Photo: Photo courtesy of David Meyer
Ex-Wall Streeter Dave Mayer, an avid Ironman and entrepreneur, will be featured on the season premiere of ABC’s “Shark Tank” Friday.In case you’re not familiar with the show, it’s a reality television series where contestants pitch their business to a panel of wealthy investors (a.k.a. “Sharks”). The panel members are Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John.
The Sharks evaluate the business and negotiate a deal with the contestant on whether or not they would like to invest and how much equity they would like in the company.
The product Mayer is featuring is called “Clean Bottle” — a water bottle that unscrews at both ends for easy cleaning.
“I have always had problems cleaning out the bottles. They would get moldy and gross,” Mayer told Business Insider. “I could never clean it out and I’d have to throw it out and waste money.”
Photo: Clean Bottle
Naturally, he thought of the idea for the product during one of his routine bike rides. “I was out on a ride and I thought ‘Well, if I could just open the bottom of this bottle I could clean it out and let it dry,'” he said. “That’s how it started.”
Mayer, a Stanford graduate and Goldman Sachs M&A veteran, told us that he always wanted to start his own business.
He certainly loves what he does.
“Every time I ride my bike I see someone who has a Clean Bottle. It’s the most amazing thing to see this idea that was in your head and you tried so hard to develop and now it is. It’s the best feeling in the world.”
Since launching nearly 18 months ago, his company has sold more than 250,000 Clean Bottles. The bottles, which are currently patent pending, retail for about $10 a piece in big name sporting stores such as Dick’s Sporting Goods, Big 5 Sporting Goods, Performance Bicycle, 24 Hour Fitness, Sports Chalet, REI and GNC.
What’s more is he donates 10% of the proceeds to eco and cycling friendly charities.
The ‘Bottle Boy’
One of the most interesting things about Mayer’s company is how he markets his product — he wears a Clean Bottle mascot suit affectionately known as “Bottle Boy.”
He debuted “Bottle Boy” at the 2010 Tour de France and again at the 2011 race.
“‘How am I going to promote this thing?’ Then I said, ‘Everyone watches the Tour and there are always crazy guys who run with the riders. Why don’t I run in a giant costume?'” Mayer recounted.
His tactic might be quirky, but it actually worked. Because of his efforts, running up and down hill alongside bikers capturing TV air time, he sold about $70,000 worth of bottles during his first Tour de France trek.
“Products don’t sell themselves. You have to work in person to sell,” he said.
His ‘Biggest’ Fan
“Bottle Boy” even garnered the attention of a big celebrity.During a Warriors NBA basketball games last year, Mayer worked up the nerve to approach legendary pro basketball player and sportscaster Bill Walton to tell him about his product.
Mayer asked Walton, who is also a cyclist, if he watched the Tour and if he remembered seeing a guy dressed up as a giant water bottle running around. Walton remembered and shortly after they started to exchange emails.
“He’s so encouraging and I couldn’t believe it,” Meyer said.
Business Insider has learned that the almost seven-foot tall Walton, who is literally Clean Bottle’s biggest fan, joined Mayer on the set of “Shark Tank” wearing the famous “Bottle Boy” suit. Shark Kevin O’Leary Tweeted a picture of it.
The results of the show won’t be revealed until Friday evening.
Check out the video of Mayer in the “Bottle Boy” costume at the Tour de France.