College junior Kaeya Majmundar started with a cardboard box, but now she’s transitioning to a shiny, black box: television.
On May 16 at 8 p.m., Majmundar will be featured on ABC’s season finale of the reality TV show, “Shark Tank,” which features business pitches from entrepreneurs to a panel of Sharks, or investors.
She’ll be presenting her invention, the BZbox. The BZbox is a cardboard box with a twist: it requires no assembly. To use the box, all one must do is pop open the box.
Majmundar is currently negotiating potential licensing deals with different companies to sell the BZbox.
Unlike most entrepreneurs on “Shark Tank,” Majmundar applied to be on the show during the early stages of developing her product.
“A lot of ‘Shark Tank’ entrepreneurs have at least a couple years of validation,” Majmundar said. “They have customers, are in stores or at least are selling online and are looking to take it to the next level. I, on the other hand, was filing the patent and prototyping simultaneously as I was moving through the stages of getting on the show.”
Majmundar got the idea to apply to be on the show in May 2012 when she was first fiddling around with collapsible box design ideas.
Her father suggested she watch the show; after the first episode, she was hooked.
“I blew through all the seasons of the show by the end of the summer,” she said. “I kept a notebook full of lessons and pitch strategies.”
Those notes helped hone her pitch for the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organizations National Elevator Pitch competition in November 2012, which she won. After her win, she decided to apply to be on “Shark Tank.” In March 2013, she got a call from California to complete more application papers.
When the season started, she received calls from family and friends who saw her in commercials for the show, but she was still uncertain whether “Shark Tank” would show her pitch.
“It was very long, nerve wracking and completely surreal,” Majmundar said. “The producers make it very clear that there is no guarantee anyone airs basically until you see yourself on TV.”
But just this past week, she got a call with good news: her episode had been scheduled to air.
“The odds are just so surreal to me and I still cannot believe I made it all the way,” Majmundar said.
The road hasn’t been easy – finding a balance between entrepreneurship and school has proven to be a challenge.
“Admittedly, it took a lot of blind faith on my part for me to believe so much in my product to the point where I occasionally had to put BZbox over academics,” she said.
However, she ultimately believes that the BZbox is headed in right direction for the future.
“When I come up with ideas, my mind just explodes with excitement,” she said. “I am really glad I finally found what I am passionate about. I think that will shine through on the episode.”
–By Elizabeth Howell
Updated on May 13, 2014 at 3:06 p.m.: This article has been updated to match the print version of the story run on April 25, 2014. The previous version of the article stated that Majmundar was approached in May 2013 to come to California, and has been changed to state that in May 2013, Majmundar received a call asking her to participate further in the application process. The print version of the article is correct.
Updated on May 16, 2014 at 6:00 p.m.: This article has been updated to include the special air time (8 p.m.) of the episode as the season finale.