Brad Baker shares his virtual pinball machine startup, VPCabs, with the Sharks in Shark Tank episode 722 and invites sharks to play.
Bakker first got into the industry when his brother, who owns several arcades in the Cincinnati area, approached him about designing a virtual pinball game for him.
The company was forced to move to a dedicated manufacturing facility in Fairfield, Ohio when Baker’s garage became overwhelmed with machine orders by the end of the year.
Virtual Pinball Cabinets (VPcabs) are cabinets that have the appearance of vintage pinball machines but employ high-definition LED screens to simulate the action of a pinball game electronically.
There is one major advantage to each machine, namely the huge selection of games, which can include brand-new releases and reproductions of vintage pinball games. These machines require little to no maintenance due to their absence of moving parts.
The prices of the machines range from $3495 to $7995. Over 20 dealers spread out across 12 states distribute their products.
The company’s game was named best holiday game of the year in the 2014 Game Informer Holiday Buyers Guide.
Baker is probably looking for Shark support to expand the market penetration of his company and increase production. What are the chances of a Shark joining this organization?
What Is VPcabs?
VPCabs Virtual Pinball Machine is a unique pinball machine that offers a variety of pinball games in a single machine. The machines used to produce pinball games are retrofitted and come in various types.
There are three that stand out as noteworthy: The Vertigo, The Wizard, and The Classic. The game is constructed using plywood, graphic cards, and monitors.
A virtual version of pinball is a new twist on a classic arcade game. The physical surface of the machine has been replaced by a high-definition digital display, which allows the machine to play innumerable games, including rare and obscure titles.
The playing experience resembles a classic pinball machine, complete with knocking, clicking, and shaking as well as visual distractions, such as the ball, bumpers, and flippers.
You may even nudge the ball by shoving the mechanism. They’re so lifelike that you’ll forget you’re playing on a computer.
Virtual pinball machines are available from VPCabs in four different versions. Unlike a table, the Vertigo cabinet has a stand-up display, so the unit is even more space-saving.
A pinball machine that also comes with a trackball, arcade buttons, and a joystick. The Classic looks like a normal pinball machine.
There are over 60 games in the Pinball FX2 library. The system has a powerful sound system and a 40-inch monitor. Wizard is among the most advanced virtual pinball machines available today.
The realism of the virtual machine is enhanced with a cutting-edge tactile feedback system. All of the features of the larger models are available in the Mini but are approximately two-thirds the size. Additionally, VPCabs can custom design a machine to meet your exact specifications.
The footprint and floor space required for establishing an arcade or company to offer a diverse selection of games is significantly decreased by using a virtual machine. Pinball machines are also popular in man caves and games rooms at home.
|Product||Virtual Pinball Machines|
|Investment Asking For||$200,000 for 10% equity in VPCabs|
|Final Deal||$200,000 for 25% equity in VPCabs|
|Episode||Season 7 Episode 28|
|Business Status||In Business|
Who Is The Founder Of VPcabs?
Brad Baker of Cincinnati, Ohio, created VPCabs Virtual Pinball. Baker has been self-employed for the majority of his adult life.
VPCabs was a logical extension of this experience. Brad demonstrated his leadership skills at the business, which led to its expansion. He continues to serve as CEO of VPCabs.
After fifteen years in the audio/video industry, Baker’s brother asked for his assistance. A pinball machine in his large arcade had broken down. He was the owner of the arcade.
Brad was tasked with digitizing the machine after his brother challenged him. They developed a prototype of the VPcab after spending time trying to figure out the practicalities.
Brad didn’t consider it a company until he began receiving requests for an increasing number of computers. Would the Sharks be interested in participating as well?
VPcabs Before Shark Tank
Baker’s sibling drove him unwittingly toward entrepreneurship. An old pinball machine was converted to run virtual games by Baker after his brother, who ran an arcade business, asked him.
Baker installed the game successfully and received numerous further orders from local business owners. He was forced to relocate when he could not fulfill all of the orders from his garage.
