‘Shark Tank’ attracts local entrepreneursPublished 8:19pm Tuesday, July 22, 2014
Two Washington residents recently snagged a U.S. patent on a unique invention. The next step is to get it made. That’s why Scott Campbell is heading to auditions Thursday — to try the idea out on “Shark Tank” screeners.
The ABC reality show’s producers are looking for the next biggest and brightest business ideas and, with U.S. Cellular as partners, are hosting casting calls across the nation. Thursday’s audition will be held in Greenville at The Martinsborough, an event space in the uptown area.
Campbell plans to pitch the “Wine Egg” or “Weg,” a solution for serving box wines out of a container besides a box. Campbell saw a high-end polymer and chrome version on a visit to Belgium and began looking into its development in the U.S. He and a friend, Bill Clark, applied for and received a patent for the “Weg” in April.
“Our patent is a design patent. It is based on a European product that we saw, but designed to be applicable to the American market,” Campbell said.
Box wines have steadily risen in popularity over the past several years, and Campbell and Clark are aware of their demand.
“More and more vineyards are going to box wines for these reasons: it stays fresher in bags so it tastes better; shipping costs are significantly less; and corresponding sale price can be less,” Campbell said.
The only problem is that pouring a glass of wine out of box might tend to lessen the experience, and Campbell has seen firsthand how box wines would only benefit from better presentation. Enter the “Weg.” Shaped like an egg, and cradled on a stand, the “Weg” holds box-wine bladders for serving wine in a more sophisticated style.
Campbell and Clark’s “Weg” could be considered a cousin to the European version — there are differences between the two models: the “Weg” is plastic; has an elastomeric opening that will fit a variety of wine bladder nozzles; it’s taller, as European wine glasses tend to have shorter stems; and, once produced, it will sell for much less than the $200 price tag overseas.
However, the first North American “Weg” will cost about $80,000 to produce, as that will include the price of the mold. That’s why Campbell and Clark, if they make it through the first round of “Shark Tank” auditions, will be asking for a one-time dollar amount and a percentage of royalties on sold units in exchange for the license on the patent for the next 14 years.
“We don’t want to sell it. We want to license our patent to an investor who wants to manufacture it,” Campbell said. “It would be great if they could do that here in Washington, or Beaufort County.”
It’s up to “Shark Tank” staff that will vet Campbell’s 20-page application and one-minute “Weg” spiel. The ultimate goal would be to snag a business deal that would get the “Weg” made in the U.S.A.