Qubits creator Mark Burginger reveals the journey of his toy following success on the US version of Dragons' Den.
Whatever happened to Qubits Toy?
Chances are this is your question after seeing Qubits Toy re-run of Shark Tank (the US version of Dragons' Den) on CNBC. Only a handful of toy products have been shown on the show, we were the first toy ever filmed for the show.
Allow us to share our background regarding this first season episode.
The original pitch was filmed in July of 2009. The first time it was shown on ABC was in Feb of 2010. Since then it has been shown on CNBC twice, this broadcast on January 30th marks the fourth time Qubits has been shown on national US TV.
This episode was filmed at Sony Studios during the very first weeks of filming Season One Shark Tank. The pitch was unorthodox and a bit clumsy. The goal was to sign up all five Sharks as “board members” who would help improve and eventually sell our idea to one of the major toy companies for a very large sum of money. That type of negotiation never materialised.
Since they would be investing more money into the development of the toy, we felt they should have the controlling interest (This is what any major equity partner would require). However, this offer seemed suspicious to several of the Sharks and it actually worked against me.
Once I saw how badly our toy was going over with the Sharks I soon realised I was in trouble.
The Sharks basically didn’t feel I had the ability to go up against LEGO (no kidding?). That was never a primary goal because LEGO is a multi-billion dollar company with a great product. We only wanted to compete in the smaller portion of the construction toy sector. The Sharks couldn’t get past the David and Goliath effect and they all quickly opted out.
Qubits was too brand new for Shark Tank, too small, too meaningless for their time.
However one of the Sharks (Daymond John) was impressed enough with the toy maker’s efforts and he liked the quirky unique toy brand called “Qubits”.
He felt he could protect his potential investment by enclosing it within what is known as a “Contingency Clause” A contingency is like an IF-THEN-ELSE statement in computer programming.
IF Daymond was able to sell the toy to a major corporation for millions THEN Daymond would share that information with Qubits in exchange for $90K plus 51 per cent of the earnings.
ELSE- if not successful then the deal was finished.
Daymond then enlisted the help of Kevin O’Leary (He is the toy guy after all thanks to his Mattel deal) and they proceeded to promote Qubits to the big guys.
One of the big guys was very interested, but they were already developing their own “LEGO competitor” so eventually this big corporation decided to not get involved with Qubits.
As it turned out Daymond let me and my family-owned business know the bad news. In March of 2010 the Shark Tank deal was over. Just like Daymond predicted, “If we get the deal, we get the deal,” otherwise Qubits would be alerted and they could carry on with their own business separately.
Since that time, a lot has transpired. Right now, Qubits Toys is nearing the release of Qubits 3.0 on Amazon USA and UK.
Prior milestone events were:
- A Qubits Original distribution deal with Discovery Toys LLC that ran its term in 2011-2012.
- The British Airways Award for BAF2F allowing Qubits to travel fully funded to the International Toy Show in Nuremberg Germany.
- The creation of Qubits 2.0 in Orlando, FL where we have now been awarded the Chase Bank Mission Main Street Grant: $150,000 for product development and marketing. With this grant Qubits Inc. will be able to improve upon our product with new pieces, new instruction materials and professional retail style packaging.
- Eventually Qubits Inc. will bring the Qubits Toy 3.0 to trade shows and carefully re-enter the retail/speciality store marketplace.
If you are a teacher or a children’s museum buyer, please contact me directly at QubitsToy@gmail.com and I will share with you plans to promote the toy within the educational market.