The season 6 premiere of Shark Tank features a presentation by Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen of their line of building toys for girls, Roominate.
They created Roominate to encourage young females to get involved in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics).
Two Stanford Graduates with Master’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering look forward to when Barbie dolls and dress-up kits don’t occupy children’s minds.
Alice built a Barbie doll when her father gave her a small saw as a child. Her father had given her the saw because she had requested one! Bettina enjoyed building Legos.
These women are not sure whether their childhood toys influenced their future decisions, but they became engineers and aim to set an example for other young females with Roominate.
Roominate is a do-it-yourself dollhouse construction kit.
A dollhouse generator lets girls design a fully functional house with working lights, fans, and elevators.
During their market study, Alice and Bettina found that educational toys are more frequently marketed to guys.
Instead of changing the traditional girl’s dollhouse, they wired it up to match a tech-savvy generation.
Roominate has received multiple accolades, including the Parents’ Choice Gold Award, the Academics’ Choice Brain Toy Award, the Dr. Toy 100 Best Toy Award, and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award in 2013.
The Roominate women are probably searching for a Shark to assist them with distribution and manufacturing for large box stores.
Do they have a chance to develop a relationship with one of the Sharks?
What Is Roominate?
Roominate is a toy with a construction set aimed at young girls aged six to ten.
The Roominate sets include everything your child needs to build intricate working structures with electrical components, such as spinning windmills, moving elevators, lights, and fans.
It teaches building skills and even basic electrical circuitry through storytelling, making the content more enjoyable and engaging.
A playset designed to encourage older women to pursue science, engineering, and technology careers. Essentially, the goal is to construct the dollhouse rather than purchase it ready-made.
|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|
|Episode||Season 6 Episode 2|
|Business Status||Acquired, In Business|
Who Is The Founder Of Roominate?
Roominate is manufactured by the company Maykah Inc., which Alice Brooks and Bettina Chen founded. The two met while studying at Stanford University for a master’s degree in engineering.
Roominate Before Shark Tank
Roominate is an innovative and brilliant construction set that brings together building, creativity, storytelling, and even circuitry into a toy that delights children and inspires them to learn.
They conceived the idea for a unique and interactive game when they noticed that only 15% of women entering college wanted to major in male-dominated fields, especially engineering and science.
The organization’s founders met as master’s degree students at Stanford University, one of the world’s most prestigious research institutions.
They discovered that only 15% of women enroll in college to major in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics) field.
They believed this was partly caused by the toys young girls play in their bedrooms.
They believed that if females were encouraged to build Barbie houses or other comparable toys in a fun and interactive way, it would serve as a catalyst for them to follow careers in the same field later in their lives.
They then agreed to focus on inspiring the next generation of inventors.
Alice recalls how her father once gave her a saw as a gift for Christmas when she asked for a Barbie house, adding, “Build your own dream house.” Her father’s comment sparked a lifelong interest in engineering.
Their initial success in raising cash for their Roominate concept led the two entrepreneurs to start production immediately.
The company even secured a high-profile clientele, with their product being sold at Toys R Us and Radioshack.
Within 18 months of launching production, these early successes caused over $1.8 million in sales.
How Was The Shark Tank Pitch Of Roominate?
Alice and Bettina reached the Shark Tank show seeking an investment of $500K in exchange for a 5% stake in Roominate. They appear to have an instant connection with Barbara and Lori.
They describe how they do business and distribute shark-themed Roominate toys.
Barbara asks Alice what makes this toy different from other construction toys, to which Alice replies it encourages unstructured play.
Roominate expects to generate $5 million in revenue this year. Additionally, they plan to visit major retailers, including Toys R Us, Radio Shack, and others.
However, although it was developed for girls, they show that boys also play with it. Seeing their triumph, Mr. Wonderful marvels.
Mark is concerned that they will have to sell through at these merchants. Mr. Wonderful has a similar concern.
Mr. Wonderful eventually becomes dissatisfied with the valuation and leaves.
Barbara decides that the product should be hyper-marketed to females, and she leaves.
Mark offers $500K at a 5% partnership in exchange for Alice and Bettina tutoring his daughters.
Robert believes Mark’s offer is acceptable, and he declines. Lori proposes a partnership with Mark, and Roominate strikes a deal!
Final Deal: Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner agree to invest $500,000 for 5% equity in Roominate.
What Happened To Roominate After Shark Tank?
Mark and Lori’s $500,000 investment has allowed Roominate to expand in many new directions.
From an early purpose of educating children about engineering and electronics, Roominate has expanded its educational tools to include teaching children about programming, owing to Mark Cuban’s expertise.
Roominate’s new “rPower” device serves as a small hub for connecting all the circuits and lights in your set and allowing children to control them using the Roominate app!
The company’s sales have grown from $1.7 million in 2014 to a stunning $4.5 million today.
Roominate’s incredible sales numbers do not include the lucrative contract they signed recently with Walmart to sell the product in 800 stores and online.
Roominate anticipates that the Walmart contract alone will increase sales by millions of dollars.
Bettina Chen and Alice Brooks, the duo entrepreneurs who appeared on Shark Tank, also updated their office after showing up.
Roominate has established its headquarters in Wisconsin, and eight new employees have been hired.
Roominate has won Time Magazine’s Toy of the Year Award and is now well on its way to its goal of inspiring children worldwide, thanks to two dedicated sharks.
Roominate Shark Tank Update
Roominate aired an update segment in episode 706 of season seven. Since partnering with Mark, the company has been distributing goods to over 800 Wal Mart locations.
Alice and Bettina perform a product demo at a Wal-Mart in front of a crowd of adoring children.
They also announce that they are developing a Roominate app. They generate approximately $4.5 million in revenue annually, and their staff has expanded to eight people in a new location.
Patch Products purchased the company for an undisclosed amount in January 2016. The company was rebranded as Playmonster.
Is Roominate Still In Business?
PlayMonster acquired Roominate after its appearance on Shark Tank in December 2015.
Roominate’s Alice Brooks worked with the PlayMonster team to improve Roominate toys.
Roominate has grown and flourished under her leadership, and she enjoys taking part in its development.