The evening after his appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” UF alumnus Mikey Lickstein’s phone broke after receiving numerous notifications that sales for a pet tag he created had gone up.
On the show, which aired last month, Lickstein, 25, aimed to convince five businesspeople, called “sharks,” to invest in his company, SiliDog, which makes silent, durable pet tags out of silicone. Shark Lori Greiner invested about $100,000 for a 30-percent stake in the company and a 50-cent royalty on each tag sold.
Before his “Shark Tank” appearance, Lickstein prepared by having his family members — many of whom work with him — act as mock sharks, drilling him on questions the investors would likely ask, he said.
“I haven’t slept,” Lickstein said. “I studied for this as if it was the largest test of my life.”
Lickstein began SiliDog near the end of 2013, investing $5,000 of his bar mitzvah money to start the company, which he ran out of his Weston, Florida, home.
His mutt, Bentley, a roadside rescue, inspired the company, he said. Bentley would often destroy his dog tags, and after replacing four tags in one month, Lickstein began brainstorming what products could last longer.
After playing with an “indestructible” dog toy made of silicone, he decided to make Bentley a tag out of the material.
UF professor Jamie Kraft said he had faith that Lickstein’s idea would get an investment. Lickstein has had a positive attitude since being a UF graduate student in entrepreneurship.
“He wanted to make a difference, and that inspiration definitely was infectious,” Kraft said. “You could see he was very positive, and it was going to be hard to deter him from moving forward with the idea.”