ASU alumnus appeared on 'Shark Tank' for his 30-second wine chiller

Pronto Concepts CEO Alexander Simone made a deal with Mark Cuban

In 2013, an ASU student wanted to drink a bottle of Chardonnay with a girl, but didn’t have any chilled. He grabbed a strainer and a bunch of ice, but the wine tasted watered down. 

On Nov. 12, Alexander Simone, now an ASU alumnus, stepped into the Shark Tank for his products, ProntoBev, a 30-second wine chiller and ProntoAer, a wine aerator. 

Simone, the CEO of Pronto Concepts and a 2016 graduate in entrepreneurship from the W.P. Carey School of Business, appeared on "Shark Tank," a television show on ABC, which has multi-millionaires and billionaires deciding whether or not they should invest in America’s businesses and products.

Mark Cuban, one of the Sharks, offered Simone $100,000 for 25 percent only if Simone can raise another $100,000. Simone accepted the offer.

Simone said he has already started raising the money and is looking for anybody interested in investing.

Simone tested many different prototypes for ProntoBev before finding the right one because he wanted it to be as small as possible and dishwasher safe, he said.

“With each design, it generally got a little bit smaller and little bit more easy to use until we finally got that sweet spot, which you see on Shark Tank,” he said.

Simone said his time at ASU helped him tremendously on his journey.

“I was fortunate enough to study entrepreneurship, so there’s a lot of things I learned in school that helped me along the way,” he said. “It gave me the blueprint for what I needed to get started.”

Simone said his appearance on Shark Tank has helped Pronto Concepts get the attention of the public. 

“It’s really cool how many watch the show,” he said. “It’s definitely great exposure for the company. I’m excited to see where it could take us. I think ProntoBev could be a household name.”

Simone said he had just launched on Indiegogo, an organization that helps entrepreneurs crowdfund their innovative ideas, in July 2017, and about a week later he heard from Shark Tank. 

“They gave me my own trailer,” he said. “I practiced my pitch in front of the whole production team. They were really there to help support me and make me comfortable with what was going on. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Luiz Mesquita, an associate professor of management and entrepreneurship, said he noticed Simone as a student with “follow through.”

“In my opinion, every idea is great until it is not,” he said. “An idea is not great when it just dies along the way for failure of action or failure of follow through. Alexander, that’s not his case. It’s an outstanding product because it went all the way through to the end.” 

Mesquita said not many people understand that a product isn’t just there instantaneously, and there are so many steps along the way before actually producing an item for the public.

“It is a testimony to his persistence,” he said.

John Eaton, a clinical professor in the marketing department, said he teaches most of the students who come through W.P. Carey School of Business, which is how he met Simone. 

“Even though those were generally large lecture sessions, there were some students that stood out for very good reasons, or some for not-so-good reasons,” Eaton said. “Obviously, he was one of the good.”

Eaton said Simone excelled in his class and visited him during Eaton’s office hours to talk over new ideas. 

Eaton said that when Simone was on Shark Tank, he admired the way Simone “stuck to his guns” and “believed so much in his product that he was willing to walk away if he needed to.”

Eaton said that when he and Simone talked about "Shark Tank," Simone revealed to Eaton that they had cut out part of his pitch.

“He told me that he mentioned that he went to Arizona State University, so that’s in the episode,” Eaton said. “And then he mentioned right after that, that ASU is No. 1 in innovation. He was hoping they would not cut that out, but they did.”


Reach the reporter at anbuechl@asu.edu or follow @alexa_buechler on Twitter.

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