GreatFallsTribune

GreatFallsTribune

This week, co-host George Zaidan meets with the father-son duo behind Tailgater. Founder Thor Swensson was inspired to create the product by his son Luc, who is a big fan of racing. He wanted to prove to his son that dreams can come true.

Tailgater is a collapsible table and chair combination that makes attending sporting events a breeze. According to the Democrat & Chronicle, Swensson “kept tinkering, improving and making limited numbers of the product, which attaches to and unfolds from the backs of pick-up trucks or SUVs. By 2013 he was working with producers of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank.’”” However, he narrowly missed the opportunity to appear on the hit ABC show. The base price of the product, according to the GreatFallsTribune, is $599 and $699 for the custom table top upgrade.

Zaidan likes the product, but thinks the manufacturing costs are way too high. Swensson has had purchase orders, but hasn’t been able to fill them based on lack of resources. He hopes to get the tables into retail stores across the nation.

At Bluefish Concepts, Zaidan explains that the product needs to be much lighter as it currently weighs in at about 180 pounds. It also need to be easier to ship. After a month, they managed to cut the weight in half and reduce the shipping costs. The table also has room for an umbrella, in addition to space for additional attachments, such as a grill.

As part of the field test, they take the Tailgater to a raceway to see if it sets up faster than traditional folding tables and chairs. The Tailgater wins, however, many express concerns over the price and size of the table.

For their pitch, they have the opportunity to meet with Evan Dash, the founder and CEO of StoreBound, who also has connections with multiple retail stores. They are seeking $200,000 for 25 percent equity.

Dash is impressed but is concerned about whether it’s really ready for retail, which Swensson says it is. He also calls his intended price of $599 a “wildcard” and says there’s a lot of competition out there that is much cheaper. He thinks the product should cost only $200.

Dash ultimately decides to offer $500,000 for 80 percent of the company in order to take the product to the next level. He also offers a royalty of five percent of all related products, which Swensson accepts.

“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” works to turn a million dollar idea to a million dollar invention. Hosts and engineering experts George Zaidan and Deanne Bell find entrepreneurs with revolutionary ideas, take a look at their prototype and help take the product to the next level. According to CNBC, “Top engineers scour the country looking for amazing ideas they’re convinced can make big money. They’ll track down the inventors and give them a second chance to bring their ideas and dreams to life.” The hosts also have the opportunity to hear their pitch before taking the product to an investor, as well as connect with the inventor by hearing their backstories.

“Make Me A Millionaire Inventor” airs every Thursday night at 10 p.m. on CNBC.

Would you use the Tailgater? Sound off in the comments section below!