Florida-based Justin Rietema, 34, and Doug Schultz, 38, will pitch the Sharks on the Bottoms Up, a dual-purpose life vest that can be inverted and worn like a pair of shorts, and the Scuttlebutt, a saddle-like float that also can be used as in-water lounge chair or kayak seat.
Rietema and Schultz are landscape architects by trade who founded H3O Sports in 2011, growing their business at night and on weekends. Schultz is a father of three boys under five and Rietema is expecting his first child in November.
A pivotal milestone came in 2016, when the Bottoms Up received U.S. Coast Guard approval as a type III flotation aid suitable for rescues in calm waters. The duo next set their sights on Shark Tank.
After applying online and mailing in product samples, they attended an open audition in Miami, where a producer recognized the Bottoms Up and Scuttlebutt.
Schultz said, “The producer told us that he sent our products to friends with a lake house who absolutely loved them. Needless to say, they passed us straight through to the next round.”
When Schultz and Rietema got the email that they were scheduled to film the show, they had a hard time believing it.
Schultz added, “Before we went in, we decided that instead of targeting one investor, we would be open to all of them since each Shark brings a different approach and set of skills to the table.”
While these two entrepreneurs can’t reveal the outcome of their time in the tank, they have no regrets about their experience.
“Our goal has always been to provide consumers with multi-use floats and life vests that make their time on the water more enjoyable,” Rietema said.
The Bottoms Up and Scuttlebutt are available online at HumanBobber.com. Follow the company on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @humanbobber.