There wasn’t a dry eye in Sunday's "Shark Tank."
Kaley, Christian and Keira Young may have wowed the sharks with their late father’s invention, but it’s the Young family’s story that broke their hearts.
“It was his dream to pitch it on 'Shark Tank,' ” Kaley said of the Cup Board Pro, a chopping board with a detachable bowl for easy cleanup. “Unfortunately, he passed away before he had that chance, but we’re here today to continue his legacy and make that dream a reality.”
And they did: Sony Pictures Television, which produces "Shark Tank," said Monday that within 18 hours, 26,000 Cup Board Pros had been sold, worth more than $1 million in sales.
Keith Young, seen briefly in a video demonstration of the product, was a New York City firefighter who assisted in cleanup at Ground Zero after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He died three months before the “Tank” taping last May from cancer related to the 9/11 effort. The Cup Board Pro bears the insignia of all the firefighters who died in that tragedy.
This especially resonated with guest shark Matt Higgins, an investor who also helped at Ground Zero. “I met a lot of brave people like your dad, and a lot of people lost their lives, so it’s great that you’re doing this.”
But Keith was faced with another tragedy: The two-time champion on Food Network’s cooking series "Chopped" had to set aside his dream to take care of his dying wife. And the power of their story left several sharks, including Daymond John, teary-eyed.
“As he was getting his first prototypes, our mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, and he put everything on hold to be at her side,” Kaley said. “On Aug. 22, 2012, God called our mom home, and our dad showed us what strength was in every moment he continued to show up for us, and in life in general. He was a true inspiration, like our mom."
Now, the three entrepreneurs, ranging in age from 15 to 24, hope to honor their parents' legacy. They started an online store and are running the business out of their living room.
“It’s kind of hard to overwhelm the three of us, because of the amount of stress you go through seeing a loved one sick,” Kaley said. “We’re only able to be here because of how strong our parents were.”
And in a rare move, all five sharks – John, Higgins, Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner – came together to help: They jointly offered $100,000 for a 20 percent stake in the business, and promised to donate profits to a charity that helps firefighters affected on 9/11.
“The story’s amazing,” Cuban said. “You have a million reasons to be proud. Your father will live on forever through each of you and his product.”