Roominate was a toy company that pitched its business on Season 6 of the popular television show “Shark Tank.” The company’s primary product line revolved around STEM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) toys specifically designed for girls.
The Roominate toy set features customizable building pieces and electronic components that can be assembled in countless ways to create structures like dollhouses, amusement parks, and more.
The goal is to stimulate creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. Including components such as working circuits, light bulbs, and motors promotes an understanding of fundamental engineering and electronics concepts.
Children can create bedrooms, living rooms, and other areas of a house or building and add functioning features like lights, fans, and elevators.
What sets Roominate apart is its ambition to combat gender stereotypes in the toy industry and contribute to closing the gender gap in STEM fields. Traditionally, construction and engineering toys have been marketed primarily toward boys.
Roominate, however, was developed by female engineers from Stanford University to make these concepts appealing and accessible to girls, fostering an early interest in STEM.
Roominate is excellent for parents and educators seeking to inspire young girls to engage with STEM concepts and careers. The product makes learning engaging and fun by combining play with educational content.
Roominate allows children to develop their spatial and motor skills, as well as their creativity and innovation through play. The Roominate platform allows children to see their creative visions come to life while learning science and engineering principles, making it a valuable investment.
|Entrepreneur||Alice Brooks And Bettina Chen|
|Product||Toys For Girls That Teach STEM|
|Investment Asking For||$500,000 For 5% equity in Roominate|
|Final Deal||$500,000 For 5% equity in Roominate|
|Shark||Mark Cuban And Lori Greiner|
|Roominate Episode||Season 6, Episode 2|
|Roominate Business Status||Acquired, In Business|
|Roominate Website||Visit Website|
|Roominate Net Worth||Unavailable|
What Is Roominate?
Roominate is an educational toy brand that inspires girls and encourages their interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). Created by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, two engineers from Stanford University, the toys allow children to build structures, design interiors, and wire up electrical circuits.
The Roominate toy sets are customizable and can create various structures, from houses to helicopters. They promote hands-on problem-solving skills, creativity, confidence, and spatial skills.
Although Roominate is specially targeted towards girls to help bridge the gender gap in STEM fields, the toys are suitable for all children. Roominate is a toy line that inspires girls and young women to develop an interest in engineering and technology.
Here’s a more detailed look at Roominate:
- Engaging and Interactive: Roominate toys are not just static objects – they involve building, wiring, designing, and, most importantly, creativity. The girls can construct buildings, wire circuits to make spinning fans, blinking lights, and more.
- Educational: Roominate is designed to teach important STEM skills. It encourages spatial skills, hands-on problem-solving skills, self-confidence, and creativity. By using Roominate, children can learn about architectural design, electricity, and mechanical structures.
- Customizable: One of the most significant aspects of Roominate is that it is highly customizable. The toy sets come with pieces that can be used to create various structures. Girls can build and design anything from a dream house to a helicopter.
- Empowering: Roominate aims to empower girls by giving them the tools to build and create. By making their creations come to life with circuits, they learn they can build anything they imagine.
- Inclusive: While Roominate targets girls because of the identified gap in STEM fields, the toys are suitable for all children. They are gender-neutral and can be enjoyed by anyone interested in building and creating.
Roominate was featured on “Shark Tank” in 2014, where the founders secured a deal with Mark Cuban. Since then, it has grown in popularity as an educational toy that breaks down gender stereotypes in the world of STEM.
Who Is The Founder Of Roominate?
Roominate was founded by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, both graduates of Stanford University with backgrounds in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering, respectively.
Alice Brooks was inspired by her father, a roboticist, from an early age. She always wanted to follow in his footsteps and remembers asking for a Barbie doll as a child, only to be gifted a saw by her father instead to encourage her to make her toys.
On the other hand, Bettina Chen was often the only woman in her engineering classes at Caltech before joining Stanford for her master’s degree.
Both women noticed the gender disparity in their engineering classes and realized that it stemmed from the kind of toys and encouragement girls receive at a young age.
The idea for Roominate came to life when Alice and Bettina met in their master’s engineering program at Stanford.
They remembered their childhood experiences, often being the only girls interested in science and engineering, and wanted to create something to inspire and encourage younger girls.
This is how Roominate was conceived – a toy that combines creativity, building, circuits, and storytelling, primarily targeting girls to give them confidence and inspire them to take an interest in the STEM fields.
Before appearing on Shark Tank, Roominate was already a successful venture. Brooks and Chen launched their company through a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, which surpassed their goal of $25,000 by raising $85,000.
Roominate kits were sold online and appeared in specialty toy stores. By the time they appeared on Shark Tank in 2014, they had made $1.7 million in sales.
The company’s appearance on Shark Tank further boosted its visibility and popularity, paving the way for even greater success.
How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of Roominate?
Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen pitched Roominate on Season 6 of Shark Tank in 2014. They walked onto the stage with confidence and began their presentation by explaining the gender disparity problem in the engineering and technology fields.
They discussed that less than 15% of women were entering these industries, which they linked back to the types of toys that young girls typically play with.
To illustrate their concept, they introduced Roominate, a toy designed to engage girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through play.
