Saucemoto: Here's What Happened After Shark Tank

Three friends set out to solve a vexing quandary — how to safely dip French fries and chicken nuggets in sauce while driving. While you might not think it's a big problem, roughly 20% percent of American meals are eaten in cars inspired the partners to solve it (via Do Something). A more recent 2023 report points to 70% of commuters eating while driving (per Gitnux). Enter the Saucemoto. The device is a specialized cup holder for fast food dips. It clips to your car's air vents and has an opening that securely holds drive-thru sauce containers. It eliminates having to fumble with dips while driving, does away with spills, and as the brand's motto proclaims, you can "say bye bye to ketchup-less fries." It even accommodates sauce packets with a washable cup that condiments like hot sauce and ketchup can be squeezed into. 

William Moujaes, Michael Koury, along with Koury's cousin Tony Lahood started their company Milkmen Design to bring this driving-while-dining breakthrough to the world. They pooled their design and engineering skills, plus many hours testing 3D printed prototypes to create their clever product.  

A Kickstarter campaign started in late 2017 to fund the project, with an initial goal of $10,000 — that amount was raised in a matter of days — and had more than tripled in less than a month. A stretch goal of $60,000 was announced in December, and by January 2018, the crowdfunding had surpassed $63K. It was time to gain some exposure.

What happened to Saucemoto on Shark Tank?

The partners appeared on "Shark Tank" in Season 10, Episode 22, which aired May 5, 2019. They got straight to business by asking for $45,000 in exchange for a 15% stake. Their pitch took a humorous approach by enacting the difficulties of dipping while driving or having to forgo sauce altogether, with all three men piling into a cartoonish cardboard car and simulating driving down a bumpy cobblestone street. They explained that Saucemoto prevents the problem of making a saucy mess in your car while dipping, regardless of road conditions.

Barbara Corcoran didn't see a need for the gadget, but Mark Cuban said that he eats approximately 30% of his meals while driving. In response to the Sharks financial questions, it was shared that 12,000 units had been sold for a total of $77,000 in sales. The cost to produce was .80 cents while the retail price was $5.75. 

Mark Cuban, who is officially leaving "Shark Tank," said he liked the product, but the amount of work involved to make big sales from it wasn't for him. Kevin O'Leary envisioned promotional opportunities with fast food restaurants and offered $45,000 for 50% equity. Robert Herjavec was also interested in working with the team and offered the same amount for a smaller claim of 40%. O'Leary clearly wanted in and lowered his ask to 25%, and the Milkmen happily accepted the deal. 

Saucemoto after Shark Tank

After the episode aired, the brand experienced massive sales from the "Shark Tank" effect and sold out shortly after the show. Appearing on the Everything Money podcast in 2023, Tony Lahood talked about how in the beginning, all of the company's profits were being put back into producing more inventory. Major sales continued and peaked at Christmastime when the product became the third highest seller on Amazon in the kitchen and dining category, right behind the popular Yeti and Stanley Cup tumblers (famous for their impressive collabs). 

Lahood revealed that ultimately the deal with Kevin O'Leary did not come through, stating that "at the end of the day, we didn't see eye to eye on some of the terms." He also noted that Shark Lori Greiner had made an offer that was edited out, along with earlier offers from O'Leary which were dismissed as being "ridiculous." He remarked that it wasn't really the money they were after, but rather connections and the chance to get their product noticed, and the latter goal had been achieved. 

Despite not having O'Leary's connections, the team managed to get Saucemoto into retail stores including AutoZone, Advance Auto Parts, and Joann. Physical stores, however, were not the brand's main focus, as the majority of sales continued to be made online, driven by word of mouth and social media. Some of the brand's viral videos show the product being used in extreme conditions such as off-roading and onboard combat fighter jets.

Is Saucemoto still in business?

Even though the "Shark Tank" deal did not manifest, Saucemoto is still in business regardless of not receiving the investment. The product is still available on the company's website and on its Amazon storefront, where it has over 22,700 ratings and is ranked 4.6 out of five stars. More colors have been added, and the dip clip now comes in black, gray, red, and pink, as well as a limited edition metallic rose gold. 

The company also added new, non-driving-related products to its catalog. There are two varieties of BPA-free ice trays available, both of which make fast food style mini ice cubes in whimsical shapes — one that creates round nuggets (aka, pebbles), and another which makes donut shapes, complete with a hole through the middle. These are meant to be not only playful, but also the tiny ice cubes they create are a better fit for small water bottles, fun to crunch on, and meant to cool drinks faster.

The other new product is a specially designed charcuterie board called Sauce-cuterie. Made from acacia wood, the double-sided board has eight sections made to hold stainless steel serving cups, which come included along with silicone lids. It can serve meat and cheese offerings with dips like barbecue sauce and ranch dressing, or condiments like mustard and mayonnaise, and works great for fruit and dessert options like sweet appetizer caramel charcuterie boards.

What's next for Saucemoto?

The brand has not made many details available as to its next moves, and the company deliberately does not make its earnings information public. Part of this secrecy may be a cautionary measure due to currently being involved in a lawsuit against the discount chain Five Below. Even though Milkmen Design LLC. owns the patents for Saucemoto, Five Below started selling its own version, which is nearly an exact copy, for which it is being sued for infringing on the original creators' intellectual property. There are also numerous other knockoffs now found for sale on Amazon. While the pending lawsuit is still open, Five Below continues to sell its replica, calling it a Vibe Condiment Dipping Clip. 

Tony Lahood hinted in his Everything Money interview that fun new products were in development, so we may see some more exciting innovations from the crew in the near future. While the brand is on Facebook and TikTok, the only social media channel that it appears to still be updating regularly is Instagram, which is likely to be where any interesting Saucemoto news will be announced.