Blankets have been keeping people warm for centuries but it’s been decades since they were given an upgrade. Traditional blankets are not made for all kinds of environments but that’s not the case with Rumpl. Founder Wylie Robinson pitched his product on Shark Tank and wasn’t able to make a deal. As of 2023, Rumpl is worth $15 million.
About the Founder
Wylie Robinson is an entrepreneur from Portland, Oregon and has a degree in environmental design from the University of Colorado. He also did an online course in graphic design at UC Berkeley Extension.
When still in college, he was a construction worker for Bergen Homes. Then, he interned as a designer at the architectural firm Gensler. After graduating, Wylie became a certified designer at Stantec for a year.
In 2009, he was hired as a senior designer at MKTG and held the same position until he transferred to Landor after a year. Wylie has a business partner called Nick Polinko, but not much is known about him.
Founding the Company
Wylie and Nick are outdoor lovers. When they were on a ski trip, the temperature was freezing as they slept. It led them to wonder why there were no blankets made out of sleeping bag fabric, which is weatherproof and debris-repellant.
The two gentlemen sewed the first Rumpl prototypes when they got home. They used it for several months and knew it had potential for a business opportunity. In 2013, they started selling the product to the public.
They launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise $15,000 and managed to raise more than $216,000. The funding helped them create different versions of the product and use recycled materials. In 2019, lifetime sales reached over $24 million.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2020, Rumpl was already a successful business that was expanding through wholesale. Wylie appeared on season 12 of Shark Tank, seeking $600,000 for a 4% equity stake. A $15 million valuation for an industry with low barriers to entry was ambitious.
Robinson gave a polished pitch, but the atmosphere changed when he revealed they had $3.5 million in the bank. Cuban became suspicious and didn’t believe his excuse of needing a Shark to get sports licensing. Wylie didn’t do a good enough job to convince him he wasn’t on the show just for exposure.
The founder offered Kevin a royalty deal for a percentage of sales on sports licensing but he wasn’t interested. Blake Mycoskie and Daymond John also made a joint-offer but Wylie declined. Sadly a deal couldn’t be reached.
After Shark Tank
After the episode aired, Rumpl got a lot of negative comments on social media for being on the show for the wrong reasons. Nevertheless, the company made $1 million in sales from the exposure they craved.
The innovative blankets are available to buy on Amazon, Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Rumpl.com. The original version of the product has a 4.8-star rating from 677 user reviews on Amazon. They are now selling NFL blankets on their website so they clearly figured out how to get licensing deals.
According to an interview with BizJournals.com in October 2020, the business was on track to make $8 and $10 million annually. Currently, Rumpl is valued at $15 million and is thriving in a competitive space.