Since appearing on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in February, a Michigan woman has seen her business grow 500 percent.
Samantha John, originally from Metro Detroit, is the mastermind and vision behind a popular kids app called Hopscotch. The app teaches simple computer coding concepts for young or newbie coders to teach them the basics of coding. Users can drag and drop blocks of code to create games that can be shared within the app and online.
John and his co-founder Jocelyn Leavitt launched the app in 2012. She says Detroit Free Press that the company met with almost immediate success with 20,000 app downloads in the first week. Thereafter, they saw around 200,000 active users each month.
Fast forward about eight years to April 2020, when John and his partner were contacted by a Shark Tank producer. They were encouraged to submit an audition, and in September 2020, John appeared face to face with Entrepreneurs – or âSharksâ – who sometimes support and often reject business plans submitted by entrepreneurs.
John approached the Sharks by noting that the company follows a subscription model, where some users pay a monthly fee to use the app’s premium features. In the video below, she says the business is breaking even but wants to take it to a new level.
âIt’s not really the right business model for Hopscotch,â she said. “We want a little more capital so that we can start getting rid of this pay wall, let everyone in for free and play the long game.”
The initial proposal to Sharks was an investment of $ 400,000 for a 4% stake in the company. After being rejected by four of the TV’s five sharks, entrepreneur Mark Cuban showed some interest, saying his kids had used the app and was impressed with what the company had accomplished so far. here.
âI’ve been a lifelong Hopscotch fan,â he told John. “I’m just talking to you, I admire you.”
After some negotiations, the Detroit woman struck a deal with Cuban, which invested $ 550,000 for an 11% stake in the company.
John says that since appearing on the show in February, app downloads have increased 500% and calls his partnership with Cuba “amazing.”