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Everything To Know About Paddlesmash From Shark Tank

What would happen if pickleball and spikeball had a love child? You get Paddlesmash, the new game that's bringing these increasingly popular activities together in a fun, interactive package. 

The rules of the game are relatively simple. The setup involves a small, transportable court encased in a net where teams of two stand around, although you can also do one-on-one and several other team varieties. Each team member stands across from one another and uses their paddles to bump the ball back into the court. However, each team is only granted three hits to get the ball into the court. To be considered a legal hit, the ball must bounce off the court and go over and out of the net. If it fails to exit the net or hits the ground outside, the opposing team gets a point. Most users get the hang of it within the first 5 to 10 minutes of playing the game.

Pickleball has been picking up steam as of late and is commonly recognized as the fastest-growing sport nationwide. As of January 2023, upward of 36.5 million individuals within the United States are said to be playing the game, an astronomical explosion in growth considering that under 5 million were doing so in 2021. Combined with the time-tested appeal of spikeball, Paddlesmash is looking to become the next big thing in recreational sports. We'll soon see how well the company plays in the game of business when it appears on this Friday's episode of "Shark Tank," but until that time, here are some fun facts about Paddlesmash and its creators. 

A lot of kids and few pickleball options sparked the birth of Paddlesmash

Like many innovations, Paddlesmash was created out of necessity. Engineer Joe Bingham was seeking new ways to entertain his rowdy family of seven. They gravitated toward playing pickleball whenever they could, but given that the nearest court was 20 minutes away and often packed with players, Bingham needed to find a more feasible solution. After some experimenting, he developed what would end up becoming Paddlesmash. 

The game not only became a hit with the Utah-based family unit but also with their neighbors and close friends. Among them were two savvy entrepreneurs named Tim Swindle and Scott Brown, who immediately became smitten by Paddlesmash. "When we got our hands on the prototype, we loved it," Brown said in an interview with Forbes. "We started showing it to our friends and network. Based on those initial conversations, the immediate follow-up by some of their contacts was: Can I invest?" The duo went on to raise $500,000 from private investors before licensing the game under their company, Glacier Games. From there, they worked on tweaking the design to create a more durable and functional product. 

The company has made some major retail deals and even went viral

It didn't take long for Paddlesmash to start ramping up success. The product was initially sold on Amazon, but by late 2022, the team struck deals with major sports retailers such as Dick's Sporting Goods and Scheels to start selling the game in their stores. Additionally, they began testing at Chicken N' Pickle, a restaurant-slash-sports-bar that allows customers the chance to relax and eat while also playing games such as pickleball. "We love seeing people of all ages and abilities gathered around for a bit of friendly competition," Chicken N' Pickle Senior Vice President Kelli Alldredge told Forbes. "Because Chicken N Pickle fosters an atmosphere of fun, friendship and community, offering Paddlesmash to our guests has been a natural fit. We plan to purchase one for each of our locations and look forward to planning and hosting Paddlesmash events."

The following year brought a new level of awareness to Paddlesmash in an unexpected way. A video posted on TikTok in July showcasing a group playing the game in a serene natural landscape garnered over 14 million views and 350,000 likes. Much of their social media content presents the wide range of environments that Paddlesmash can be played in, from rickety lake boardwalks to sandy beaches. On top of this, the company has been covered by major outlets such as The Today Show, ABC, CBS, and The Wall Street Journal. 

People are loving the game so far

Backing up Paddlesmash's credibility are not just impressive retail collaborators and social media views, but also myriad positive reviews from users of the exciting new game. On its website, the product has a 4.9 out of 5-star average rating based on 38 current reviews and a 4.5 out of 5-star average on Amazon from 59 reviewers. One Amazon reviewer who has had the game since Christmas not only loved the addictive fun and transportability of the product but also commended the business' customer service quality. "The company is awesome as well – we have broken a couple of pieces during intense games and the company sent out replacement parts no questions asked. Definitely 100% recommend to anyone and everyone!!!" they stated.

It seems that the Paddlesmash will have a fair matchup against the wealthy investors of "Shark Tank." With a product that fills a unique need, promising retail aspects, and plenty of happy customers, the brand has the potential to generate millions with the aid of an investor. Chances are, the sharks will question the possibility of competitors taking after the company, but given its founders' extensive experience in the entrepreneurial space, it's likely they have a solution in store. 

For those wanting to give Paddlesmash a try, the company is currently running a sale on its website in celebration of its "Shark Tank" appearance, slashing its near-$200 price point to $169.99 for a limited time. Additionally, you can purchase the game through Amazon as well as select Dick's Sporting Goods and Scheels locations. 

What happened to Paddlesmash on Shark Tank?

Entering the "Shark Tank" in identical neon-yellow outfits, Tim Swindle and Scott Brown introduce the panel of celebrity investors to Paddlesmash. They smartly paint a quick, clear, memorable picture of the product's appeal: a marriage of pickleball — the so-called "fastest growing sport in America" — and fellow "Shark Tank" alum Spikeball. Though the deal Spikeball made with Daymond John never closed, the product went on to be a massive success. Mark Cuban even refers to it affectionately as "the one deal I missed."

Suffice it to say, Swindle and Brown have more than secured the Sharks' interest. Factor in the reasonable buy-in price of $250,000 (against $700,000 in sales over the company's first nine months alone) and the entrepreneurs seem ready to score. The single issue, however, is the equity offer: Swindle and Brown are only willing to part with 10% of Paddlesmash in exchange for the $250,000 — it's immediately clear this won't satisfy the Great White appetites in the room.

Kevin O'Leary opens negotiations asking for 20%, only for Mark to align himself with Robert Herjavec to match Mr. Wonderful at 20% (10% each). The entrepreneurs are visibly uncomfortable giving up so much of the company; as they have yet to cut themselves a salary, equity is really all they have in terms of income. Nevertheless, Mark and Robert (both part-owners of the Dallas Pickleball Club) refuse to budge. Even though Kevin drops his ask to 15%, Swindle and Brown decide to take Mark and Robert's deal.