Fort on Shark Tank: Meet the founder who lost his job before starting his own company

Fort founder Conor Lewis pitches his business on Shark Tank (Image via Christopher Willard/ABC)
Fort founder Conor Lewis pitches his business on Shark Tank (Image via Christopher Willard/ABC)

Shark Tank season 13 is all set to return with a new episode this Friday. One of the four interesting businesses set to feature in episode 18 is called Fort.

Founded by Conor Lewis, the company makes magnetic pillow forts that can keep children busy for hours. The product is set to make sharks nostalgic, which might lead them to invest in the business.

Only time will tell whether Fort can grab investors’ attention. Meanwhile, read on to learn the story behind the idea of starting a business called Fort.

Here’s how Fort was born

Lewis used to enjoy watching his two-year-old kid and his wife build pillow forts that kept falling. One day, while watching them play, the founder thought of an idea and wrote “magnetic pillow fort” in a random document and shoved it aside.

In April 2020, Lewis lost his job as a marketing and communications specialist at Alton Works, Illinois due to COVID-19. During this rough time, his wife was pregnant with their second child. While going through his documents, he found the one where he had jotted down the idea of a magnetic pillow fort.

Mentioning his story on the brand’s website, Lewis wrote:

“I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but never really felt like I could pull it off - until I saw ‘magnetic pillow fort’ on that random document. It struck me just right and I had nothing to lose.”

He continued:

“It didn't take long for me to build a brand and work with a designer. After only a month I was talking to factories and FORT was born!”

In February 2021, he started his business with a Kickstarter campaign that turned out to be successful. The campaign raised $3,107,079, and the first unit of Fort shipped in August last year. However, Lewis faced supply chain issues in March 2022 and thus, there are still a few unshipped units left.

What is the cost?

Interested buyers can purchase the fort for $499 through social media or the brand’s website. It is available in multiple colors, including black, purple, green, powder blue and many more.

The forts are made from polyurethane leather and polyurethane foam with neodymium magnets to prevent it from falling apart. The product feels like couch cushions and is stain-proof and waterproof.

When will Fort appear on Shark Tank?

Fort founder Conor Lewis will pitch his business in Shark Tank season 13 episode 18. It will air on Friday, April 1 at 8.00 pm Eastern Time (ET) on ABC.

A description of the business has been mentioned in the official synopsis of Shark Tank episode 18. It reads:

"A dad from St. Louis, Missouri, presents his product designed to aid a favorite childhood activity.”

In addition to Fort, the other three businesses set to feature in the latest episode of Shark Tank include Umaro, No Limbits and Apolla. These will be pitched to the panel of sharks, consisting of Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, and Lori Greiner.

The guest shark of the evening will be Emma Grede, CEO of fashion juggernaut Good American and founding partner of SKIMS.

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Edited by Somava