Brookfield-based startup experiences 10x growth following Shark Tank episode

Sleep Pod by Hug Sleep.

Last updated on March 12th, 2021 at 10:54 pm

Hug Sleep founder Matt Mundt says his startup did $4 million in sales after the Brookfield-based company’s product Sleep Pod was featured on ABC’s Shark Tank.

Mundt, who founded Hug Sleep in 2019, received a $300,000 investment during an October episode of Shark Tank in exchange for a 20% stake in his company. Within the broadcast’s first weeks, Hug Sleep sold out of its entire inventory of 50,000 units, Mundt said.

Sleep Pod is a light-weight blanket for troubled sleepers that simulates the feeling of a weighted blanket.

The startup planned to sell between 2,500 and 5,000 units, which is approximately the amount of Sleep Pod units it had sold since the company was founded. After the episode aired, a sales surge and subsequent orders in the final months of 2020 amounted to “34 football fields” worth of product sold, Mundt said.

“You’re not just doubling or tripling your company overnight,” Mundt said. “It was a true 10x of a company overnight. It was pretty chaotic, but definitely a good problem to have.”

Sleep Pod’s local manufacturer was able to produce up to 200 units a week prior to the episode, but after the show aired, the company hired 12 employees, scaling its production to about 10,000 units a week, said Mundt, a Milwaukee School of Engineering alum.

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 to calm the nervous system. The product applies gentle, calming pressure to the entire body that “simulates the feeling of being hugged.”

Now Mundt and his wife Angie Kupper will return to Shark Tank this Friday at 7 p.m. to update viewers on Hug Sleep’s growth, Mundt said.

“We’re not really expecting nearly the same spike in demand,” Mundt said. “But what we’re excited about is that we just launched the next generation of Sleep Pod.”

“Sleep Pod Move,” which launched today, introduces a new size of Sleep Pod for children. The new product also allows for users to easily walk while wearing Sleep Pod, especially for older customers who may need to use the bathroom throughout the night, Mundt added.

“For temperature regulation, but also added mobility,” Mundt said.

In the near term, Hug Sleep will focus on marketing the newest iteration of Sleep Pod. Long-term, Hug Sleep will expand its team as the company scales, Mundt added.

“It’s really just getting our product Sleep Pod in the hands of as many customers as possible,” Mundt said. “One of the highlights of my day is reading the emails that we get…so many customers are talking about what it’s done for their sleep and quality of life.”

Read the March 8 issue of BizTimes Milwaukee here:

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