What Happened To Safe Grabs After Shark Tank?

On "Shark Tank," entrepreneurs pitch various products, including kitchen tools, to potential big-name investors. Think Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary (via Newsweek). According to USA Today, every season, anywhere between 35,000 and 40,000 potential contestants apply.

To be chosen is kind of a big deal. Cyndi Lee, the creator of Safe Grabs, knows this better than most. According to Lee's website, she invented "multi-purpose silicone mats" to be used when handling microwaved foods to safeguard against burning her hands. The idea came to her after years of burning her fingers on hot plates and cups that had been used to heat up foods in the small appliance.

Houston station Fox 26 explains Lee was inspired to create a solution to this problem after she found herself unemployed in 2014. It was then she had a eureka moment because, after all, she couldn't be the only person who had experienced this microwave hazard. In March 2016, she landed an opportunity to appear on an episode of "Steve Harvey" during its aptly titled "#PassionProject" segment. Lee not only won over Harvey and guest experts Heather Thomson and Amilya Antonetti but walked away with $5000 to continue creating her Safe Grabs. Also a winner of a Disney Tomorrowland New Product Contest, the inventor went on to audition for "Shark Tank" twice but was rejected. Could a third time be the charm?

One Shark invested

Cyndi Lee revealed on her website that it wasn't until her third audition for "Shark Tank" that she found success. She went on to share she did not let the first two rejections deter her but rather used each opportunity to refine and perfect her pitch. In fact, Lee believes that if she had not failed to secure her spot during those first two try-outs, she and Safe Grabs would not have had their "Shark Tank" moment during Season 8, Episode 5 (via Insignia SEO).

And while Lee didn't get exactly what she wanted, she did find an investor. The Shark Tank Blog recap shares that when she made her appeal to the celebrity panel of investors, she asked for $75,000 in return for 12% of her Safe Grabs company. Only one shark took the bait: Lori Greiner. However, Greiner wanted a larger stake of 30%. The two haggled and eventually settled on giving Greiner 25%. But can you guess what happened next with Safe Grabs?

Lee found more than success

Cyndi Lee's colorful, multipurpose Safe Grabs mats were sold on QVC the day after her "Shark Tank" episode aired, and within 10-minutes, they sold out. But that was really just the beginning. The silicone mats also found their way onto shelves of stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, and Home Depot. Within a year, Safe Grabs had created $2.4 million in sales for Lee and her backer (via Shark Tank Blog). And speaking of Lee's investor, Lori Greiner shared that within the first three years after appearing on "Shark Tank," Safe Grabs raked in $5 million. The company is said to still be going strong and generates $4 million in yearly revenue. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the businesswoman even used her success to help the medical community by "matching dollar for dollar to purchase up to 50,000 medical masks for hospitals in need" (via Facebook).

What did Lee walk away with besides a successful product? Belief in self. She said on her website, "I wasn't so scared of the Sharks but more of the realization that millions of people would be watching me on Prime Time Television. I've made costly mistakes along the way but as Jack Ma says, 'mistakes are revenues later' as long as you learn from them!"