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Imagine being able to barbecue burgers and hot dogs right on the water, without having to go back to shore. That’s exactly what Mike Bashawaty and Jeremy Quillico, two Michigan entrepreneurs, envisioned when they created Float N Grill. Their innovative floating grill quickly gained popularity after a viral Facebook video showcased its capabilities. From appearing on Shark Tank to securing a licensing deal, it seemed like Float N Grill was destined for success. However, the journey took a sudden turn when the company faced patent issues and ultimately vanished from the market. Join us as we explore the captivating story behind Float N Grill’s rise and fall.
The Float N Grill Story: From Viral Video to Vanishing Act
Introduction to Float N Grill
Float N Grill, the innovative floating grill that allowed people to barbecue burgers and hot dogs while out on the water, was the brainchild of co-founders Mike Bashawaty and Jeremy Quillico. The idea first came to Bashawaty in 2015 when he purchased a jet boat and realized the convenience of being able to grill right on the water. Together, Bashawaty and Quillico embarked on a journey to create a floating grill that was both functional and easy to use. After years of development, they successfully designed a buoyant base made of food-safe HDPE plastic, with a propane grill mounted on top. This revolutionary product opened up a world of possibilities for grilling enthusiasts who wanted to enjoy their favorite foods while boating or relaxing at the beach.
Development of the Floating Grill
The development process for Float N Grill was not without its challenges. Bashawaty and Quillico faced obstacles in finding a manufacturer willing to produce their product, as most factories in China were hesitant to take on a new product that required extensive plastic molding. However, their perseverance paid off, and they eventually found a Chinese company to manufacture the floating grills. In 2019, Float N Grill made its debut at the Detroit Boat Show, where it received positive feedback and generated initial sales. The founders continued to refine their product and launched the official Float N Grill website in 2020, making it available for online purchase. Despite the initial viral buzz, sales numbers remained relatively low, indicating that there were still challenges to overcome in bringing Float N Grill to a wider market.
The Viral Facebook Video
The turning point for Float N Grill came in 2018 when a short Facebook video showcasing the floating grill went viral. In just three days, the video garnered an astonishing 5 million views, capturing the attention of viewers who were captivated by the idea of grilling while floating on the water. The immense online response demonstrated the widespread interest in this unique product and set Bashawaty and Quillico on a mission to fully develop, manufacture, and launch Float N Grill as a must-have summer accessory.
Challenges in Manufacturing and Sales
Despite the viral success of the Facebook video, Bashawaty and Quillico faced challenges in translating social media buzz into significant sales. They struggled to find a balance between pricing the product competitively and covering the costs of manufacturing and distribution. Additionally, delays in production and distribution from China further hindered their sales efforts. The founders recognized the need for a breakthrough to boost sales and turned to the popular television show “Shark Tank” for an opportunity to pitch their product to potential investors.
Appearance on Shark Tank
In early 2021, Bashawaty and Quillico auditioned for “Shark Tank” and were selected to present their product to the celebrity investors. They sought a $200,000 investment for a 20% equity stake in their company. However, the sharks expressed concerns about the low sales numbers and questioned the valuation of the company. Despite the skepticism, billionaire investor Daniel Lubetsky saw potential in licensing Float N Grill and made a deal with the founders. This partnership provided a glimmer of hope for Float N Grill’s future success.
The Licensing Deal and Hopes for Success
With the licensing deal in place, Float N Grill seemed poised for a resurgence. Lubetsky’s investment and industry connections offered the potential for increased manufacturing capabilities and distribution channels. The founders expressed optimism about partnering with a major grilling company, hinting at a potential collaboration with Weber Grills. The future looked bright as Float N Grill became available for purchase once again on various platforms.
The Downfall: Patent Issues and Disappearance
Unfortunately, the promising trajectory of Float N Grill came to an abrupt halt due to patent issues. The founders had filed a patent for their unique floating platform design, but their request for a reissue patent was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Without patent protection, Float N Grill was vulnerable to copycats and knockoffs, leading the founders to make the difficult decision to cease operations entirely. The company disappeared from the market, leaving behind a legacy of a once-innovative product that was unable to overcome legal challenges.
The Legacy of Float N Grill
While Float N Grill may have vanished from the market, its impact and legacy live on. The viral Facebook video and the brief availability of the product captured the imagination of grilling enthusiasts worldwide. Float N Grill offered a unique solution for those who wanted to enjoy a barbecue while on the water, and its disappearance serves as a reminder of the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in bringing innovative products to market. Though the journey of Float N Grill may have ended prematurely, its story serves as inspiration for future inventors and entrepreneurs who strive to turn their ideas into reality.
Remember that viral Facebook video of the floating grill that took the internet by storm in 2018? Well, it turns out that the creators of the Float N Grill, Mike Bashawaty and Jeremy Quillico, had a rollercoaster journey bringing their innovative product to market. After gaining massive popularity on social media and even appearing on Shark Tank, the floating barbecue grill mysteriously vanished from the market. Despite their efforts, manufacturing and patent issues ultimately led to the closure of Float N Grill. While you can no longer buy this unique floating grill, you may still find it on used marketplaces. Thank you for joining us on this wild ride and stay tuned for more fascinating stories!