There have been many attempts to replace unsustainable plastic utensils, but none are as innovative as Loliware. The company sells the world’s first edible cups, which are made from seaweed and organic sweeteners. Founders Chelsea Briganti and Leigh Ann Tucker appeared on Shark Tank and made a deal with Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran. As of 2023, Loliware is worth $4 million.
About the Founders
Chelsea Briganti is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii and attended the University of Hawaii at Manoa before pursuing industrial and product design at Parsons School of Design – The New School in New York.
There, she met her future business partner, Leigh Ann Tucker. Leigh is from Atlanta and before moving to New York, she studied industrial design at The Savannah College of Art and Design.
The two became best friends, and after earning their BFA in 2010, they founded their first company together, The Way We See the World was a design studio that lasted for more than three years.
Founding the Company
Chelsea and Leigh Ann once took part in a Jell-O contest. The innovators used their love of design and their enthusiasm for the environment to create something that would help them stand out.
They used seaweed to create biodegradable cups that were also edible. Not only that, they were made with natural sweeteners that produced different flavors in the cups. This made them suitable for various drinks and desserts.
They grabbed the number one spot in the competition and were inspired to turn it into a business. The pair raised $10,000 from Kickstarter in 2011 but didn’t start operations until 2015. In three months, the business made $110,000 in revenue.
Shark Tank Appearance
Though their company was just three months old, Chelsea and Leigh Ann knew they could go further. They signed up for Shark Tank season seven, seeking $150,000 for a 15% equity stake.
The ladies didn’t disappoint in their presentation. Everything went well, from introducing their products to handing out samples. The ladies revealed that they had an ongoing funding round with $600,000 left to raise. Typically, the Sharks don’t like when companies have already raised money as their equity could get diluted in the future.
Robert Herjavec offered to finish the round if another Shark joined him. Different teams formed, but the ones who won were Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran, with $600,000 for 25%. Once again, Mark Cuban got picked over poor Robert.
After Shark Tank
Mark and Barbara were happy to close the deal with Loliware, but it seems like Corcoran is no longer working with the company. It’s not clear why, but the founders are happy to have Cuban still on board. In 2018, they raised $73,000 on IndieGoGo and $49,000 on Kickstarter over 1,000 backers.
This helped them introduce the Loliware Straw, which struggled with production issues. The original edible cups are still available on Amazon and Loliware.com. However, the company has shifted its focus to selling directly to businesses.
That may be why they don’t have many Amazon reviews, with only 2.5 stars from nine users. Nevertheless, Loliware received a $6 million investment from H/L Ventures. Currently, Loliware is valued at an estimated $4 million.
Given the fact they’ve raised a lot of capital, the founders are under pressure to launch a commercial product. Hopefully, the company can start generating revenue soon and raising more money in today’s environment will be challenging.