ProntoBev: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Ten years ago, Arizona State college student Alexander Simone set out to solve a problem that's vexed every wine lover at some point in their lives — warm white wine. When a bottle of chardonnay Simone was sharing impromptu with a woman at his frat house wasn't adequately chilled to the ideal temperature of roughly 50 degrees Fahrenheit, Simone used his knowledge of physics to quickly chill the wine using a pasta strainer and ice but ended up with diluted results.

In 2015, as the final project for his Entrepreneurial Marketing course, Simone successfully built a small prototype of his beverage chiller that, in theory, could chill a bottle of wine in 30 seconds but continued to work on the scale of his design. By 2016, Simone had a working prototype and assembled a team to focus on the design, cycling through a dozen iterations until he was happy with the finished product. With a working prototype, Simone then filed for a provisional patent on his "Pronto Gel," the trade secret responsible for rapidly chilling wine, and focused on funding.

Before pitching his business to the Sharks in 2017, Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Lori Greiner, Simone launched a crowdfunding campaign through Indiegogo to generate capital. However, he still needed the Sharks to get ProntoBev made and into the beverage market.

What happened to ProntoBev on Shark Tank?

Appearing on Season 9, Episode 11 of "Shark Tank" in November 2017, Simone sought an initial investment of $100,000 for 5% equity in Pronto Concepts, the company behind ProntoBev. After securing $54,000 from backers on Indiegogo days earlier (over 200% above his goal), Simone had some momentum walking into his pitch. Still, his company's valuation of $2 million caused concerns, forcing John and Cuban to accept a glass of chilled wine but pass on the deal.

Although Simone attempted to defend his inflated valuation, citing revenue between $10 and $20 million annually for his competition, Herjavec was the next to pass, emphasizing that the company was too new to invest in. As a self-proclaimed wine expert, O'Leary saw the merits in ProntoBev and made an offer of $100,000 for 50% equity, touting his knowledge of the market and endorsement value. 

Greiner said that there is merit in the product but sided with the other Sharks, stating that there is more for Simone to learn before he can turn his good idea into a successful business, so she passes. Faced with only O'Leary's offer, which the Sharks all agreed was greedy, Simone attempted to negotiate but was met with increasing resistance — until Cuban swooped in.

Reversing his stance, Cuban offered $100,000 for 25% equity contingent on Simone securing an additional $100,000, which was needed to get ProntoBev and a new martini chiller launched. Without missing a beat, Simone accepts the offer, and Cuban has a deal.

ProntoBev after Shark Tank

Unfortunately, the company's status has been unclear since premiering on "Shark Tank." While Pronto Concepts' website is operational, featuring two products, ProntoBev and a new one — ProntoAer, the company's Instagram and Facebook accounts have been suspended, and there hasn't been a post on its Twitter account since 2018.

Simone's deal with Cuban is also ambiguous. A statement on Pronto Concepts' invest page states, "We have far exceeded Mark Cuban's contingency and are briefly offering additional shares." However, ProntoBev and Pronto Concepts are absent from the online list of "Shark Tank" investments Mark Cuban Companies has made, leaving us to speculate on what happened.

Despite referencing his appearance on "Shark Tank" online, both products listed state that Indiegogo funded them, yet the crowdfunding site only lists a campaign for ProntoBev. Indiegogo adds that the account has been suspended and, "This campaign is under review. It is not accepting contributions."

Backers were offered five funding options ranging from a $99 investment, which delivers one ProntoBev (a savings of $40 off the projected retail price of $139), to $599, which promised to ship ten ProntoBevs by July 2018.

Although product updates ended in July 2020, comments from backers are as current as May 2023. Of the 261 posts shown, each portrays investors who feel scammed by Simone, calling him a 'fraud' and requesting refunds since the company broke Indiegogo's investment policy.

Did ProntoBev go out of business?

The initial Indiegogo backers aren't the only ones waiting on ProntoBev. When the company appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2017, customers were able to purchase the product online, never to receive it. Posts on Reddit show that customers have waited over four years for the product, including fraternity brothers solicited by the director of Simone's fraternity, offering a 20% discount to support the alum.  

When disgruntled customers inquired about the product's status, Pronto Concepts attempted to appease them by blaming the delay on its manufacturers, saying, "We are currently making minor micro-adjustments to ensure all the parts fit together properly. We are excited to see the finish line on the horizon!" 

Customers, tired of waiting, emailed customer service representatives to get a refund and were offered a free ProntoAer if they didn't cancel the order. Still, customers who didn't take the bait, insisting on refunds, were then ghosted and left to complain to credit card companies. Similar comments can be found on Shark Tank Tales, with more recent posts dating back to 2020. 

A dive into Simone's personal social media accounts indicates that the entrepreneur hasn't given up on his dream but has diversified his interests, focusing on fitness and mentoring other inventors, using his appearance on "Shark Tank" as a marketing tool. 

What is Alexander Simone doing now?

During his "Shark Tank" debut, Simone mentioned that he's always been an inventor, so it's unsurprising that he's pivoted to a new business, Make X Now, which provides a mentoring service to fellow inventors on product discovery, prototyping, design, crowdfunding, manufacturing, and retail. Individuals can apply to have the company consider turning their idea into reality or hire Simone for consulting. With over 54,000 TikTok followers, Simone posts short videos sharing his wisdom with fellow entrepreneurs eager to get their ideas off the ground and discusses his experience on the show.

Of the nine products listed in the brand's testimonials, three were Simone's, including ProntoBev, ProntoAer, and the Iceless Martini Maker, which was referenced on the show. None are for sale and are still in the prototype development phase. Three products, Heart Locks with Case, Car Adapter Tray, and Paddle Sign, are still in the design phase.

Other products like Chop Dish, My Vision Board Kit, and Over Easy bottles are available for retail. Manufactured by Nookware, Chop Dish is a flexible plastic cutting board with juice grooves to prevent spills. It is the only product available through a national retailer, selling for $9.95 on Amazon. Make X Now proudly indicates that it provided Chop Dish with prototypes until the perfect design was created. Over Easy's shaker beverage bottles and My Vision Board Kits are currently only available directly to consumers from the company's website.