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LuminAID co-founders to appear on ABC's 'Shark Tank' on Friday night

Feb 20, 2015   |   by Meg Graham   |   Chicago Tribune

It’s a good thing LuminAID’s solar-powered lamps are waterproof — its founders are headed to the Shark Tank.

[Dartmouth engineer] Anna Stork ['08] and Andrea Sreshta, who designed their first lamps in 2010 and incorporated the Chicago-based social-impact company a year later, are scheduled to appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Friday night. The show begins at 8 p.m. CT.

LuminAID light

LuminAID’s co-founders follow Chicago-based companies Packback, BZbox and Fun Time Express on the hit show, on which entrepreneurs pitch their products and ideas to a panel of investors, including billionaire Mark Cuban. Founders of those three companies appeared on the show within the past year and received investments ranging from $50,000 to $250,000.

“Shark Tank” tapes episodes months in advance, but people who appear on the show say they can’t share details with the media until after the broadcast.

“You get a chance to tell the story behind the product,” Sreshta told Blue Sky on Tuesday. “You don’t have a chance to do that when someone just sees your product on a store shelf.”

Stork and Sreshta set out to design a product to help post-earthquake relief in Haiti, and they landed on a waterproof light that could be packed and shipped flat. Today, their solar-powered lights are on the pages of the L.L. Bean catalog and on shelves of Bass Pro Shops.

The company, an up-and-comer winner at last year's Chicago Innovation Awards, is rolling out a new series of lights for emergency kits and camping use this year.

Sreshta said Friday’s viewers will see their LuminAID V.1, which retails for $19.95.

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