Healthcare entrepreneur Julia Cheek, a Dallas native who founded a company that sells a number of at-home medical tests, appeared on ABC-TV’s “Shark Tank” Sunday and walked away with a $1 million line of credit.
Cheek’s two-year-old startup, called EverlyWell, offers home kits to test everything from metabolism and hormonal imbalances to fertility and vitamin deficiencies. The kits are purchased online and sent to federally certified laboratories.
On the Nov. 26 edition of “Shark Tank,” Cheek told the Sharks she was seeking $1 million in return for 5 percent equity in EverlyWell.
The company offers 13 test kits ranging in price from $69 to $399, Cheek explained. To date she’s raised $5 million and has sold $2.5 million in kits, she said, adding that she’s predicting sales in 2018 of more than $12 million.
Home testing, she said, is “a really hot space”—and that seemed to be the problem for some of the Sharks.
Dallas’ Mark Cuban, for example, told Cheek that “It’s gonna take a lot more money [than $1 million], and there’s gonna be a ton of competition. So, I’m out.”
Shark Barbara Corcoran basically agreed with Cuban, as did Robert Herjavec and “Guest Shark” Rohan Oza.
That left only Lori Grenier, who called Cheek’s idea a good one at a time when “the state of healthcare is so precarious in our country.” Grenier told the entrepreneur, “I’d like to take a flyer on you,” and proceeded to offer Cheek a $1 million line of credit at 8 percent interest in return for a 5 percent equity stake in EverlyWell.
Cheek accepted the proposal on the spot, saying, “We need a line of credit.” She also agreed that Grenier’s savvy in marketing and branding—she’s been called the “Queen of QVC”—would be invaluable to the young company.
Cheek founded EverlyWell, which now has 17 employees, in Dallas in 2015. The company moved to Austin a year later.