To summarize, the concept for this business was pure genius. Only a single investment is required for the board and the electronic components of the virtual pinball machines.
After the board and electronic components are installed, the purchaser has access to hundreds of pinball games.
This created an exciting opportunity for the business.
In Baker’s case, he profited comfortably from 50% on the pinballs he sold, but he was confident that he could become even more successful with the assistance of a Shark.
How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of VPcabs?
Brad appeared on the Shark Tank hoping for a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 10 percent stake in VPCabs, and the Sharks agreed to do so.
The Sharks are eager to get their hands on some VP Cabs games. They’ve all come up to try their hand at the games.
Mark Cuban has a difficult time separating himself from his business. The Sharks have gotten their hooks in.
Robert Herjavec is interested in learning more about sales. Brad adds that the company began with selling eight computers following the construction of a prototype.
Thanks to these eight machines, Brad could keep his house from foreclosure.
He sold 200 units over the following 18 months, resulting in an income of $750,000. The devices have a starting price of $3,000 and can go up to $9,500.
He charges $8,000 for his most popular model. The profit margin of his business is around 50%, but his profitability is below average. It resulted in a net profit of $12,000.
In addition to “old folks like me who appreciate pinball,” Robert Herjavec does not feel that there is a market for his product.
Lori Greiner concurs with this statement. She believes it is a one-of-a-kind concept that will not be scalable. She is out.
Robert claims that he does not “share your vision” for gaining entry into Chuck E. Cheeses and other major platforms. He’s no longer here.
Mark Cuban believes Brad doesn’t have control over the software that operates his games poses a challenge.
He is no longer in the game since he does not believe he offers enough originality to the table.
There are just two people left: Daymond John and Kevin O’Leary. Daymond is intrigued by the idea.
The machines might be manufactured by his company, Craigs, while Brad is in charge of marketing and distribution.
Daymond approaches him with an offer of $200,000 in exchange for a 30 percent stake. Brad responds by asking if Daymond would be interested in a 20 percent share.
Daymond mulls over his response and counters it with 25 percent while he does so. Brad steps out of the Tank smiling after closing the Shark deal.
Final Deal: Daymond John agreed to invest $200,000 for 25% equity in VPCabs.
What Happened To VPcabs After Shark Tank?
VPcabs has increased the number of exhibitions and events they regularly attend and participate in since they appeared on Shark Tank.
The Pinball Arcade is likely to be available in the future through Steam. VPcabs donated a Back to the Future pinball machine to a charity event held at Wizard World Chicago.
In addition to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which studies Parkinson’s disease, the fundraiser benefited the Parkinson’s Association.
They are on Facebook, and you can also purchase pinball machines for yourself through their website.
VPcabs Shark Tank Update
Brad pursued expanding his business to more trade shows and ComicCons across the country after his appearance on Shark Tank, and he has succeeded.
He made the right decision when he partnered with Wizard World Comic Con and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to create a custom Back to the Future game and auction it off.
This machine, displayed in the lobby, was signed by several cast members. VP Cabs obtained valuable marketing and exposure at the high price of $7,500 after competing with 61 bidders.
Daymond John manipulated the Shark Tank situation in his favor with this investment.
The deal with this company ranked among Daymond’s top five deals while appearing on the show in June of 2017. After making an appearance on Shark Tank in June 2017, sales broke $1 million within a year.
The Better Desk can also be purchased on the corporate website. By the end of 2021, the company is estimated to generate sales of about $3-$5 million per year.
Is VPcabs Still In Business?
Baker has expanded his business since appearing on Shark Tank, and in 2017 he moved it from his garage to a storefront in Fairfield, Ohio.
The company now needs more space as a result of its growth. Virtual Pinball announced in June 2018 that it would relocate into a larger building – a space that will include a bar and restaurant – called The Pinball Garage, located in Hamilton, Ohio, an affluent town.
The Bakers claim their company has sold 300 to 500 devices every year after appearing on Shark Tank and agreeing to work with John.