International disaster relief charity, ShelterBox, was highlighted on the ABC hit show Shark Tank on January 8, 2016.
Shark Tank viewers received an update on the LuminAID inflatable solar light invention which made its debut on the investment reality show in 2015.
The segment demonstrated how the solar lights are used on the front lines of disaster situations, with the founders traveling with ShelterBox to Malawi, where the 2015 flooding ravaged the country and displaced hundreds of thousands.
Nearly a year later, survivors in Malawi were slowing rebuilding their lives with assistance from ShelterBox, which provided hundreds of its aid boxes, each containing a disaster relief tent, blanket, ground sheets, tools kit, cooking set, water filtration unit, in addition to the LuminAID emergency solar lights which have been distributed to families that have lost everything from the flooding.
In 2015, LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta pitched their idea for sustainable and durable solar lanterns to Shark Tank, receiving offers from all five Sharks. A deal was reached with businessman, Mark Cuban, who invested $200,000 for 15% equity stake in the company.
When asked why Cuban chose LuminAID as one of his Shark Tank investments, he remarked, “I look for smart people, a product that is unique in some way and something that fills a particular need for society. LuminAID is an example of an innovation that solves a problem for society.”
To date, LuminAid lights have been distributed to charitable projects in more than 50 countries.
Two years prior to LuminAID attracting the attention of Shark Tank, it was recognized by the NGO community for supplying solar lights to humanitarian organizations, including ShelterBox and Doctors without Borders.
Notes ShelterBox USA President, Kerri Murray:
“In a disaster situation, it is the basic human needs that must be critically addressed: Shelter, Water, Food, and Health.
The collaboration with LuminAid is important as ShelterBox looks for innovative products that further the mission of providing shelter and essential supplies for people in crisis situations. After a disaster, darkness can be challenging and dangerous.
LuminAIDs are lightweight, fit easily in a ShelterBox, provide up to 16 hours of light on one charge, and give much needed safety and security.
The solar lights are a critical item in the ShelterBoxes, enabling people to work, cook, and navigate safely within the community at night.
LuminAID’s visit to Malawi:
In preparation for the 2016 Shark Tank follow-up episode, the founders of LuminAID traveled to the African country Malawi to see the product in the field during a ShelterBox deployment. Once in-country, the team talked with community members from the village of Katuma.
“They praised the LuminAID product for two reasons,” notes ShelterBox Response Team member Alan Monroe, “the first being that the solar light is far safer to use in the ShelterBox tent than the widely used kerosene. And the other being the local snakes that come out after dark are now easily identified with the portable light.”
The practical applications for disaster survivors afforded many learning opportunities to the product creators. “We were honored to see our product providing much needed safety and security,” said Andrea. “We are inspired by the survivors that ShelterBox helps and look forward to continue to bring light to disaster relief.”
LuminAID develops innovative, solar-powered products for humanitarian relief aid and outdoor recreation. The company’s first product, the LuminAID light, is a solar-powered, inflatable lamp that packs flat and inflates to create a lightweight, waterproof lantern suitable for outdoor recreation and emergency situations.
LuminAID lights have been sold to individuals in more than 70 different countries, and charitable projects with NGO partners have put more than 15,000 donated lights on-the-ground in more than 50 countries including Haiti, Nepal and the Philippines.
LuminAID was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, received offers from all five “sharks,” and made a deal with the billionaire investor Mark Cuban in 2015.
Learn more about LuminAID