NW Ohio inventor who landed a deal on Shark Tank comes back to where it all began

Published: Nov. 16, 2017 at 5:38 PM EST
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A University of Toledo graduate is back in town tonight after landing a big deal on the ABC show Shark Tank Tom Burden is here to help judge a competition he won a few years ago, Pitch & Pour at The University of Toledo.

Tom made a huge splash on Shark Tank. In fact, it was a feeding frenzy for his product as all five sharks made offers to invest in his invention. His interest in the show was sparked by a friendship with a neighbor, and we caught up with both of them today.

This week has been a whirlwind for Tom. Tom's episode of Shark Tank aired Sunday night, and his product had all five sharks circling.

His invention the Grypmat landed him a six figure deal with three world famous entrepreneurs, "Honestly leaving the show, I was thinking to myself did that just happen? It is surreal and it's still sinking in, the gravity of everything that is happening."

Just days after appearing on the show, Tom did what some U.S. Presidents and Hollywood stars have done, he signed a hot dog bun for Tony Pakco's, "Here's a little secret. I am left-handed and I smeared the ink on the bun, so this is the bad one. It'll be a keepsake. I bet not many people have signed two buns!"

Tom is also a member of the 180th Fighter Wing in Swanton. His work on fighter jets at the base is what gave him the idea for the non-slip tool tray. While the invention's early use was for the aviation industry it has since expanded to include automotive and other sectors.

Tom's interest in Shark Tank started when he lived in Toledo. Mollie Giha was his neighbor, and the two often ate dinner together, "The reason I started watching Shark Tank is that Mollie would ask what I wanted to watch while we ate dinner. I told her something that pushed me forward." That's exactly;y what Shark Tank did.

Mollie says she wasn't surprised to learn tom received multiple offers, "I knew he would make it. I don't think he did, but I always knew. I am really proud, really proud."

Molie believes the Grypmat is just the beginning for her friend, "What is your wish for Tom? All the success in the world. I know he's going to get it, I know he's going to get it."

Tom is one of the judges for the Pitch & Pour event at The University of Toledo tonight. It is a showcase for local entrepreneurs. Even though he eventually won the event with the Grypmat, Tom's application was actually denied the first time. A good example of what some say is Tom's best skill, his persistence.