What Happened To Final Straw After Shark Tank?

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It seems like using a plastic straw has been out of fashion for a while now, but the anti-straw movement only started in 2018 (via Vox). According to Time, it started in part because of a video where a marine biologist removed a straw from a turtle's nose, and the rest is history. Although the video was filmed in 2015, it didn't get traction until 2018 and states quickly moved to ban the turtle-harming devices. A few areas of Massachusetts were ahead of the game and started the ban in 2015, followed by Seattle in 2018, and Washington DC and California in 2019 (via Vox).

Knowing that plastic straws were public enemy number one at this point, the co-founders of Final Straw pitched their collapsible metal straw on "Shark Tank." Some problems people might have with traditional metal straws are that they could be easy to leave behind, and cleaning could be an issue due to particles getting stuck. But the co-founders explained that the Final Straw fits in a case that you can attach to your keychain and comes with a cleaning squeegee (via Shark Tank Blog).

What the Sharks thought of Final Straw

Co-founders of Final Straw Emma Cohen and Miles Pepper showed up on "Shark Tank" on the heels of raising about $2 million on Kickstarter and boasting $15,000 in daily sales (via Shark Tank Recap). In fact, the Kickstarter campaign had amassed over $200,000 in its first 48 hours, as Cohen previously explained to "Nightly Business Report" (via YouTube). She hadn't expected that kind of success, and appearing on "Shark Tank" wasn't something she would have envisioned in her "wildest dreams." But there she was on the hit show with her co-founder. The pair was asking for $625,000 in exchange for 5% equity in the company. While several of the investors agreed that the world needs more metal straws, they voiced their concerns about the Final Straw product in particular.

According to the Shark Tank Blog, Daymond John quickly dropped out, saying that the $20 retail price was too high for consumers. Lori Greiner pulled out because she believed the market was already flooded with metal straws. Mark Cuban and Kevin O'Leary both made offers at this time, requesting higher equity and even royalties, which the co-founders turned down. The pair left without an offer from the Sharks, and although they went into the show with great momentum, they ran into a few roadblocks shortly afterward.

Where are they now?

According to Inc., Final Straw's appearance on "Shark Tank" caused an influx of orders but also attracted copycat products. One Chinese e-commerce site, in particular, Alibaba, had several listings of knockoff products (via CNBC). "A patent is only as good as its enforcement," co-founder Emma Cohen told the news outlet. "It's essentially a nice, shiny, expensive piece of paper that we then need to go out and enforce." Finding and eliminating these fraudulent products was not only a drain on the company's resources but cost it millions in revenue.

Amidst the trouble with copycats, Emma Cohen learned that co-founder Miles Pepper was trying to start a rival straw company and sued him (via Shark Tank Blog). The Shark Tank Blog posits that the suit was settled because Pepper quietly exited the company in February 2019 (via LinkedIn). After a few tumultuous years, the company appears to have recovered and even achieved an average yearly revenue of $8 million, according to Shark Tank Recap. Final Straw has a storefront on Amazon and has launched a few new products, like collapsible utensils and a larger straw for drinks like boba tea and milkshakes (via Final Straw's official website). While it didn't quite make the list of the best kitchen tools we've seen on "Shark Tank," we have to give it up to Final Straw for helping out the turtles.