Story excerpt provided by The Columbus Dispatch. Written by Steve Wartenberg for Columbus CEO.
The past year has been a whirlwind for Tom Burden and his company, Grypmat. The Ohio native left the Air Force Reserve, where he was a mechanic and worked on weapons systems of the F-16 Fighting Falcon; accelerated the sales of Grypmat, the flexible, multi-purpose tool mat he invented; and wowed the sharks during his November appearance on “Shark Tank.”
All five sharks wanted a piece of Burden and Grypmat. The team of Mark Cuban, Richard Branson and Lori Greiner won the bidding war, investing a combined $360,000 in return for 30 percent of the Columbus-based company. The Grypmat, which comes in three sizes, is designed to adhere to a variety of surfaces, keep tools organized and prevent them from slipping, sliding and falling.
The market for this bright-orange tool tray is aircraft mechanics and anyone else who uses tools. A Kickstarter campaign launched in early 2017 raised $113,433 and provided Burden, 27, with the seed money he needed to expand the Grypmat inventory. The “Shark Tank” appearance gave Burden and Grypmat some much-needed national exposure and led to a jump in sales.
Click here to read the complete article.Originally published April 15, 2018.