What Happened To HotShot After Shark Tank?

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While HotShot might seem like a pretty generic moniker, the name of this as-seen-on-"Shark-Tank" product was actually fairly descriptive. Not only was it canned coffee (a shot, or rather, a few of these since the coffee came in 8-ounce cans), but the liquid inside the cans was actually hot. Not hot enough to cause lawsuits and injury as in the infamous McDonald's case (that coffee was said to be over 180 degrees), but a fairly robust 140 degrees.

So how did the coffee stay hot? Ahh, that's where things got tricky since it obviously needed some help to do so. In this case, it came from a kind of mini hot fridge called a "Hot Box" that people would need to buy in order for their HotSHot canned coffees not to turn into ColdShots (or, worse, lukewarm ones). HotShot founder Danny Grossfeld discovered such an appliance on a trip to Japan in 2008 and felt that hot canned coffee would be a hit in the U.S., as well. In true entrepreneurial spirit, however, he decided to go the Japanese canned coffee industry one better and make his coffee even hotter as the product sold in Japan typically comes in at around 110 degrees.

By the time Grossfeld presented his product on "Shark Tank" in 2015, he'd yet to sell a single can but was only accepting pre-orders. Inc. characterized HotShot as the "weakest pitch" in the show's history, so it came as no surprise when none of the Sharks bit.

What happened to HotShot on Shark Tank?

Despite the fact that Danny Grossfeld had spent 6 years and $2 million perfecting a product without making a single sale, he wasn't laughed off the "Shark Tank" set when he arrived to make his pitch. In fact, he didn't even apply to be on the show but had been personally invited by one of the producers after they read an article about his innovative business idea. Grossfeld, having nothing to lose at this point, offered to sell 10% of the equity in his company for $300,000. The Sharks all drank the coffee and liked it, but none of them drank the metaphorical Kool-Aid since they passed on the investment opportunity.

One Shark, on hearing Grossfeld trying to sell a sizable stake in a company with zero sales, said "I can't tell if you're pitching or asking for therapy" (via Facebook), while another suggested that he might be better off dropping the whole idea. (Foreshadowing ...) Mark Cuban, however, was a bit more encouraging. Cuban, whom Grossfeld described as "super sweet to me and very receptive," made a tentative offer to sell the product on a trial basis in his Landmark Cinemas once it actually got off the ground.

HotShot After Shark Tank

Even though Grossfeld's pitch was rejected by the Sharks, his product did receive a post-show sales bump of sorts –- while this wasn't anything really phenomenal, within a week there were 200 pre-orders for this as-yet-to-be-released product. Grossfeld also received offers from the AMC, Cinemark, and Regal movie chains, all wanting to test his coffee in early 2016. By that point, though, he still didn't have anything nailed down regarding Cuban's Landmark chain.

Three years later, things were really looking up. As Grossfeld said in a 2018 press release, "Concessionaires are proving to be a great channel for HotShot." At the time the product was available at venues as prestigious as Madison Square Garden and Disney World as well as certain Broadway theaters. By that point, the company was beginning to expand into home sales, as well, with the canned coffee and heating units being sold by both Bed, Bath, and Beyond and Amazon.

Why did HotShot go out of business?

The product, however, was not an unqualified success with consumers. During the few years HotShot was available online, it only racked up 10 Amazon ratings and a 3.2-star average. While one person raved about the ease of use and the coffee's flavor, others found that either the Hot Box or the coffee itself failed to meet their expectations. Some even expressed concerns that the coffee might have been spoiled by the time they received it.

By all appearances, HotShot coffee may have rolled out its last can some time ago. The company website no longer exists, nor is it active on social media. Yes, you can Google "HotShot coffee" and come up with results, but neither an Oregon-based roastery nor coffee shops in Alaska and California seem to have any connection to the canned coffee product that appeared on Shark Tank. Judging by HotShot's lack of a web presence, it seems the company could be out of business, although reportedly HotShot boxes could still be spotted in some concessions venues as late as summer 2021. As for the exact reason why HotShot may no longer be a going concern, all we can do is speculate, but it may well have come down to the reason so many businesses go under: They simply don't sell enough of the product to make a sufficient profit. We repeat, however, that this is mere conjecture since Grossfeld does not seem to have released a statement regarding his company's current status.

What's next for HotShot's founder?

Danny Grossfeld appears to have gone dormant himself as far as his web presence goes. While his LinkedIn profile still lists him as president of HotShot USA, a position that he has held since 2016, any LinkedIn user knows that such data is self-reported since LinkedIn profiles are essentially just glorified resumes. What's more, not everyone is all that religious about keeping their profile updated, especially if there's nothing new to report.

Current information about Grossfeld from other sources seems to be even more dubious. ZoomInfo lists a Daniel Grossfeld who is said to be in charge of an establishment called Hotshots Sports Bar & Grill in Fenton, Missouri, but the Danny Grossfeld of "Shark Tank" fame still seems to be based in New York if his LinkedIn bio is anything to go by What's more, the 11-year tenure of Missouri sports bar Grossfeld would seem to have interfered with the trajectory of this would-be coffee tycoon since his "Shark Tank" pitch would certainly have called him away from his bar managing duties. Despite the Zoom profile being linked to a number of articles about HotShot coffee, we're going to conjecture that it's either a coincidence or a mistake that two Danny Grossfelds are both involved with similarly-named companies. Despite our best research efforts, we admit we have no idea what coffee guy Grossfeld is up to today, but we wish him luck with it all the same.