It’s been more than a decade since Shark Tank premiered. During that time, the Sharks have invested millions of dollars into all kinds of businesses some of which have gone on to become household names. When Ryan Frankel and Kunal Sarda entered the Tank during season four, they were hoping that their business, VerbalizeIt, would be the next to make the list of Shark Tank success stories. The pair of entrepreneurs were looking for a $250,000 investment in exchange for a 15% stake in the company. After some back and forth between the Sharks, Ryan and Kunal were able to secure a deal with Kevin O’Leary aka Mr. Wonderful for $250,000 for 20%. If you’re like lots of other Shark Tank fans, you have probably been wondering what has been going on with VerbalizeIt since its appearance on the show? Keep reading to find out.
What is VerbalizeIt?
Anyone who watches Shark Tank knows that the best way to get an investment on the show is to have an idea that is original, difficult (or impossible) to copy, and makes a lot of money. VerbalizeIt checked all of those boxes. To put it simply, VerbalizeIt uses technology to quickly connect people with live language translators. During the show, Ryan and Kunal shared that they could connect a person to a translator in about 15 seconds. With the help of VerbalizeIt, businesses could easily connect with other companies all over the world. Since the Sharks recognize the value of being able to connect with people internationally, it’s not much of a surprise that they quickly started throwing out offers for this business.
What Happened to VerbalizeIt After Shark Tank?
Getting a deal on Shark Tank is something that everyone who goes on the show dreams of. Needless to say, Ryan and Kunal were extremely excited when they left the Tank with a partnership with Mr. Wonderful. Unfortunately, though, things didn’t end up going as planned. Just because a deal is agreed on during the show doesn’t mean that it will actually move forward. After each episode, both the Shark and the entrepreneur(s) go over the fine print of the deal, and it’s fairly common for one (or both) parties to decide they don’t want to move forward. That ended up being the case for VerbalizeIt. Unfortunately, though, we weren’t able to find any details on why the deal was canceled.
However, what could have been a major setback ended up being nothing more than a bump in the road for VerbalizeIt. Ryan and Kunal were able to get funding from other sources, and they continued to move forward. In 2016, Ryan and Kunal sold VerbalizeIt to another translation company called Smartling. According to the company’s website, “Smartling enables brands to maximize the output of time, energy, and cost spent on translation and localization to deliver culturally relevant brand experiences that facilitate global growth.”
The details of the deal between VerbalizeIt and Smartling have not been made public, but we do know that VerbalizeIt had raised more than $63 million before being sold. One of the things that made the acquisition even more special is the fact that Ryan Frankel and Smartling’s CEO, Jack Welde, both attended the University of Pennsylvania.
What Is Next for Ryan Frankel and Kunal Sarda?
Coming up with a business idea that can eventually be sold for millions of dollars is something that every entrepreneur dreams of. Now that Frankel and Sarda have accomplished that, it will be interesting to see what the future has in store for them. According to their LinkedIn profiles, both men are still making strides in the entrepreneurial space. Ryan Frankel is currently the CEO of a company called This App Saves Lives which he founded in 2019. The company’s description states, “This App Saves Lives (“TASL”) is a free mobile app that rewards drivers who choose not to engage in distracted driving. With TASL, drivers earn rewards points for time spent driving undistracted and those points are redeemable for amazing gifts from your favorite brands.”
Kunal Sarda founded a business called Arya in 2020. According to the business’ description, “Arya helps flex workforce operators get smarter about compensation, so they can grow faster, more profitably and with a happier workforce.”
They both seem to be doing very well and they’re excited about the opportunity to share their new ideas with the world. Hopefully, they’ll eventually be able to recreate the success they had with VerbalizeIt. Maybe one day, one or both of these guys will even end up on Shark Tank again.