Chicago, IL (PRWEB) January 04, 2016
Chicago-based start-up LuminAID is once again in the major-network spotlight, this time for an update on the popular ABC show Shark Tank. On January 8th, Shark Tank viewers will get a peek into the growth of LuminAID since their big debut on the investment reality show last year. The segment will also feature the co-founders’ special trip to Malawi to see the impact of their invention firsthand.
In February, LuminAID co-founders Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta had one chance to pitch their idea for sustainable and durable solar lanterns to a team of 5 angel investors. The two young women proposed that their simple solution--a compact and lightweight inflatable solar lantern--had the potential to transform lives disrupted by natural disasters. All five investors vied for a chance to be chosen as the young entrepreneurs’ new business partner. In the end, Anna and Andrea chose investor Mark Cuban for a deal of $200,000 and 15%. 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."
The forthcoming segment highlights the two co-founders’ special trip to Malawi, where they had the chance to distribute the LuminAID solar inflatable light to families whose homes had been destroyed following extreme flooding and severe weather in the African country. Traveling with partner ShelterBox, an international NGO which provides temporary shelter and basic necessities after disasters, Anna and Andrea got the opportunity to see the impact of their solar rechargeable lanterns firsthand. Upon observing LuminAID lights being used in Malawi, Alan Monroe, ShelterBox Response Team member, remarked that “the most important achievement of the partnership between LuminAID and ShelterBox is in the eyes of the beneficiary who receives this amazing product. Each night, they can turn on their light and have comfort their family is safer [after disasters].”
Shark Tank’s revisit of the LuminAID company allows Anna and Andrea to show Shark Tank viewers how far LuminAID has come since their adventure in the Tank. Since securing the deal with Mark Cuban in 2015, LuminAID has expanded its impact to help major disaster zones around the world. Following the devastating earthquakes in Nepal in April, LuminAID was able to respond quickly to send over 2000 solar lights to families in need. The young company has also recently launched a campaign to send LuminAID lanterns to refugees without access to electricity in the European Refugee Crisis, which they hope to expand further in the new year.
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. Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, co-founders of the company, invented the inflatable solar lights in response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti while they were graduate students at Columbia University. 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 has further supplied its lights to Shelterbox, Doctors Without Borders, and several organizations in the United Nations for distribution on the ground after disasters and in refugee camps. LuminAID’s line of of compact solar lights are also available from many US retailers for outdoor recreation use, as well as online on LuminAID's website and Amazon. 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 (http://markcubancompanies.com/sharktank.html).
International NGO ShelterBox provides emergency shelter and vital supplies to support communities around the world overwhelmed by disaster and humanitarian crisis. Designed to be a simple and effective response to disaster relief, ShelterBox delivers the essentials people need to survive and begin to rebuild their lives in the aftermath of a disaster. Since ShelterBox was founded, the NGO has responded to over 270 disasters and humanitarian crises in more than 90 different countries and provided emergency aid for well over one million people.