Casey Lorenzen and Jeff Popp, founders behind Denver-based backpack company CO.ALITION were recently selected to appear on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning reality show Shark Tank, hand-picked from a pool of over 50,000 business applicants. The duo pitched a stake in their high-tech backpack company to the Shark Tank cast that included Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec. The episode will be broadcasted to an audience well over 8-9 million viewers on Friday, January 29 at 7 pm MST.

The air date happens to be timed perfectly with the launch date of the new website, which allows visitors to build a pack as smart as they need it, suited to meet their technology-oriented needs. The development process has been an active collaboration between the CO.ALITION team and the team at Native Rank, and the launch date couldn’t have landed at a better time to put it to the test. Shark Tank’s popularity has earned itself a bit of reputation for crashing their contestants’ sites with traffic volumes they were never equipped to handle; we have all hands on deck, if you can imagine.

 

Get Shark Tanked 

Denver Viewing Party For the CO.ALITION primetime debut, Mile High Spirits (2201 Lawrence St, Denver) is hosting a “Get Shark Tanked” event from 6-10 pm MST. The event is free, open to the public and the CO.ALITION team will be in high spirits to share stories and answer questions from their Shark Tank experience. Entrepreneurs and local business owners are highly encouraged to attend. If you’re busy or for viewers world and nation-wide, you can watch, follow along and join in from afar, they will be posting updates to the Instagram and Facebook feeds and would most certainly appreciate the digital support if you can’t attend.

**Q&A – Go “In the Tank” With Jeff Popp, Co-Founder of CO.ALITION Smart Backpacks**

Q: Why pitch your CO.ALITION backpack on Shark Tank?

 

A: It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity that very few people get, so why not try? You can’t fail. Even if you never make it into the Shark Tank, it’s a valuable learning process for you, your business and how to pitch it. If you do make it to the Shark Tank, even if the Sharks don’t invest, you’re getting great advice and showcasing your hard work to millions of people. We also thought it made sense for CO.ALITION because our smart backpacks are such a new concept and market that it would be a great opportunity to partner up with a proven investor that could help us establish market leadership of the smart pack market  right out of the gate.

Q: What do you think is different about CO.ALITION than other brands in the market, and why would that be of interest to the Sharks?

 

A: CO.ALITION is different than other lifestyle backpacks, or laptop backpacks, on the market because of our extensive background in backpack design, mostly from the technical, outdoor world. Which means we know our stuff when it comes to making functional backpacks that are also stylish for most people’s everyday carry in any environment. However, what really differentiates the brand is the fact we’re pioneering the smart bag market in the wearable technology realm. We’re the first brand to deliver a smart bag to market and the only brand to have a backpack with a wireless hard drive integrated.

Q: Any tips for other entrepreneurs looking to “Get Tanked”?

 

A: Of course getting on the show is an amazing opportunity and it takes a lot of work that’s well worth it. However, don’t let it consume you, and don't take it too seriously. Just stay authentic to yourself and your business’ goals and that will shine through - you don’t need to try to over-sell. You’ll find that the path leading and build-up to actually being in the Shark Tank is far more nerve-racking than actually being in the tank. If you’re fortunate enough to make it to the point where you’re “getting tanked” and standing in-front of the Sharks and cameras, you’ll find it’s weirdly calming. Once you’re in the Shark Tank, you feel all the stress and nerves dissipate in the moment and then you realize how amazing of an opportunity you have before you, that you worked hard for and earned. Only thing to do is stand there and deliver with the passion that sparked you to start your business in the first place. If you’re confident, show respect to the Sharks and know your numbers, the Sharks are really great people and won’t eat you alive. 

Once you’ve pitched and made it out of the Shark Tank alive, don’t let it define you or your business. You’ll have a lot of media and people probing and asking all about Shark Tank. Address those questions briefly but then direct the conversation to your business its products and why they were awesome enough to make it on the show. We don’t want any of our backpacks to be known as a “shark tank backpack”, we want people to see how amazing our backpacks are for their design qualities and enhancing peoples’ daily carry experience, not just cool because they were on a TV show.