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Here’s what happened when a teen CEO from South Florida pitched her startup on ‘Shark Tank’

May 18th, 2016

The stars of ABC’s “Shark Tank” were quite impressed with Gladiator Lacrosse CEO Rachel Zietz and her business, but they wouldn’t make a deal.

The sharks figured the teenage CEO would do just fine without them, what with more than $1 million in sales. She was asking for $100,000 in exchange for a 15 percent stake in her South Florida-based company.

The episode in which Zietz appeared was filmed more than a year ago, but aired Friday night. Zietz and her family didn’t receive word that her pitch made it on the reality show until March because there were no guarantees she would eventually appear in an episode.

“I just don’t think you need the money at this point,” Businessman and “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec told Zietz after bowing out of the bids for her business.

Fellow shark Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary called the business a hobby with great potential. Inventor and “Queen of QVC” Lori Greiner said she was humbled by Zietz.

“You’re doing everything right,” she said. “I don’t think I could add value because it’s a space I don’t know.”

That was the lament of a few of the other sharks, including Mark Cuban, who was the first to utter the show’s unofficial catch phrase, “I’m out,” during Zietz’ pitch. Daymond John said he would be doing Zietz a disservice by taking part ownership of the company she built.

At the time the episode was filmed, Zietz said she was in talks with Wal-Mart for a deal. She estimated the entire market value for lacrosse products was in excess of $100 million, and she’s building her startup to be a top player.

“I hope to dominate the entire market,” the Boca Raton teen told the sharks as they asked questions about her company. “Not only am I the owner of the company, I’m a client as well. I use these products every day to improve my game.”

After the negotiations ended with no deal from the sharks, Zietz appeared confident and hopeful about the path ahead for her business.

“Even though I didn’t get a deal, I hope I inspired other entrepreneurs to start businesses and follow their passion,” she said at the end of her segment on the show.

Zietz launched her company in 2012 at age 13. The avid lacrosse player said she came up with the concept for her company due to the need for better equipment. Others seem to agree. Gladiator Lacrosse is projected to reach $2 million in sales this year.

Since launching her company, Zietz has garnered attention from major business news outlets, including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. She was also named a finalist for the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce’s 2015 Entrepreneur Award for young professionals.

Entrepreneurship runs in the family. Zietz is the daughter of Sam Zietz, CEO of Boca Raton-based TouchSuite.

Click here to read more about Gladiator Lacrosse and its young CEO.

Source: SFBJ

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