Jake Rutledge was a 20-year veteran of the Fire Department in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Being a firefighter is a high-stress job, and for relaxation, Jake loved to go fishing. In 2017, Jake was on vacation in Destin, Florida, standing in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Water that was full of fish!
Problem was Jake was holding a nice, cold beer and really didn’t want to put it down. That’s when an idea hit him. Taking some fishing line, he tied it to the bottom of the koozie holding his drink. Jake was able to throw out the line and reel in a fish. However, he kept spiling his drink.
Chill-N-Reel Before Shark Tank
After returning home to Oklahoma, Jake kept working on prototypes of a drink holder that would have a reel apparatus built in, but would be steady enough so his drink wouldn’t spill. He finally created the perfect drink holder/fishing “pole” combination and named it Chill-N-Reel.
In a May 2020 interview with News on Six, Jake admitted that his invention isn’t meant for use in tournaments or super-serious fishing. It is designed for someone on vacation who loves fishing as a relaxing activity, but also wants to have a drink in hand while standing in the water.
Because Chill-N-Reel was essentially a side hustle for Jake, he figured it would be hard to do it alone, so he brought in two partners, Chase Terrell, his step-son, and Chris Diede, his brother-in-law. Adding these partners made Chill-N-Reel a genuine small family business!
Chase graduated from Oklahoma State University and worked as an inside sales representative for the LA Dodgers, AAA in Oklahoma City, and as leader of a business development team for a software startup company. Chase is a master at working the crowd at trade shows and is described as someone who is the “life of the party.” Chase is a real go-getter and was the one who submitted the initial application to Shark Tank.
Chris Diede is a tech wizard and has helped dozens of companies with setting up digital marketing. He has worked for major brands, such as Dole and Nestles, as well as small brands and tech startups. Chris joined the team during the beginning of the pandemic, and was the key player in creating online sales of Chill-N-Reel.
Initial promotion and sales were done through Trade Shows and traditional media appearances. Chill-N-Reel was chosen as one of the “Best Secret Santa and White Elephant Gifts” on the Today Show website in November of 2021. The partners also appeared at the Cowboy Christmas Show in Las Vegas in December 2021, and at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in January 2022. After that time, because of restrictions due to the pandemic, sales and promotion were through the website and Facebook page.
Chill-N-Reel is patented, made of a hard shell, with 50 feet of 8 lb. test line pre-wound on the reel spool. Hook and sinker are included, as well as a removable drink insulator.
Using the Chill-N-Reel is simple, but just in case it seems confusing, instructions are included on the website along with a YouTube video. Just be forewarned that the directions include many prompts to “take a sip.” But then, isn’t that the point of this unique invention?
Chill-N-Reel in the Shark Tank
|Shark Tank Air Date
|Season 13 – Episode 23
|Chris Diede, Jake Rutledge & Chase Terrell
|$300,000 for 10% equity
Entrepreneurs Chris Diede, Jake Rutledge, and Chase Terrell entered the Shark Tank seeking an investment of $300,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake in Chill-n-Reel. The $3M valuation, while ambitious, set the stage for a series of calculated responses from the Sharks.
Kevin O’Leary, recognizing the product’s entertainment value but deeming it unfit for investment in his portfolio, bowed out, followed by Lori Greiner and Daymond John, who shared a similar sentiment.
This left Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec as the remaining Sharks. Mark, despite acknowledging the product’s allure, expressed concerns about its profitability, leading him to decline participation. Robert, on the other hand, saw potential in the concept of “selling fun” and proposed a $300,000 investment for a 10% equity stake, paired with a perpetual $2 royalty for each unit sold.
The entrepreneurs, hesitant about the royalty arrangement, countered with an offer of 15% equity in lieu of the royalty. Robert, inclined to retain the royalty unless his equity were to be even higher than 15%, couldn’t find common ground with the entrepreneurs, ultimately leading to an impasse. Chill-n-Reel left the Shark Tank without an investment.