Yesterday was an AMAZING day at One Million Cups Daytona Beach, where we celebrated the one year anniversary of the group, and had the pleasure of hearing from Chris Giplin, a Volusia County native who is owner and founder of Signal Vault.
As soon as Chris took the stage, his energy and enthusiasm had us engaged, his presentation was lively and interesting, and his story is remarkable!
Chris has a compelling success story, and he is an outlier in many ways. He shared with us that prior to starting Signal Vault, he had worked in the cyber security technology business for several years, and has presented over a thousand times on the subject. He’s got the education, training, and the experience that create the perfect formula for becoming a success story. He has the ideas, the vision, the ethic, and the motivation to continue to grow and prosper.
He also had some incredible experiences in defying odds.
For instance, he figured he’d need about $8,000 to get his business up and running, and as he was going through his car, he found some lottery tickets that were going to expire soon. When he had them checked, one had five out of six winning numbers, and he collected just over $7,900, investing every cent of it into Signal Vault.
When he considered submitting for Shark Tank, he figured it would be best to go in person. So, he went to Miami for the audition, and among 5,000 other people, he waited until it was his turn to speak with the producers. Chris had a pitch that he prepared and practiced, and yet when he went to the producers, his sixty second pitch was very different than the one he planned – he winged it and was authentic, funny, and engaging. He told them that while people were waiting and sharing their pitches with others, he was stealing their credit card information.
That certainly piqued the producers’ interest, as well as all of ours!
He then presented his product, Signal Vault. It is a credit card-sized wallet insert that essentially hacks a hacker’s attempt to steal our personal information from the magnetic strips on our credit and debit cards.
As soon as he mentioned the product, I pulled up the website. It’s a quality product at a great price, and I loved how clean, informative, and relevant his website is. What’s more is that Chris himself is the site designer – that computer science degree from the University of Central Florida sure came in handy!
Chris made it all the way to the Sharks and made his pitch, and then, he had TWO Sharks make offers!
During his presentation at One Million Cups, Chris mentioned that the investment opportunity is great, but it was the exposure on the show – and the fact that he was selected for airing AND it was going to be the season premier – that rocketed his business.
Since the show aired, his objective for annual sales (he hoped the company would generate sales of $300,000-400,000 for the year) soared to $1.2 million and counting for the year. The same night that he pitched to the Sharks, Lori had him present on QVC (he told us he had requested airing on QVC before his appearance on Shark Tank and was turned down in the previous attempt).
Some things that I enjoyed immensely about meeting Chris was that we were both wearing black shirts with white and red graphics that represented our companies, he gave me a great big hug when we chatted, and he gave me a Signal Vault, which is now in my wallet!
He also shared some awesome advice with us:
Check out the Business Rockstars podcast
Gotta be unique to stand out
Gotta sell yourself
Know your customers
Know your numbers
Get LOTS of exposure
How is your idea different
Know your product and why it’s important
Entrepreneurship: doing what others won’t so you can live like others can’t
Respond QUICKLY to correspondence – can hire companies to do your social media
Fortune favored me yesterday morning as well, and I parked in an unusual spot (I typically park on the same side of the road as the meeting venue, but my gut told me to park on the other side). When I got inside, it was packed and I found an unlikely seat available, front and center, right in the T section, which works best for me and my learning/listening style. I raised my hand to ask a question, and got lucky to ask him if we could talk more about his journey, and I also asked if he had plans to go public and offer an IPO. His reply is that he enjoys being private, and a bit into his answer he mentioned that he’s driving his dream car. When I asked what the car was, he said an Audi.
The best part about that?
When I left the meeting after speaking with him again, I went outside and saw that he was parked right behind me 🙂
His star is continually on the rise, and it’s not just luck that’s gotten him where he is (and he even admitted that luck was a part of it) – Chris has clearly worked VERY hard to get where he is and continues to work hard to make his company a smashing success.
He also shared with us that he’s engaged, has a toddler, and a baby on the way. Now is the perfect time for his business to grow – he’s got a lot of great things going on!
It was so cool actually meeting with him, and I’ve reached out to him to schedule a follow-up, more in-depth conversation. It would be great to treat him to lunch and hear more of what he has to share, and I can’t wait to share more of his story!
What an incredible encounter, I’m very fortunate that I got to attend! This is the second time that I’ve gone right to the meeting after teaching at Blue Moon, in my sweaty post-yoga glory, and met with a stellar business owner and success story. The first time I met a speaker that I felt compelled to speak with was George Everitt, founder and CEO of An Action Plan, who I am currently freelancing for (OMG SOOO cool!).
Hearing Chris speak and having the pleasure of actually talking to him was a great encounter that I’m still glowing from.
I wish him continued success, and I’m excited to witness the next phase of his journey!