KidRunner, a Bend-based startup that makes a pull-behind-you kid jogger, will be on ABC’s Shark Tank this Friday at 9 p.m. Founder Will Warne wasn’t able to divulge the result of the show, but says he and local long-distance superstar Max King, an athlete-ambassador for the company, appeared before the sharks.
“Appearing on Shark Tank is an amazing opportunity made possible by our dedicated team and all the parent-runners out there who have participated in our story,” Warne says in a news release. “Since day one, our commitment has been to design, develop and manufacture the most innovative, high-performing kid jogger on the market and we’re excited to share our efforts with millions of viewers across the country.”
Warne had the idea for jogger five years ago, as he was looking for a way to exercise more comfortably with his then baby daughter. He’s noted that regular jogging strollers were fairly restrictive in terms of what you can do with them, and that the basic design hasn’t been innovated for decades.
“The very best stroller in the world still sucks to run with. You can’t go on trails. You can’t go to the beach. You can’t go on hardpack. You’re pretty limited for the money you spend. You can go to Safeway and Starbucks, but you can’t really do anything active,” Warne told BendBroadband Business last fall.
As someone who spent a lot of time running with — and cursing at — my jogging stroller, I can tell you that the design really does have an appeal. Instead of pushing a stroller, you connect a KidRunner to your waist with a belt and then pull it behind you. King won a 10k race pulling his daughter in one.
The company has picked up steam over the past two years. Warne landed a spot on the concept stage of the 2014 BVC, hired a team of ambassadors (parent-runners and professional athletes) to spread the word about the project and partnered with Central Oregon-based Composite Approach to manufacture the product.
The company has a limited number of pre-orders ready for after Shark Tank airs. You can pre-order one off the KidRunner website. The joggers cost $1,200, and deliveries will be made within six months. “We are the only kid jogger made in the U.S./Bend, Ore. with advanced, sports oriented materials and technology like carbon, fiber glass, etc.,” Warne says.
KidRunner is creating a new, “sport” space in this market more like skis, snowboards, mountain bikes, etc which sell for $1,200.00 minimums and are often used fewer times per year, etc than a kid jogger, which can be used year round for several years and multiple kids. Enthusiastic, early adopters will be included in a fun and interesting community process of manufacturing, etc. Think Tesla cars, not BoB strollers!
The company is spending this week getting ready for the publicity rush, updating the website, tuning its e-commerce platform and ramping up its social media. Tune in Friday night to see what happens.
You can reach Kelly by email at [email protected].