Swimply’s ‘Shark Tank’ Pitch Didn’t Go Simply, but the Pool-Sharing App Is Still Afloat

Dan Clarendon - Author
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Jun. 24 2022, Published 10:47 p.m. ET

The net worth of Swimply was a big sticking point when Bunim Laskin appeared on Shark Tank in 2020. In that Season 11 episode, the entrepreneur from Lakewood, N.J., sought $300,000 in exchange for 5 percent of Swimply, which he billed as “the first-of-its-kind online marketplace for pool-sharing, where anyone can book their own private pool by the hour whenever they want from people who own a pool but don’t use it too often.”

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But Laskin asking $300,000 for 5 percent of his company meant that he believed the company had a $6 million valuation, and the sharks of the ABC reality show just didn’t share that opinion.

Laskin walked away from ‘Shark Tank’ without a deal.

As Laskin explained on Shark Tank, he got the idea for Swimply after brokering a deal with a neighbor where he and his family would gain access to their neighbor’s pool after paying for 25 percent of the pool expenses. So, he used $10,000 of his bar-mitzvah money and raised another $30,000 to launch a website. Then, in a revelation that stunned the sharks, Laskin said that he raised another $960,000 after partnering with a pool maintenance company.

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Laskin said that Swimply’s projections showed that the company was going to break even in the next year but then land $289 million in gross marketplace value in the U.S. alone in 2022.

That projection made Mark Cuban burst out laughing. “It’s great to be excited, right?” Cuban said. “It’s great to be committed. Every great entrepreneur has to be, but self-awareness has to be a great trade, as well, [and] not lying to yourself. … Your potential and your reality are in two different universes. I’m out.”

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The other sharks of the episode — Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O’Leary, and Robert Herjavec — also didn’t take the bait. So, Laskin walked away from the show empty-handed. “I don’t regret bringing up our projections,” he said in a post-pitch confessional. “They are ambitious. That is what I’m trying to do. That is the vision that I’m executing on. And if that vision did scare them or that wasn’t something they would be on board for, maybe it wasn’t a good match to begin with.”

Swimply is still in business — and it just raised $40 million.

Despite that Shark Tank failure, perhaps Swimply will have the last laugh. In December 2021, TechCrunch reported that Swimply had raised $40 million in a funding round less than a year after securing $10 million in financing. Mayfield led the $40 million funding round, with GGV Capital, Airbnb co-founder Nate Blecharczyk, and Instacart CEO Fidji joining the cause.

“Swimply’s mission is to democratize ownership of recreational spaces and to allow hosts to share underutilized assets for their local communities, starting with swimming pools,” Navin Chaddha, the managing director of Mayfield, said in a statement at the time. “I’m very, very excited about partnering with Swimply and helping the world get equalized, and not only the rich having access to these amenities.”

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