Doorknobs are a common touchpoint for people and they are prone to germs. StepNpull is a smart alternative that can help you avoid harmful microbes. The device is a door handle that is operated by the foot instead of your hand. Mike Sewell pitched the product on Shark Tank and got a deal with Kevin O’Leary. As of 2023, StepNpull is worth $8 million.
About the Founders
Mike Sewell hails from Kansas City, Missouri. He holds an associate’s degree in electronics equipment installation from Drury University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Baker University.
Before obtaining his BBA, the Missouri resident worked as a network assurance manager at Verizon for over two decades. Only Mike appeared on television, but the company has two other founders, Kelly Coddington and Ron Ely. The three of them knew each other as former co-workers.
Founding the Company
Mike, Ron, and Kelly constantly talked about starting a business together back in the 1990s. The trio had their wish granted when Mike noticed other colleagues using paper towels to avoid direct contact with doorknobs.
He told his buddies about the issue, and they soon started developing a foot-operated door handle. The final product was launched in 2007. StepNpull was a pleasant side venture for the three guys when they started operations.
In the first five years, they only made $35,000 in sales, but things got brighter when the pandemic happened. In March 2020 alone, they did $1.7 million in sales and it helped the product’s patent get worldwide recognition.
Shark Tank Appearance
The StepNpull founders applied for season 12 of Shark Tank in 2021. During this time, they were very busy fulfilling orders and nearly canceled their TV appearance. Mike Sewell traveled alone and was seeking to raise $300,000 for 3% of the business.
The company’s sales were flat until the pandemic hit and all of a sudden the company was booming. At the time of the pitch, they were approaching $7 million in sales! The Sharks were shocked and a bidding war soon broke out.
Kevin was the first to make an offer of $300,000 for 10% and Daymond John proposed 12%. Lori was also interested and offered $300,000 for 5% equity but wanted a 0.50c royalty. Sewell was keen to work with O’Leary, and the two worked out a deal of $300,000 for 6%.
After Shark Tank
According to sbj.net, the deal with Kevin O’Leary didn’t close after the show. Potentially Kevin changed his mind about the valuation once the cameras stopped rolling. Nevertheless, the publicity was positive for sales.
Companies such as NASA, Google, Best Buy, IKEA, and Walmart are customers. The product can also be purchased for non-commercial use via Amazon, Home Depot, Lowes, and StepNpull.com. The hands-free door opener has an average rating of 4.5 stars from 176 reviews on Amazon.
StepNpull’s sales have slowed down dramatically and are making around $1 million in annual revenue. More than likely, revenue will drop below the million dollar mark in 2023. Currently, the business is worth an estimated $8 million.