(ABC4 News – Ogden, UT) Utah has one of the highest appearance rates in the country for an ABC show called Shark Tank, including Ogden-based, Insta-Fire.
They ended up with deal with both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner.
It all started when Insta-Fire, C.E.O., Konel Banner was a B.S.A. Scoutmaster. He saw a demonstration of a rock burning at a mountain man rendezvous. The problem was that it was made with some pretty nasty ingredient. Banner and his business partner, Frank Weston, told me the journey of making a safe, all-natural version of a Firestarter; “We spend 9 months in an owl infested warehouse and the first time you light it, whoosh, no, that’s not what we want. Second time didn’t light at all. We tried it over and over. It took about 9 months to get the formula we have now.”
So how many tries did it take before they got it right? Weston said; “Probably in the neighborhood of 50 to a 100 thousand tries.”
It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words. Konel does a great demonstration. “What we’ve got is the safest yet most powerful fire starter charcoal briquet lighter and emergency fuel on the planet. You just touch it with a match or a lighter. It lights similar to a candle. Once it’s lit, it will take a 20-30-mile wind. It will float or burn on water. I can burn on snow, ice, sand or whatever but it is so safe, if I do need to put in out I put it out on itself.
How did being on Shark Tank impact Insta-Fire’s business? Weston explained; “Now we’re in Walmart, Target. We’re shipping all over the world now. It is, in one word “busy”. Now that we’ve been on Shark Tank. We were able to buy and purchase a bagging machine that automated the process.”
Insta-Fire used to hand package about 7000 pouches a day. They used the money from Mark and Lori to purchase automation machinery that increased production capacity…big time. Weston told me; “we can do 70,000.”
The investment has also allowed Insta-Fire to create new products including a pretty awesome Plasma Lighter that takes a USB charge, a USDA Certified hickory fire log, and my favorite, a stove called “The Inferno.”
Konel showed me and said; “We can control the temperature of the fuel. They can go from a simmer to a boil. You can boil water in under 3 minutes with it.” Frank got enthusiastic and exclaimed; “A whole box of macaroni and cheese in 2 minutes and 39 seconds. Bam.”
With another Utah Success Story, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.
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