After his company got a boost from his appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Colorado entrepreneur Anthony Franco said the business has continued to grow despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The company, mcSquares, has quadrupled the size of its physical operations, expanding into a 25,000-square foot building in Thornton. Franco, founder and CEO of the startup, said the 600% growth it reported in the first quarter of this year has continued.
In addition, the company has landed a deal with the Novi School District in Michigan that will put its personal whiteboards in the hands of more than 6,000 students and teachers. The company makes a line of products that includes dry-erase tablets, desktop white boards and a type of reusable sticky note that doesn’t use adhesion, designed for use in classrooms and corporate meeting rooms.
Franco said teachers and students are using the personal whiteboards during online classes and sharing their work via the webcam. Students attending classes in person can carry the whiteboards in their backpacks, he said.
The company also finalized the deal it started when Franco pitched mcSquares on a “Shark Tank” episode that aired in May. Kevin O’Leary, one of the business titans featured on the show that gives entrepreneurs a shot at success, pledged to contribute $300,000 for a 25% stake in the business. Franco didn’t want to go above a 10% share, but relented.
However, in July, a deal was struck that gives O’Leary an 11% stake in the business. He also contributed $50,000 and helped mcSquares launch a crowdfunding campaign that has raised $500,000 of the $700,000 goal, Franco said.
“As we started looking at the company, we realized the company had significantly changed from when we shook hands on it,” Franco said. “We agreed that this is essentially a better deal for both of us. We gave him a better deal on the valuation and took in less capital.”
The company is hiring new employees and anticipates increasing the staff to 25 by the end of the year. In May, Franco predicted his company would make about $3 million in sales this year. He now expects to exceed that if the current rate of growth continues.
Another milestone Franco likes to share is 1 billion, as in 1 billion paper sticky notes that he projects didn’t end up in landfills because people used the company’s reusable, erasable sticky notes. He said a six pack of the reusable notes replaces 12,000 paper sticky notes.