Where is Andrea Cao now? The founder of Q-Flex first appeared on Shark Tank at the age of 13

Shark Tank product Q-Flex
Shark Tank product Q-Flex's founder Andrea Cao (Image via Instagram/@theqflex)

ABC's Shark Tank has helped thousands of people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams. One such person was Andrea Cao, who first appeared on the show at the age of 13 along with her mother, Hong Cao.

The two introduced their product, Q-Flex, on-screen during season 6 and walked away with a deal of $25,000 for 25% from Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban. While Q-Flex is still in business, Andrea Cao has since expanded into other products. She launched an equine tack and apparel company called Andrea Equine in May 2017.

The company's website reads that the brand started with a "young girl and her passion for horses." It further notes that Andrea has been using clinician-branded tack for years, and while she loved the quality, she was "fed up" with the prices. Andrea looked for more economical options but couldn't find the quality she was used to, leading her to create Andrea Equine.


All about the Shark Tank entrepreneur's new company

As per Andrea Equine's website, Andrea Cao combined her experience running Q-Flex and the mentorship she received during Shark Tank with her "horse training expertise."

"After years of research and development of the right products, feel, colors, and designs, Andrea Equine was born. Aiming to fill the gap in the market, we offer true clinician quality natural horsemanship tack that is a fraction of the price."

The Q-Flex founder's latest product is hand-crafted with American leather in the USA. It is made out of thick, durable, strong, and soft leather, which is better than "Hermann Oak," as per the website.

The company sells clinicians, headstalls, slobber and burb straps, bits, apparel, breast collars, and tack sets. While several of the products are currently sold out, customers can pre-order the products on andreaequine.com.


More about Shark Tank's Q-Flex

When Andrea Cao was 13 years old, she wanted to help her mother relieve a backache. At the time, her mother used to work at a nursing home and would ask Andrea to massage her back every day.

"Andrea drew up different designs, tested shapes and materials, and finally found the perfect product. She had it prototyped and set out to find a mould and manufacturer. She started out ordering batches of 20 at a time and setting out door to door selling them."

Andrea and her mother appeared on the business show on December 12, 2014, in season 6, where she told the sharks about her product, Q-Flex, and her goals.

At the time, Robert Herjavec couldn't believe Andrea was only 13 years old and wanted to know more about the product. She explained that she "put it" $10,000 and had already paid it back.

Kevin believed it was a "hobby" business, as the sharks didn't want Hong to quit her job or for Andrea to quit school. Lori noted that she wasn't interested since she had already sold a similar product. Barbara and Mark offered $25,000 for 25% and said they would handle the operations as long as Andrea was available for sales calls.

Andrea and Hong took the deal on Shark Tank and returned to the ABC show later in the season to provide an update on Q-Flex. At that time, they had built a website, received 17,000 orders, and made over $500,000 in sales.

In Shark Tank season 10, the mother-daughter duo returned to the show for another update segment. During the episode, Andrea repaid Mark and Barbara's investment, who remained partners in the business.

At the time, Andrea said:

There's so much Q-Flex can achieve. And I'm so happy that now we can actually go from being a hobby business to a real business. It's a dream come true."

As per the Shark Tank blog, as of February 2023, Q-Flex's annual revenue was $3.5 million.


Episodes of Shark Tank are available to stream on ABC.

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Edited by Dev Sharma
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