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Whatever Happened To Slick Barrier After Shark Tank?

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If there's two things we love at Looper, it's weird "Shark Tank" pitches and unnecessary scorpions. So you can imagine our excitement when those two joys were brought together when Slick Barrier appeared on the popular ABC reality investing program in January 2023.

Championed by inventors Aaron and Tony Gonzales, this pest control product admittedly doesn't sound like the sort of thing "Shark Tank" normally enjoys. In fact, being fans of the Tank before landing a spot on the show in 2023, the pair tried and failed to get the producers interested at an open call in 2019. The question became, "How exactly do you turn an explanation of a simple pest control product into good television?" 

Scorpions. You add scorpions to the pitch. 

The Gonzaleses created a demo pitch to prove just how exciting pest repellant could be on primetime television, and, as luck would have it, producers went absolutely buggy for the idea. After months of emailing back and forth with the studio, Slick Barrier had squirmed its way into the "Shark Tank."

Slick Barrier brought the Sharks scorpions

Though Slick Barrier appeared on "Shark Tank" in January 2023, Aaron and Tony Gonzales filmed their segment months earlier in late 2022. The pitch was simple but effective: Pests enter your house from the exterior of the ground floor, but this patented paint-like product will make it so they can't get traction on the outer walls. Right away, the patent caught the Sharks' attention, as did the product's humane solution to pest control. After all, poisonous pesticides aren't only dangerous to unwanted critters, but also to wandering wildlife, and even your own pets.

The Gonzaleses were seeking $500,000 in exchange for 10% of their company, and — to keep the pressure on the Sharks — they stood on blocks coated in Slick Barrier and surrounded by live, poisonous scorpions until they received an offer. Mark Cuban was the first to bow out, as he couldn't justify the profit scaling options. Three other Sharks followed suit, leaving only Lori Greiner alone in the Tank. In a later interview on YouTube with business educator Joe Pardo, the Gonzaleses revealed they had Greiner in mind from the start, even making direct eye contact with her during their walk into the Tank.

Greiner gave them a steep but fair offer: $500,000 in exchange for 15% — but $400,000 of that investment would be a loan with a two-year term and standard interest. Nonetheless, with the encouragement of the room, the Gonzaleses accepted her offer and left their "Shark Tank" taping with the partner they'd hoped for.

Slick Barrier's spam folder almost repelled their Shark Tank success

After they wrapped up their "Shark Tank" episode, the show's producers reminded them that even a deal with Lori Greiner wasn't a guarantee that they'd appear when the episode aired in January. Normally, "Shark Tank" contestants are notified three weeks in advance if their pitch is going to make it to air, but because a producer's email went to their spam folder, Aaron and Taylor Gonzales found it a week later.

They scrambled to prepare for the "Shark Tank" effect, building up their website, scheduling press appearances, and, most importantly, preparing their inventory to respond to a wider customer base than ever. Sure enough, in the aftermath of the episode's airing, the Gonzaleses were completely overrun with orders.

In their interview with Joe Pardo, the pair revealed that their episode almost didn't air. In the case of a national newsworthy event (such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine), ABC occasionally chooses to air a special broadcast instead. While the Gonzaleses didn't reveal what the national event was, based on their tone of voice — and a cursory glance at the top news stories from that time period — it was likely tragic in nature.

Is Slick Barrier still in business?

As of writing, Slick Barrier is still in business, though it doesn't seem as though they ultimately closed their deal with Lori Greiner. Having accepted the offer at the taping in the fall of 2022, Aaron and Taylor Gonzales confirmed to Joe Pardo in February of the following year that they were still in negotiations and had yet to finalize the agreement made months earlier. Casting further doubt on the successful closing of the deal is an April 2023 blog post on the Slick Barrier website seeking potential investors. Unless they blew through the $500,000 cash infusion Greiner offered in under a year, it seems unlikely that they would seek further investment immediately after closing a deal with her.

On the bright side, Slick Barrier is now available at Home Depot in the Gonzaleses' home state of Arizona, and they continue to offer their product online. The starter kit, which costs $149, has only been reviewed by four customers on Amazon — they're evenly split between 5 stars and 1 star. Consumer advocacy website Kefhala gave it a mixed-to-negative review in January 2023, though most of its assessment was based on the company's perceived newness.

Slick Barrier wants go global

Moving forward, Slick Barrier wants to continue revolutionizing the archaic pest control industry by securing its national market before expanding globally. Aaron and Taylor Gonzales didn't choose scorpions as their unofficial "Shark Tank" mascot at random — they're apparently a huge problem in Arizona, with the entrepreneurs having personally experienced a family member suffering a near-fatal sting.

Every area has its own scorpions — pests that are just as common as they are dangerous. Ideally, the Gonzaleses want to collaborate with regional pest experts in America and around the world to develop products tailored to specific animals. There's also seemingly a desire to increase its effectiveness against large critters, such as rats, mice, and even bats.

For now, Slick Barrier is yet another "Shark Tank" product vying for space in a crowded online marketplace. Should their deal with Home Depot prove fruitful — and should they secure the capital they originally sought — Slick Barrier could truly change the way people think about pest control.