Fort, as featured on Season 13 of Shark Tank, is a startup business founded by Conor B. Lewis. The company’s core offering is a magnetic pillow toy that aims to inspire creativity and learning in children. This product is aptly named “The Fort”.
The Fort is a versatile, high-quality play product made from magnet, foam, and a top-grade leather fabric. It’s a toy and a platform that encourages children to develop their cognitive and creative skills by building various structures.
The Fort kit includes 12 foam pieces of different shapes, such as squares, rectangles, triangles, half-moons, and arches. Children can construct diverse creations using these magnetic pieces, including houses, ramps, slides, and more, only limited by their imagination.
The Fort is unique among toys because it promotes creativity and imaginative play. Its magnetic nature not only adds a layer of fun but also introduces children to basic concepts of magnetism, geometry, and spatial awareness in a hands-on, engaging way.
The Fort is designed with utmost consideration for safety and convenience. The product does not include any harmful chemicals, ensuring its suitability for the sensitive nature of children’s health.
The Fort has passed numerous safety tests for heavy elements, torque, tension, impact, and drop. Moreover, The Fort is easy to store and portable, allowing children to enjoy it in various environments.
The product is also waterproof, making cleanup a breeze in case of spills, further enhancing its practicality for parents. The Fort is exclusively available on its official website, getthefort.com, as of the most recent updates.
Given its design and educational benefits, The Fort is an excellent choice for parents looking to provide their children with toys that entertain and contribute to their growth and learning.
|Company Name||The Fort|
|Product / Business||Modular, stackable, wipeable, storable pillow fort system|
|Investment Asking For||$500,000 for 10% equity in The Fort|
|Final Deal||No Deal|
|The Fort Episode||Season 13, Episode 18|
|The Fort Business Status||In Business|
|The Fort Website||Visit Website|
|The Fort Net Worth||$5 Million|
What Is The Fort?
The FORT is a magnetic pillow fort designed to give kids a magical and engaging play experience. It comprises 12 pieces and 5 shapes that balance keeping kids engaged and protecting your couch cushions.
The FORT is designed to be easily built by kids and encourages creative and imaginative play. It is made of wipeable, waterproof fabric that is pet-safe and can be used indoors and outdoors.
The FORT helps kids burn off energy during extreme weather conditions and can be stacked and stored conveniently. With the FORT, you can build anything you want using your creativity. The fabric used is synthetic leather that is soft, waterproof, and pet-friendly.
The foam used is structural and supportive, allowing for safe play. The FORT is made with neodymium magnets that provide a strong connection for building and destroying structures.
The covers of the FORT are removable and replaceable, helping to reduce waste. The safety of children is a top priority, and the FORT has undergone testing to comply with safety standards.
Who Is The Founder Of The Fort?
The Fort, a company that creates magnetic pillow toys, was founded by Conor B. Lewis, a native of St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Lewis has an impressive background, completing his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from Western Kentucky University in 2012.
His design skill was instrumental in shaping Fort’s product’s aesthetic and functional aspects. Before starting the Fort, he had held positions in several companies, including Alton Encore, Dirty Laundry, Simmons Hanly Conroy LLC, and AltonWorks, where he acquired valuable experiences that would later serve him in his entrepreneurial journey.
In April 2020, amidst the global pandemic, Lewis lost his job. Faced with uncertainty about his future, he harnessed his knowledge and creativity to conceive the “Magnetic Pillow Fort.”
This idea was inspired by his understanding of children’s need for engaging, stimulating play and his commitment to nurturing their creativity.
The product merges fun and learning uniquely, enabling children to create various structures using magnetic pillows, enhancing their imaginative capacities.
Before appearing on Shark Tank, Lewis kick-started his venture by launching a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and awareness about his product.
The campaign was a roaring success, amassing a whopping $3,107,079. By August 2021, the company started shipping the product.
Despite initial supply chain issues, Lewis applied his marketing expertise to overcome these challenges and get his business back on track. His resilience and innovative spirit have been key drivers in the Fort’s journey pre-Shark Tank.
How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of The Fort?
Conor Lewis, the founder of the Fort, took to Shark Tank’s 13th season stage with his innovative product, the FORT magnetic pillow fort cushions.
In his pitch, he sought an investment of $500,000 in exchange for 10% equity in The Fort, valuing it at a substantial $5 million.
The inspiration for FORT came to Lewis during parental interaction, where he assisted his daughter in constructing a pillow fort in their living room.
Lewis conceived the concept of velcro-free magnetic cushions specifically for such constructions after observing the cleanup and potential damage to expensive couch cushions.
After successfully raising funds via Kickstarter, he sold $2 million worth of FORT products in just ten hours, demonstrating a clear demand for his novel concept.
However, the pitch to the sharks was not without its challenges. The sharks identified significant issues with the way the business was operating.
