in the company. Most Sharks backed out of making a deal, despite being impressed by Julia’s pitch and business model. They backed out because almost everyone felt that this would be an expensive business to invest in and would possibly require way more money than $1 million. Only one Shark, Lori Greiner, offered a deal to Julia. Lori agreed to a $1 million line of credit at 8% interest and a 5% stake in the company. Julia took the offer and they made it official by hugging it out.
It has been almost three years since Lori’s investment in EverlyWell. Since then, EverlyWell has definitely grown in value and has successfully expanded into retail as well. So far, the products have received mixed reviews from customers (some tests not turning out the most accurate results). But overall, the do-it-at-home lab tests from EverlyWell are doing well in the market.
In April 2019, EverlyWell raised $50 million from several VC firms that include NextGen Venture Partners, Next Coast Ventures, Highland Capital Partners, and Goodwater Capital. This fresh round of funding pushed EverlyWell’s total worth to $55 million (much higher than what it was at the time of Julia’s ‘Shark Tank’ pitch).
From just selling online on Amazon and the EverlyWell website, they have expanded into retail and the test kits are now also available for purchase in stores like Target and CVS. EverlyWell has earned over $65 million in sales since appearing on ‘Shark Tank’ and is clearly on the track to becoming a very successful venture.
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