Camper vans are made for more than just camping. They can also be alternative homes. Most providers sell them at a high price, but Boho Camper Vans is different. Founders, Brett Ellenson and David Sodemann, took their business to Shark Tank and made a deal with Barbara Corcoran. As of 2023, Boho Camper Vans is worth $4 million.
About the Founders
Brett Ellenson and David Sodemann are long-time buddies from Phoenix, Arizona. David got a degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Brett didn’t go to college but worked as an apprentice tradesman.
David also studied landscape architecture with a minor in marketing at Arizona State University. Earlier in his career, he has worked as a manager for companies like ALL IN Media House, Kindred Cannabis, and Giving Tree Dispensary.
Meanwhile, Ellenson started as a welder and machinist at Rolling Thunder LLC. After seven years at the firm, he became a regional director at an alternative machine tool enterprise, Desert EDM.
Establishing the Company
While renting a camper van and having a great time in Maui, Hawaii, David realized that he could do the same thing back home. So, he returned to Phoenix and started working with Brett to build a mobile home.
After two months, the van was complete with running water, storage systems, and other living necessities. When the guys weren’t using it, they made it available for rent. Not long after, it was being rented so often that they couldn’t use it themselves.
So, the two officially launched a business in 2018 by converting used cargo vans. They managed to sell 12 of them and kept five to rent out. In 2019, the company made $493,000 in sales before pitching on Shark Tank.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2020, Brett Ellenson and David Sodemann appeared on season 11 of Shark Tank, asking for $300,000 in exchange for 10% equity. A reasonable valuation given that the company already had decent sales.
All the investors were amazed at the startup’s performance and vision. A Shark fight was already brewing, but the panel got more heated when the entrepreneurs mentioned their predicted sales in the coming years.
Four Sharks went into a bidding battle but some got greedy and wanted too much equity. Real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran met the founders’ initial offer, albeit half of the $300,000 was a line of credit. Kevin O’Leary tried to counter, but they went with Barbara.
After Shark Tank
The deal with Barbara Corcoran closed, and Boho Camper Vans is now regarded as one of the more memorable Shark Tank pitches. Though the rental business struggled during the pandemic in 2020, they received a large bump in orders and expanded into San Diego.
Eight months after Shark Tank, they made $1.4 million in sales. Customers can now buy or rent their vehicles on the Boho.Life website. Rental prices are $200 per night, but purchasing a used van costs about $80,000 to $120,000. The cost of a used van has more than doubled since 2018 due to the current economic climate.
Boho Camper Vans is still doing well, and they mostly receive five-star reviews on Facebook and Google. In 2021 they did $2 million in annual revenue and are on track to beat this number in 2022. The camper van startup is currently valued at $4 million.
The main challenge going forward will be sourcing cheap used vans. These types of businesses are tough to scale without running into quality control issues.