LUBBOCK, Texas — A Texas Tech alumnus was recently featured on Shark Tank for a product that helps to protect your furry friends–an air filtered mask made specifically for dogs.
I just stumbled upon a need in the world,” said Kirby Holmes, Class of ‘94 and CEO of Good Air Team.
At first glance, some might think these masks are to protect pets from COVID-19, but since it’s difficult for animals to catch or transmit COVID-19 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doesn’t recommend pets wear masks. But the real inspiration for the masks was the California wildfires.
It all started when Holmes was a kid. His grandparents and their dog lived in an area of California plagued by wildfires.
“It just used to terrify me that something terrible could happen to my grandparents, something could happen to their dog, Sugar,” said Holmes. “And so, on an emotional level, I just felt like something has to be done.”
But Holmes said the uses of these masks have gone even further.
“We didn’t know wildfires weren’t the only problem,” said Holmes. “We just knew we created a mask we thought would help with wildfire smoke, and then these other reasons have been showing up.”
Those on the coast fighting ride tides, an environmental phenomenon where algae creates toxins that have the potential to become airborne, bought the masks.
They even saw sales in China during the Hong Kong riots, when many bought the masks to keep tear gas from burning their pet’s eyes and lungs.
Then out of 47,000 applicants, Holmes and his cousin and business partner Evan Daugherty were chosen to be on Shark Tank.
They were even able to strike a deal with the Sharks to further their production.
“To have somebody believe in the product that we have created, something that we had invested a lot of time into, what a thrill to have somebody say ‘Yes, I believe in this product, and I can see the value of what it brings to pet owners at pets and I want to partner with you in that and help you make this business grow,’” said Holmes.
Now they are hoping to expand their product to other animals and to continue to protect furry friends.
“It just proves the concept to us that it’s not just an idea, but it’s something people want,” said Holmes.
The deal Holmes struck with the Sharks was for $200,000 in funding in exchange for a 40 percent stake in the company, and they are currently in the process of finalizing the deal.