For one, the product’s high costs and ongoing shipping problems presented major stumbling blocks, nearly pushing the business to collapse. Moreover, most sharks saw a price of $500 for a single set as prohibitive.
Additionally, because customers hadn’t yet received their Kickstarter orders at the time of the pitch, it was difficult for the sharks to assess the product’s performance and customer satisfaction accurately. This lack of verifiable success metrics and operational issues made the sharks hesitant.
Kevin O’Leary was the first to withdraw his interest, citing numerous business problems.
Mark Cuban echoed his concerns, suggesting that while Lewis would survive the ordeal, his business presented a case study of pitfalls to avoid as an entrepreneur.
Guest shark Emma Grede also decided not to invest, stating that the business was not proven enough.
Lori Greiner followed suit, feeling she had nothing unique to contribute to the company’s growth. The last shark remaining, Robert Herjavec, grappled with his decision, ultimately choosing not to invest.
Despite a promising product and a strong initial performance on Kickstarter, Lewis’ pitch did not result in a deal, leaving FORT without shark backing.
However, it was clear that the company still had potential, with its unique product and a demonstrated market demand.
What Happened To The Fort After Shark Tank?
Following its appearance on Shark Tank, Fort experienced a notable boost in visibility. This widely-viewed platform provided significant free marketing, spotlighting the product’s uniqueness to a global audience.
Despite not securing a deal with any of the sharks, the company took advantage of the attention and began to see an increase in orders.
In fact, after the show, Fort’s sales rate quadrupled. Parents started showing keen interest in the product for their children, seeing it as a fun, creative, and less messy alternative to traditional pillow forts.
However, Fort has continued grappling with supply chain and shipping issues evident during the Shark Tank pitch. The increase in demand led to a backlog of orders on their website, with customers having to wait at least three weeks for their orders to be processed.
Despite these challenges, the company is still actively accepting orders, suggesting a commitment to overcome its operational difficulties. Fort diversified its product range by offering new designs and color combinations to expand its appeal.
The magnetic pillows, initially available in teal and black, were later offered in a wider color palette, including purple, green, light blue, brown, beige, and yellow. This expansion has catered to diverse customer preferences, helping to maintain interest in the product.
The company has also offered accessories like lights, blankets, suede covers, and carrying straps. These accessories, ranging from $15 to $67, have further enhanced the playability and appeal of the Fort product.
Currently, Fort continues to trade successfully, exceeding the expectations of its founder, Conor Lewis. Despite the setbacks and lessons learned from the Shark Tank experience, the company is on a promising trajectory.
However, the products are still exclusively available on the company’s website, with potential future expansion to other online marketplaces potentially being the next step.
The Fort Shark Tank Update
During the Shark Tank pitch, Conor B. Lewis failed to secure a deal with any Sharks. Despite claiming to have sold $2 million in ten hours after the Kickstarter campaign, high production costs and shipping issues posed challenges for the company.
The Sharks saw flaws in the business model, and most deemed the $500 price tag for the product too expensive. However, the exposure on Shark Tank provided Pillow Fort with free marketing and increased its sales fourfold.
Many parents started ordering the product for their children. Although the company faced supply and shipping issues, it continued to take orders and expanded its production with new designs and color combinations.
Pillow Fort is available in various colors and sets of 12 cushions for $499 on its official website. The company also offers accessories such as lights, blankets, suede covers, and carrying straps ranging from $15 to $67.
While there have been some technical issues with backlogged orders on their website, Pillow Fort is still in business and shipping within 3 to 4 weeks of placing an order.
In terms of net worth, as of 2022, Pillow Fort is valued at $5 million based on current valuations considering its investment.
Pillow Fort has shown promising growth and potential for success in its unique niche market. With continued innovation, effective marketing strategies, and a focus on customer satisfaction, the company aims to further establish itself in the industry.
Is The Fort Still In Business?
The Fort is still in business and has been running successfully for over 2 years since its launch in July 2020. Despite the initial challenges faced by the founder, Conor B. Lewis, the company has managed to overcome obstacles and thrive.
The Fort has gained significant recognition and popularity thanks to its appearance on the Shark Tank show, which provided free marketing and showcased the uniqueness of the product.
As a result, the sales rate of The Fort increased fourfold after the show aired. Many parents have been ordering this magnetic pillow toy for their children, indicating a strong demand for it.
Although The Fort is not available on online marketplaces like Amazon, interested customers can purchase it directly from the official website, getthefort.com.
The Fort’s ongoing success suggests that it has the potential to become a major player in its category, and its current valuation is estimated to be around $5 million. The Fort remains an active and thriving startup in the toy industry.
What Is the Net Worth Of The Fort?
According to our research, the net worth of The Fort is estimated to be $5 million. The valuation of The Fort was $5 million when it appeared on Shark Tank.
Also, read about other businesses that appeared on Season 13 of Shark Tank: