‘Shark Tank’: Why Billionaire Mark Cuban invested $500,000 in this invention that helps stop snoring

By Sarah Berger

The benefits of getting quality sleep are well-known and touted by moguls from Jeff Bezos to Richard Branson. And on Sunday’s episode of “Shark Tank” on ABC, Mark Cuban — who is interested in health and wellness — was so impressed by an invention to help improve sleep, he invested half a million dollars.

The main purpose of the lightweight, breathable Somnifix mouth strips founder Nicholas Michalak pitched to the Sharks is to reduce or eliminate snoring and mouth-breathing at night. (The hypoallergenic adhesive strips are applied over the mouth and cause you to breathe through your nose, though there is a vent in case mouth-breathing is necessary.)

And that’s no small market: About 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers, which can take a toll on relationships with sleeping partners and also cause a litany of health issues. Plus, the strips are beneficial to non-snorers too, because nose-breathing has benefits like helping to achieve a deeper sleep, according to the company.

Cuban is especially impressed that Michalak and his family invested $1.4 million in the business, including running clinical studies of the product at Harvard Medical School.

“Good for you for doing that,” Cuban says. “Most companies won’t invest that, and they’ll just wing it.”

Michalak — who is seeking $500,000 in exchange for a 10 percent stake — also notes that Somnifix has nine granted patents and intellectual property protection in over 70 countries.

But Barbara Corcoran isn’t sold, and actually sees spending that much money on the product as a negative.

“Nick, I think you spent about twice as much money then you needed to to get this off the ground,” Corcoran says. “That always causes concern for me, in terms of financial judgement.”

She’s out, as are Daymond John (who says it isn’t for him), Lori Greiner (who is unsure of how the market will respond to the product) and Kevin O’Leary (who says the company doesn’t align with the other investments in his portfolio).

That leaves Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban, who asks whether a sports version of the strips is a possibility. Michalak agrees that proper breathing is important for performance and says the company is already working on an adhesive that doesn’t dislodge when it comes into contact with liquid, like sweat. 

There’s just on caveat for Cuban: The product’s marketing materials read, “Your nose is for breathing and your mouth is for eating,” which “sucks,” according to Cuban. With Michalak willing to change the slogan, Cuban offers a non-negotiable $500,000 for 20 percent of the company and the deal is made.

This article was first published by CNBC
https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/22/shark-tank-cuban-invested-six-figures-in-invention-to-stop-snoring.html and is republished with its permission.

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