“It’s been an incredible journey, and we have created some amazing products, but things have changed and the lights are dimming,” GeekMyTree founder Brad Boyink wrote in an email to supporters at the time, according to WOOD-TV of Grand Rapids, Mich.
Brad Boyink went from holiday light shows to animated Christmas tree lights.
Boyink made a name for himself with his annual Christmas light show, the second-largest in the country. He even attracted 70,000 visitors to a light show involving 14 houses with synchronized lights.
Boyink brought GeekMyTree to the Shark Tank investors in the ABC reality show’s seventh season. He asked for $225,000 for a 25 percent investment and showed off a Christmas tree festooned with color-changing lights.
“Every year, we try to untangle that bundle of lights,” he said during his pitch. “We hope they work. We wrap them around and around the Christmas tree, and yet, after a couple of days, the tree mostly goes unnoticed. Your tree deserves better, and that’s why I created Animated GlowBalls. With the Animated Glow balls, we have brought the fun and excitement of the outdoor light show inside to the family Christmas tree.”
"Shark Tank" investors had doubts about GeekMyTree
Boyink told the sharks that the starter kit came with a controller with 16 animated patterns included and more than a hundred others available as in-app purchases. However, the sharks were stunned that the starter kits cost between $299 and $399, with expansion kits available for $200.
“There are LED strings on the market now that are materially cheaper. Like, a lot cheaper. Like, a lot,” Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary told Boyink. “Do you see any problem with a family paying over $500 for lights on a tree. Most of them aren’t going to see Santa. They’re going to see a bailiff when they go to debtors’ prison. That’s ridiculously expensive.”
Barbara Corcoran said, “You’re standing there selling a $500 string of Christmas lights. The only one who would spend $500 on this tree is someone rich like Robert who lives in a 20-bedroom mansion on a cliff, so I’m very out.”
Boyink struck a deal with Kevin O’Leary.
Despite his sticker shock, O’Leary offered Boyink $225,000 for a 50 percent stake in GeekMyTree. He refused to budge when Boyink countered with an offer of 40 percent. Boyink eventually agreed to go 50-50 with O’Leary. “I don’t have a problem with the 50 percent because I know in the long run, he’s going to help me bring this into every American’s household,” he told viewers after the deal. “It’s going to be a ‘Mr. Wonderful’ Christmas.”
GeekMyTree’s Instagram account shows that the company later introduced other products, including Tree Effects—a tabletop Christmas tree with animated lighting—and Party Pixels—a grid of animated lights.
Nevertheless, it was all over for GeekMyTree less than three years after the Shark Tank episode aired. According to WOOD-TV, Boyink attributed GeekMyTree’s demise to knock-off products, tariffs, and “patent trolls.”