Manhattan Beach SmartCart business gets a deal on 'Shark Tank'

Manhattan Beach SmartCart business gets a deal on 'Shark Tank'

Richard EldenMay 13, '21

Manhattan Beach businessman Richard Elden appeared on ABC’s "Shark Tank" last Friday and walked out with a deal from Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.

“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Elden, owner of dbest products. “I went for it, and I got it. It took a lot of preparation and work. Being on the show, the exposure has been fantastic. The ‘sharks’ are still doing their due diligence, but we are initially looking at a two million investment with more funding promised as needed.”

Elden is expecting a formal agreement soon from Greiner and Cuban.

His company manufactures a collapsible cart similar to wheeled luggage carts. The innovative design is a mainstay for students, parents and business professionals—anyone who needs to carry documents or bulky items. The SmartCart has been a major hit with retailers, but the London-born Elden needed cash to expand distribution so he reached out to "Shark Tank."

However, his road to expansion started long before the television episode aired.

According to Elden, “When I came out with SmartCart it was the best selling of all of our products. We were coming out of the great recession, and I knew I needed to focus on brick and mortar stores. So I went from attending two trade shows a year to two trade shows a month to make that happen.”

An often grueling schedule and as he terms it, a “crazy strategy,” ultimately paid off.

“It was just the magic trick I needed," said Elden. "Attending all those trade shows and exhibiting there, big companies do this, but I was a small company with a handful of staff. I had to really believe in my strategy. I was on the road all the time, and it was exhausting. But I loved it.”

A large part of his success, said Elden, came out of those trade shows, but he cautions that having an excellent product is also necessary to succeed. SmartCart has a variety of unique, patented features and benefits, which he says no other portable cart has.

SmartCart, according to Elden, comes in 63 different colors, sizes and patterns. The soft-sided carts weigh less than three pounds but can hold up to 110 pounds and fold to fewer than two inches.

“My company has been making innovative, collapsible carts for 15 years, but I could see back in 2009 when California was getting ready to ban plastic bags, that people needed a replacement for them, a rolling bag on wheels,” Elden relates.

"Shark Tank" offered an opportunity to expand further. Colleagues suggested he try out for the show, and he did—three times, the third open call being the charm.

“The third time, when I submitted my video for the show, I changed my approach. Instead of showing a wide range of my products, I made a short video solely about the SmartCart.”

Elden held a viewing party to celebrate his appearance on the show—appropriately enough at Sharkeez Manhattan Beach, near his home. Elden also credits living near the beach for his booming business.

“When I first started my business out of my bedroom in an apartment in Hermosa Beach, things were very stressful. But by a stroke of luck, whenever things got intense, I could just look out at the ocean and it made me calm. The ocean has an amazing power over stress. It was really beneficial to look out at the ocean and be calmer and put everything in perspective.”

Currently, SmartCart is available locally at Ralphs, Bed Bath & Beyond, Staples, Big 5, and as a private label for Smart & Final. For more information, visit