What happened to GrooveBook after Shark Tank? Details explored

Mark Cuban invested in GrooveBook in Shark Tank
Mark Cuban invested in GrooveBook in Shark Tank (Image via Instagram/@mcuban)

ABC's Shark Tank has been on air since 2010 and has spent over two decades making people's entrepreneurial dreams come true. In 2014, during season 6, Julie and Brian Whiteman, a married couple appeared on the show seeking $150,000 in exchange for 20% equity in their product, GrooveBook.

GrooveBook turns people's digital pictures into a photo album and the couple would mail it to customers for just $2.99 per month. Since their cost per unit was $2.30, they weren't making large profits although they already had 18,000 paid subscribers when they appeared on the ABC show.

Soon after their time on the show, GrooveBook was acquired by Shutterfly for $14.5 million, including an upfront purchase amount and future "performance-based earn-out."


Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary called the acquisition a "great moment" in the show's history

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As per Businesswire, Kevin O'Leary commented on the acquisition and said that he always believed in Julie and Brian's potential as entrepreneurs to grow their business and turn it into something "remarkable."

"This is a great moment in Shark Tank history, and a testament to the message at the heart of the show, the American Dream is alive and well."

He continued:

"Today they have done just that - and thanks to their hard work and great innovation, they are going to wake up financially independent and free."

Brian Whiteman also spoke about the Shark Tank product being under Shutterfly and said that they were "thrilled" to be a part of the "family of brands." He called Shutterfly the industry leader and said that by leveraging their technology platform and other assets, he and Julie would be able to grow into a "profitable" and "nationally recognized brand."

Jeffrey Housenbold, the CEO and president of the incorporation noted that by including GrooveBook, they would be introducing a new photo book "form factor" while using its viral, social, and word-of-mouth nature of the product's mobile apps.

While on Good Morning America, Kevin O'Leary and the Whitemans spoke to George Stephanopoulos about the same. The investor said he always knew something "huge" would happen to GrooveBook and called the Shutterfly deal a "perfect marriage."

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Julie and Brian came on the Emmy-winning show, Shark Tank, seeking $150,000 for 20% equity. While Robert and Daymond didn't want to invest in the product as they were worried about the commercial printing aspect, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, and Lori Greiner made their pitches.

As the sharks went over the product, they had several questions for the questions. Lori asked who made the products and Brian noted that they manufactured the books internally.

When Daymond asked why they hadn't tried another price, Brian said they wanted everyone in America to be able to afford the book. The Shark responded that nobody would be able to get the books if they had to close the shop.

Mark Cuban asked the couple to "be real" and asked them how much they had invested in GrooveBook. Brian said they invested $400,000 and were yet to break even.

Robert Herjavec pointed out the co-dependency the product and their print shop had and said that he would need the print shop to be in business for the book to work. Julie chimed in:

"You know, I don't think. you ever explained why we have the groove in the side of the book. One night in Brian's frustration, he was working on this for months, um, trying to figure out how to get this book flexible so we can mail it in bulk through the U.S. postal service."

She added that the founder was beating the book's spine with a pen and damaged the book, which is when inspiration struck. Brian added that the GrooveBook was able to flex which brought down their shipping cost to 80 cents per unit.

Eventually, Mark and Kevin offered the couple $150,000 for 80% of their licensing rights and the couple took the deal.

All episodes of Shark Tank are available to stream on ABC.

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Edited by Jeevak Ambalgi
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