Proving Kevin O’Leary Wrong: RI Startup BedJet’s Success Since Appearing on ‘Shark Tank’

Cool and Warm Arrows 1

Recently, Rhode Islander Mark Aramli made an appearance on ABC’s hit show Shark Tank to offer investors a chance to partner with his company, BedJet.

BedJet is an air-driven climate control machine for your bed. A small motor is used to send hot or cool air under the covers of your bed so that you can sleep at the temperature you find comfortable. If you and your spouse like to sleep at different temperatures, they also offer a Dual Zone system that allows you to set separate temperatures. You can even set the system to blow cool air in the morning to wake you up!

So how did Aramli come up with the idea for BedJet? Aramli said he had been thinking about the idea for over 12 years, and finally decided to act on it when his mother was stuck in bed for a couple of weeks after having surgery. His mother lives in a 100-year-old drafty house, so he said they had difficulty keeping her perfectly comfortable. They tried electric blankets, space heaters, and heating pads, but everything was too hot or too cold or left too many wires in her bed.

At that moment, Aramli said he realized he needed to bring his idea to life, and he certainly had the experience required to set off on the right foot. Aramli had been working in the startup industry for years as a consultant, helping companies create new products and bring their businesses to the marketplace. He also worked on space suit climate control for astronauts as an engineer at NASA, which facilitated the design process of BedJet.

According to Aramli, the hardest part of starting up his company was finding the money to open his company and still support himself. “I had to spend every penny of my life savings, borrow every penny that I could, and still work a full-time job along the way. It was a huge gamble, and if the business failed, I would’ve had a mountain of debt,” said Aramli.

Luckily, many people were willing to help BedJet get its start. Aramli created a Kickstarter campaign and was able to raise almost $60,000 to fund his company. The Kickstarter campaign was also the reason BedJet was offered the chance to appear on Shark Tank. Producers had found the campaign and reached out to Aramli to see if he would be interested in applying to the show. Aramli applied and flew out to California to present his business plan to the investors.

Unfortunately, the investors didn’t make an offer. Aramli says it’s because they didn’t know enough about the industry: “It’s really important to be pitching your product in front of investors who understand your product and market, and it was clear the sharks didn’t understand the mattress or sleep industry.”

Aramli might have walked away from Shark Tank without an investment, but since the show was filmed six months ago, he has proven that he didn’t need one to pave a pathway to success. During the filming of Shark Tank, BedJet was pre-production, but now the company is beginning to roll out their product to some of the biggest brands in the country, including Mattress Firm, the #1 largest mattress retailer in North America, Brookstone, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Berkshire Hathaway Furniture Group, which is the parent company of local furniture company Jordan’s Furniture.

“Sales on the website are fantastic…Six months after filming, our valuation is probably five times what it was in front of the sharks,” said Aramli. “I’m pretty confident we are on track to be the Shark Tank losers that laugh all the way to the bank.”

As a consultant to startups and a startup founder, Aramli has a lot of advice to offer entrepreneurs. His number one piece of advice? Put off using other people’s money for as long as you can. “The further you can go and the more progress you can demonstrate, it’s less of the company you have to give away for money,” said Aramli.

Aramli said it was a blessing that they didn’t give away a big piece of their company to the sharks when they were pre-production because now they are worth so much more. He says the company looks forward to making a profit this year and will be hiring in-state at its Newport headquarters.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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