A Ukrainian immigrant to America has received $120,000 from a panel of U.S. investors on the television show “Shark Tank,” where entrepreneurs pitch ideas to get funding.
In the episode, aired on Jan. 23, Alina Kravchenko, 35, pitched her idea of a contraption that makes it possible to rub diaper cream on a baby with one hand.
A single mom herself, Kravchenko believes her patented invention will be handy to all people looking after babies, because there’s no need to wash off the water-resistant cream every time after applying it. The applicator can be attached to a broad range of diaper cream tubes.
Two of the show’s investors, Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner, liked the idea and bought a 50% stake in Kravchenko’s company SwipeSnap for $120,000.
Kravchenko couldn’t be reached for comment.
Kravchenko and her sister immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 with their mother Svetlana, who came to the show to support her daughter.
“My kids grew up in a communist country,” said Svetlana Kravchenko. “(Moving to the U.S.) was a dream for my kids, an opportunity. It was a difficult route — no family, no friends, no spoken English.”
Her daughter Alina became pregnant while on her own at the age of 23, having to work three jobs to provide for the baby and herself. Eventually, she started working on her invention.
“After facing my greatest fear being alone and pregnant, I felt fearless,” she wrote in a blog on the website of her company SwipeSnap.
Kravchenko invented the cream applicator 10 years ago, and it took her six and a half years to obtain a U.S. patent for it. “I spent hours working on this while my baby was asleep,” she wrote.
Later, she quit her job and fully dedicated herself to her invention. Over the last two and a half years, Kravchenko began selling the applicators through her website, earning $15,000. “I called every person who had bought the first version and asked ‘How can I make this product even better?’”
The SwipeSnap website features 15 pages of mostly five-star reviews of the invention. A YouTube user nicknamed Razear praised the Ukrainian’s entrepreneurship in a comment under the video with Kravchenko’s pitch.
“Crazy how it’s those that escape from communist regimes are the ones that truly appreciate capitalism, whereas the privileged Americans, growing up with silver spoons, are the ones to vilify it,” Razear wrote.
“Shark Tank” has been airing in the U.S. since 2009 on the American Broadcasting Company channel or ABC. Over 10 seasons, the show’s investors have listened to nearly 900 pitches and invested $144 million.
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