Founder of Milwaukee-area startup to pitch product on Shark Tank

Sleep Pod by Hug Sleep.

Last updated on October 30th, 2020 at 01:59 pm

The founder of a Milwaukee-area startup who developed a solution for troubled sleepers will pitch his invention to investors on Shark Tank, the entrepreneurial-themed reality show, airing Friday at 7 p.m. on CNBC and ABC.

Matt Mundt
Matt Mundt

Milwaukee School of Engineering graduate Matt Mundt founded Hug Sleep in 2019 as a side hustle while working at Foxconn. After he was laid off earlier this year, Mundt turned his attention to designing Sleep Pod, a blanket that uses the same science behind weighted blankets, but without all the drawbacks.

Mundt, a troubled sleeper himself, was searching for tips for better sleep when he discovered traditional weighted blankets on the market.

“Just the thought of having some pressure on me really resonated,” Mundt said. “I thought this could really quiet my mind and really get a good night’s sleep.”

The weighted blanket worked, but it also trapped a lot of heat which left him waking up in a pool of sweat. Traditional weighted blankets on the market also weigh between 20 and 25 pounds, which means they are not easily transported and because of their size, washing them can be a challenge, Mundt said.

“Very quickly I found this very expensive weighted blanket folded up on my closet floor never to be used again, but I never forgot that initial feeling and promise I got from the weighted blanket,” Mundt said.

Sleep Pod uses 4-way stretch and breathable material that is designed around the science of Deep Touch Pressure Therapy used in clinical settings to help people with anxiety and calming the nervous system, Mundt said. The product applies gentle, calming pressure to the entire body that “simulates the feeling of being hugged.”

“I took this Deep Touch Pressure Therapy and really repackaged it in a way that didn’t have those common drawbacks that I experienced,” Mundt said.

From the beginning, the initial design for Sleep Pod was just to solve his own person sleep problem – he had no intention of starting a company.

“It wasn’t until I made one of these products for my wife that she was just head over heels with it and really encouraged me to try selling these things,” Mundt said.

Since February, Hug Sleep has sold thousands of Sleep Pods across the country and tonight, may attract investments from some of the wealthiest moguls in the country on Shark Tank.

“Having grown up watching this show, it was just an experience of, I feel like I know all the Sharks on set because I’ve seen so many episodes,” Mundt said. “To actually see them for the first time and to be standing on set pitching this company, it really was just this surreal experience.”

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Brandon Anderegg
Brandon covers startups, technology, banking and finance. He previously worked as a general assignment and court reporter for The Freeman in Waukesha. Brandon graduated from UW-Milwaukee’s journalism, advertising and media studies program with an emphasis in journalism. He enjoys live music, playing guitar and loves to hacky sack.

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