The pair explained how their toy provided an interactive, hands-on experience where children could design and build structures and wire up electricity and circuits, fostering creativity and teaching basic engineering principles.
They demonstrated the product’s capabilities by showing a dollhouse with working lights, a spinning fan, and an operational elevator, all built with Roominate pieces.
Brooks and Chen sought $500,000 for a 5% stake in their company, valuing Roominate at $10 million. This was based on their previous year’s sales, which totaled $1.7 million, and their projected sales of $4 million for the coming year.
The Sharks were generally impressed with the product, appreciating its educational value and the mission to inspire girls to pursue STEM fields.
Mark Cuban, in particular, was excited about the electronic and programming components, seeing the potential for expansion into coding. However, some Sharks initially hesitated about the valuation, considering it high.
After some negotiation, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner teamed up to offer $500,000 for a 5% equity stake, but they also wanted a 2.5% royalty on net sales until they recouped $1 million.
Brooks and Chen accepted this deal, excited about the opportunities that both Cuban, with his tech industry expertise, and Greiner, with her extensive retail connections, could bring to their business.
Thus, the Roominate pitch was successful, securing an investment that provided financial support and offered the potential for significant strategic advantages due to the backgrounds of the investing Sharks.
Final Deal: Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner agree to invest $500,000 for 5% equity in Roominate.
What Happened To Roominate After Shark Tank?
Following their successful pitch on Shark Tank and the subsequent investment from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, Roominate experienced substantial growth. The increased visibility from the television show, combined with their new partners’ strategic connections, helped propel the business forward.
The products were picked up by large retail stores like Walmart and Toys “R” Us, significantly expanding Roominate’s reach. They were also sold on Amazon and QVC, taking advantage of Lori Greiner’s extensive presence on that platform.
This led to a considerable increase in sales, and the company expanded its product line with various new kits, staying true to its STEM-for-girls ethos.
The founders continued to focus on developing products that would inspire girls and help to narrow the gender gap in the STEM fields. They worked on integrating more technology into the toys, which helped keep the products fresh.
Roominate was acquired by PlayMonster, a toy and game company, in 2017. The acquisition was likely a strategic move to help Roominate scale its operations and reach even more children.
PlayMonster has a robust portfolio of toys and games and is known for its fun and educational offerings, making it a good fit for Roominate. Following the acquisition, the Roominate product line continued under the PlayMonster brand.
Roominate Shark Tank Update
After appearing on Shark Tank, Roominate experienced significant growth and success. The founders, Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, secured a $500,000 investment from Sharks Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner for a 5% equity stake in the company.
This influx of capital and the support from their new partners allowed Roominate to expand its focus and offerings. The pitch’s success led to Roominate’s placement in 800 Walmart stores and partnerships with other major retailers like Toys ‘R Us, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart.
This wider distribution helped boost their sales, which increased from $1.7 million in 2014 to over $4.5 million in 2016. The company introduced new products like the “RPower” technology and developed the Roominate app to enhance young users’ educational experience.
The product line expanded beyond the original DIY dollhouse kit, incorporating programming education and other STEM-focused toys.
Roominate continued to thrive, offering compatible sets for girls and boys alike, encouraging creativity, and promoting interest in STEM fields.
In 2017, Roominate was acquired by PlayMonster, a move that likely helped accelerate the company’s growth and expansion.
Roominate continued to be offered under the PlayMonster brand, retaining its mission of inspiring young minds and breaking stereotypes in media and toys. Roominate’s revenues reached $5 million, and the company had a valuation of $10 million.
The success of Roominate can be attributed to its approach, positive reviews, and recognition for encouraging creativity and learning in young girls, making it a valuable and impactful addition to the toy industry.
Is Roominate Still In Business?
Yes, Roominate is still in business. The company, founded by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen, continues to develop and offer its unique line of STEM-focused building toys for girls.
Roominate’s products combine building, creativity, storytelling, and circuitry to inspire kids to learn while having fun. The toys promote interest in STEM fields, particularly among young girls, and encourage them to explore engineering and technology through play.
After their appearance on Shark Tank in 2014, Roominate experienced substantial growth and success. They secured a $500,000 investment from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, facilitating their expansion into programming education and introducing new products like “rPower.”
The company’s sales increased from $1.7 million in 2014 to over $4.5 million in 2016. In 2015, Roominate was acquired by PlayMonster, a strategic move that likely helped them thrive and expand their reach through partnerships with retailers like Walmart.
Despite the acquisition, Roominate’s mission and products remained intact under the PlayMonster brand. As of 2023, Roominate toys are still being sold and continue to be successful.
Alice Brooks, one of the founders, remains involved in the company, while Bettina Chen works at Apple in the Watch Accessories Engineering Program Manager role.
In summary, Roominate is still in business, and its commitment to promoting STEM education and inspiring creativity in young children, especially girls, continues to drive its success.
What Is the Net Worth of Roominate?
According to our research, the net worth of Roominate is unavailable, as it was acquired by PlayMonster in 2015. The valuation of Roominate was $10 million after securing an investment from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner on Shark Tank.
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