When adults shake their heads and mutter, “Kids these days,” they’re clearly not referring to the youngsters on Shark Tank. Tonight’s episode featured yet another very ambitious teen who has accomplished more in a few short years than most of us have in the past decade.
Rachel Zietz isn’t old enough to drive a car, and yet she’s already a huge business success. She’s also smart and athletic and the type of person everybody in high school wanted to emulate. Like many of the young entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, she didn’t just launch a business for the sake of making money — she pursued her chief passion in life. Obsessed with the sport of lacrosse, Zietz decided to use her expertise to make training more effective for fellow athletes. Her efforts have led to early profitability for Gladiator Lacrosse, a rebounder that fills an important niche and is thus in high demand.
Usually, an ambitious young woman such as Zietz would have no problem scoring a deal from the Sharks. A good pitch, a successful company with a bright future… what do they have to lose? Unfortunately, Gladiator Lacrosse may have been too successful for Shark Tank, as the Sharks seemed reluctant to get in the way of a business that appears to be running so seamlessly.
The other big concern among the Sharks was that they just didn’t understand Zietz’s niche. That’s fair; one of the main premises of Zietz’s company is that she knows lacrosse inside and out. The Sharks seemed concerned that an outside player might harm her credibility, which is a crucial component of her success thus far.
Zietz was clearly disappointed by the lack of a deal, but at least she received very positive feedback. If nothing else, she can take solace in knowing that the show has given her a huge marketing boost.
Although the Sharks didn’t invest in Gladiator Lacrosse, they made it abundantly clear that they approve of Zietz and her entrepreneurial endeavors. They encouraged her to continue to set a good example for other teenagers who wish to one day start their own businesses. With or without the Sharks, Rachel Zietz is one impressive teen — and she has a very bright future ahead of her.