Rick Pescovitz wasn’t ready to give up yet.
The 1985 Miami alum and Cincinnati-based entrepreneur had submitted a pitch to “Shark Tank,” for his company, Under the Weather, but after a year there was still no word from the acclaimed investment reality TV show.
Under the Weather makes portable pop-up tents aimed at outdoor sports spectators. The idea was conceived after Pescovitz grew tired of the suboptimal weather conditions he often endured on the sidelines his three kids’ soccer games — he needed a weatherproof way to watch.
The “pod” design Pescovitz dreamed up is made of wind- and water-resistant polyester and offers shelter from winter cold and summer sun alike. Clear front and side panels allow users a 270-degree view of the outside environment.
Pescovitz thought it was a pretty good idea, and so did customers who bought $2 million of pods last year. But the Sharks weren’t convinced, so Pescovitz decided to get creative with a product demonstration and show them just how weatherproof his pods are.
In the winter of 2016, Pescovitz stepped into one of his pods in the midst of a snowstorm, sans shirt — and captured the whole thing on video.
He heard back from producers five minutes later.
That was in March 2016. In September, Pescovitz flew to Los Angeles to tape his appearance on the show. There, he’d ask a panel of billionaire investors to take on an equity stake in his company — or, as Pescovitz put it, “get in a bubble and help our sales double.”
Pescovitz said the experience was an invigorating one, with his taping slot scheduled for 6:50 a.m.
“It was just really nerve-wracking being in front of [the Sharks], but as soon as I opened my mouth, it just started to flow,” Pescovitz said. “It was intense. I was in front of them for an hour and 20 minutes and they cut it down to like eight minutes.”
What Pescovitz said resonated with the Sharks, several of whom were interested in investing. But he wound up signing a deal with Mark Cuban, who offered him his initial ask of $600,000 for a 15 percent stake in Under the Weather with a 12-month option to buy more equity.
The episode featuring his pitch didn’t air until this month, though, so Pescovitz had to keep the results of the taping a secret.
Pescovitz, who majored in broadcast journalism and communications with a political science minor at Miami, has followed an atypical career trajectory since leaving Oxford. He worked as a sports producer at Cincinnati’s WKRC-TV and sold jewelry, apparel and uniforms before founding Under the Weather and renovating an abandoned tennis club in the Cincinnati area.
But for now, Pescovitz’ path seems set: he’ll continue working with Cuban and his team to develop the Under the Weather product line, an effort he says is going well thus far.
“If I travel and I bring a couple of the pods with me in their circular bag, people know of Under the Weather and they’ll bring it up to me. They don’t know who I am,” Pescovitz said. “It’s neat to see that something you’ve created is actually being used and people have great response from it.”