The PowerPot is a thermoelectric generator that uses the heat from cooking to charge various devices. Founders Caleb Light and David Toledo pitched their product on Shark Tank and got a deal with Mark Cuban. Their company Power Practical was later acquired by Thrasio in 2020. As of 2023, Power Practical is worth an estimated $3 million.
About the Founders
David Toledo and Caleb Light hail from Salt Lake City, Utah. David has a PhD in materials science and engineering from Cornell University. Caleb got an accounting degree from Utah Valley University.
During school Toledo spent a lot of time as a researcher and it shaped him into the inventor he would later become. Before starting Power Practical, Caleb had already launched a marketing company called CupAd. The business had clients such as Zagg, Overstock.com, and Cornell University.
Founding the Company
As an outdoor enthusiast, David wanted to create a small thermoelectric generator to make his trips more convenient. He got a hold of thermocouples and used them as the main component of his prototype.
This is how the PowerPot came to life, it was a hybrid of a cooking pot and a charging outlet. Although it was initially made for camping, the innovative tool became a hit with people wanting to live a more sustainable life.
Power Practical launched in 2011. and Caleb joined the startup as the marketing expert. The duo launched a Kickstarter campaign hoping to raise $50,000 and received around $126,000. Two years later, the startup had $300,000 in sales.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2013, Caleb Light and David Toledo had big plans for Power Practical. They already had a few investors, but wanted guidance from more well-known entrepreneurs. They appeared on season five of Shark Tank, seeking $250,000 for a 10% stake.
The guys delivered a strong introduction and demoed the product. The Sharks were impressed but wanted to learn more about how it worked and sales. While some Sharks questioned the product’s usefulness, some saw the potential.
Mark Cuban, in particular, was clearly interested in the unconventional charger. After looking like he would drop out, Cuban offered $250,000 for 20% but the founders countered with 12% equity and 3% in advisory options. Mark accepted and the deal was done.
After Shark Tank
After the episode, the deal with Mark Cuban closed within a few months. Caleb and David used the $250,000 to develop over 20 products and got into major retail stores such as REI and Cabela. They had mixed success in retail and later pivoted to focus on Amazon.
Power Practical was acquired in April 2020 by Thrasio, a consumer that specializes in selling products on Amazon. Caleb and David stayed with the company and worked in the product development department.
As their range of products expanded, a decision was made to cease production of the PowerPot. Most likely due to low sales and other products were much more profitable. Both founders still work at Thrasio, Toledo is the Vice President of Product Strategy & Development and Light is Director of Product Launch.
Although PowerPot is no longer available to buy, many of Toledo and Light’s products are still selling well. For example, their LED TV Backlight Strip has a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from 11,837. This product alone has made over $250,000 in revenue! Power Practical makes over $1 million in annual revenue.