INDIANAPOLIS — Calling all entrepreneurs and Hoosiers with a great idea.
The hit ABC show, Shark Tank, is hosting an open call at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
People can prepare to pitch their best ideas to producers for the show on Monday.
But before you go, WRTV spoke to two moms who made their Shark Tank debut on a past season with their best tips and advice for your budding business.
It starts with a problem.
Addie Gundry's problem was the pain many parents feel in public, the dreaded diaper blow out.
It happens from time to time and when it does, parents and caregivers march into the public restroom, diaper bag in hand, ready to remedy a big mess.
Panic sets in as parents work to keep their squirmy, poop-covered baby on the plastic changing table while with the other hand, they reach for wipes, a new diaper, and a new outfit.
"I had to keep bending down to get the diapers and then the wipes and then the change of clothes and there was no where to put my purse and the safety strap was broken," said Addie Gundry, now mom of two. "And my purse kept falling off my shoulder. I dropped my pacifier and all I kept thinking was how could I put my precious cargo down on something so filthy."
She's talking about that plastic, pull-down changing table.
She says she wonders, who knows when it was last cleaned or sanitized?
Frustrated, Gundry comes out of that restroom and tells her table that she could make a better one.
And she got to work.
While on maternity leave, Gundry created the plans and dreams for a futuristic changing table for public restrooms, one that prioritizes sanitation and safety.
She got introduced to a fellow mom, Brittany Hizer, in the process, who is an Indianapolis native and graduate of Cathedral High School.
"I was a new mom myself," said Hizer. "I was traveling for work, so having to use a lot of public diaper changing tables, from airports to rest stops."
And while the pandemic heightened our senses for sanitation, Hizer says the concept of a cleaner changing table came prior to that time.
During the pandemic, the two got to work, and their company Pluie launched in 2021.
Pluie is the world's first self-sanitizing changing table for public restrooms.
"You open the table, change your baby's diaper, close it, and in 60 seconds the entire surface is sanitized by UVC lights," said Gundry.
She shows off the comfortable foam pad for the baby, a more squishy surface than your typical plastic changing table. There are hooks and places to hold your bag or purse so your things are up off the dirty bathroom floors. The safety strap for the baby comes out from one side and retracts so it stays clean inside the device and fits snug across the baby.
And as she mentioned, it cleans itself when the user is finished in a minute's time.
The pair says the product shows customers when they enter a facility that the business or organization is committed to health and keeps parents from leaving the business to go out to their car to change their baby.
"It's all about starting with a problem," said Hizer. "And then be really clear on how you are going to solve it."
Their ingenuity led them to landing a spot on the hit show, Shark Tank.
"Shark Tank was surreal I mean there's no other way to describe it," said Gundry. "It's sort of this out of body experience."
They say their pitch on the show took a ton of preparation. Viewers only see a few minutes of the nearly hour time they spent in front of the sharks. Only the monologue pitch at the beginning is scripted. The Sharks do not know any details about their business before they enter the room and they do now know what questions they could ask, so Hizer and Gundry prepared for just about anything.
"You know we have a 50 page document of what questions we may be asked and how to answer them," said Gundry. "So it was really neat just internally for us as a team to prepare."
They say in the months leading up to the taped portion of the show, they had to really open up their books and financial to the casting and go over every detail of their business and make sure they could be ready to answer these questions from the sharks.
Even so, they say Mark Cuban asked a question at the beginning that they hadn't even practiced for so you have to be ready to think on your feet.
They do have some advice to anyone looking to get on the show.
"Use your network and really leverage it, and so pitch in front of as many people as you can. Practice, share your idea, because you will get different feedback," said Gundry. "If you have an idea, no matter what stage you are at, share it and get advice because you will learn so much."
Remember that investors what to know more about you and your reason for creating this idea.
"Tell your story, share details about your career your background," said Hizer. "Because what we've learned is when an investor is potentially looking at investing in a product or an idea, they are actually really investing in you."
Be confident in your idea and its purpose.
"You have to be very risk averse, a little naïve and very optimistic to be an entrepreneur," said Gundry. "So if you have an idea, go for it."
As for Pluie, they may not have made a deal with the sharks, but the exposure the show provided opened many doors to new customers and helped them feel really secure in their pitch and business.
They will continue to work towards their goal of getting Pluie in all of the nearly 4 million public restrooms across the country.
They are also launching a product for consumers so caregivers can bring a little bit of Pluie into their own homes.
Right now, you can find Pluie at several spots across central Indiana including at the Indianapolis International Airport, Conner Prairie, the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing, and more.
You can learn more about Pluie by visiting their website https://hellopluie.com/
And if you want to learn more about the Shark Tank Open Call in Indy, visit https://abc.com/shows/shark-tank/open-call