Local man in the ‘Shark Tank’

Local man in the ‘Shark Tank’
Alexander Simone, who grew up in Carmel Valley, pitches his invention, ProntoBev, to financiers on ABC’s “Shark Tank.” Filmed in September, the episode featuring Simone airs Sunday, Nov. 12. Courtesy photos

CARMEL VALLEY — Alexander Simone says he will no longer allow himself to be nervous about public speaking after appearing on the television show “Shark Tank.”

“Oh man,” he said. “It was a different experience I will never forget. I told myself I am not allowed to be nervous again about public speaking. Nothing will ever compete with that.”

Alexander Simone with financiers Lorie Greiner and Kevin O’Leary on the set of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

Simone was pitching his product ProntoBev, which chills wine in 30 seconds. And while he cannot discuss his outcome, the segment will air this Sunday Nov. 12 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

“I was a little intimidated going in there because my company is on the line here and I have never even talked to a celebrity before — any kind of celebrity — and here I am talking to people I have seen on television for years,” he said.

While viewers hear music when the entrepreneur approaches the doors to the Shark Tank, there is none during the actual taping. No sound at all.

“I wish there were,” he said.

But in the end, he said he felt the set was designed to make a person more comfortable.

“I never saw a camera,” he said.

He said he is not sure, but he felt he was on the set for between 20 and 40 minutes.

Simone said he believes that “Shark Tank” is the most realistic reality show on television.

“They (the Sharks) knew nothing about me other than my first name,” he said.

A former resident of Carmel Valley and a graduate of Canyon Crest Academy, he now lives in San Francisco. Growing up, becoming an inventor was his goal.

“All I can remember since I was a child, the only job I ever wanted was to be an inventor,” said Simone, 25. “Making Rube Goldberg machines was my idea of a good time.”

As he got older, he started logging ideas as they came to him. Every time something caused even a mild annoyance to him, he would ask himself, “Is there an invention to fix this?”

And this is how his ProntoBev was born.

“I was in college at the time, in a fraternity house trying to have a bottle of wine with a girl,” he said. “The wine was warm.”

He was trying to figure out a way to chill the wine quickly, so he took a strainer, some ice and some salt and poured the wine through it.

“Of course, it was terrible,” he said. “The wine was watered down and the salt was not a good idea, but it got the gears turning.”

The next day he put together a prototype of his current product which led to several more.

“After several more disasters over the next few months, I got something working,” he said.

He honed it down to become the current product that chills wine, or any other beverage, in 30 seconds.

Because of a crowd funding effort, producers from “Shark Tank” approached him and encouraged him to audition.

“Our goal was to raise $25,000 in 45 days, but we hit the goal the first week,” he said.

In fact, he doubled his goal.

While he cannot discuss the interview process, it was a couple of weeks between his first contact with producers to the filming of the segment, which filmed about a month ago in Los Angeles.

Simone said he has a special connection to wine, because of his heritage.

“I am Italian,” he said. “I have been to Italy nine times to visit family. It is part of my culture and my personal connection with my grandfather who emigrated from Italy. I have memories of helping him make wine.”

And family is important.

He said his father was a “huge support” for him.

“He came to L.A. with me and spent several days practicing and preparing me, he said.

To learn more about ProntoBev, visit ProntoBev.com

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