There are many variations of smartphone kickstands and wall mounts, but Flipstik is different as it features an adhesive that lets you stick your phone to any material. Founder Akeem Shannon made a deal with Lori Greiner on Shark Tank but it never closed. As of 2022, Flipstik is worth $5 million.
About the Founder
Akeem Shannon is the son of a non-profit founder and business owner from St. Louis, Missouri. He studied chemical engineering at Howard University but lost his scholarship due to depression and partying.
After dropping out of university, he worked in various sales roles and was a natural at the job. He started working as a sales consultant at Multimedia Publications and gradually worked his way up to Sales Manager at Sprint. Despite being the top salesperson at the company he only made $30,000 that year.
In 2014, he was an Account Executive at Verizon and later transitioned into a new career as a Business Consultant at Square.
The Missouri native always wanted to be a business owner, and this desire was heightened while at Square because he was in close contact with a lot of successful entrepreneurs. All Akem needed was the right idea, and his uncle helped him get that.
Akeem’s uncle was a NASA engineer who taught him about synthetic setae, an adhesive that could stick to any surface. When its stickiness declines, the user can restore it by rinsing it with hot water. Shannon had the idea to incorporate it into a phone kickstand.
Thus, Flipstik was born in early 2018. In the same year, the founder launched a Kickstarter campaign and raised over $10,310 from 460 backers. In 2019, the startup made over $100,000 in revenue.
Shark Tank Appearance
While Flipstik was selling in 2020, Akeem Shannon knew he wasn’t making as much as he could. With this, appeared on season 12 of Shark Tank, asking for $100,000 for 20%. A reasonable valuation!
He came in with an astronaut suit and delivered his pitch with a rap song. The Sharks were amused by the presentation and interested in the product, but they were underwhelmed with the sales. $115,00 over two and half years killed the mood slightly but some Sharks were still interested.
Kevin O’Leary offered what Akeem initially asked for, but it was clear Akeem wanted Lori or Mark as a partner. After being ignored, Mr. Wonderful went out due to frustration. Lori Greiner was the last investor to give her opinion, and she wanted to invest $100,000 for 25%. After some consideration, the entrepreneur accepted the deal.
After Shark Tank
After Shark Tank, it appears the deal with Lori Greiner never closed. Lori shares all of her investments on her personal website but Flipstik isn’t on the list.
Bizarrely it seemed like Daymond John was trying to persuade Lori to not make the deal and maybe it worked! Daymond does own equity in a similar product called Love Handle and doesn’t want extra competition from another Shark.
As expected, the publicity from the show helped give the company a boost in sales and they’ve managed to maintain solid momentum. Akeem took Lori’s advice to go digital and sell directly to consumers through his website GetFlipstik.com.
In 2021, the startup received a grant of $50,000 from UMSL DEI Accelerator, which helped Flipstik get into 300 Target locations. The product can be purchased on Amazon, where it has an average star rating of 3.5 from 532 reviews.
Flipstik is still growing with annual sales estimated to be around $5 million which seems a little high. $1 million in annual revenue would appear to be more accurate. Flipstik was valued at $5 million in its latest round of fundraising.