TikPik – the flatpick that won on Shark Tank

If you are a regular viewer of new episodes of Shark Tank on ABC television, you’ll remember an episode last fall where entrepreneurs Kevin McDonald and Nick Nowa took their revolutionary flatpick on the show – and won a deal with mega shark Mark Cuban.

For the uninitiated, the premise of Shark Tank is that inventors and idea people bring a new product or company on to the show, and pitch it to a team of investors, who, if they are interested, compete to make a deal to buy in and help promote the product or service. Many of the Sharks, i.e., potential investors, have outsized personalities, and the show can be quite entertaining, plus even those who are unsuccessful in finding venture capital still receive tremendous visibility from the program’s large audience.

So what did Kevin and Nick bring to the Tank that got Mark Cuban on board?

TikPik, a synthetic flatpick made in a standard teardrop shape that sticks to the surface of your instrument, without using any sort of chemicals or adhesives that could harm the finish. Jake Lyda developed the TikPik, and brought it to Kevin and Nick, which uses a nano-suction material attached to the pick on both sides where you grip it. There are literally hundreds of micro-suction cups on the material that hold it where you want it.

They sent us a few to try out, and they really do stick to just about anything. Not with a firm, adhesive-type grip where you have to pry it off, but strongly enough that you could put an extra or two on your guitar or mandolin, a strap, or a mic stand when performing or practicing. They stick ever so slightly to your fingers as well, so players who have a problem with dropping picks might find that a bonus.

Other than a small, thin circular patch on the top portion of the pick, it feels and handles like any other common flatpick, and is available in three thicknesses: Thin (0.46mm), Medium (0.71mm), and Heavy (0.96mm).

The concept and its application for picks is currently patent pending.

Kevin and Jake made this video to demonstrate the TikPik.

There are actually five partners in the company, three of them musicians (Kevin, Nick, and Jake), but of the three, McDonald has a bluegrass background, which led him to contact us. He is also an artist and songwriter, with a history of entrepreneurship. He wrote a clever song called Granny Drinks Whiskey, which got him some attention in the country music world. Following up the song’s success, Kevin launched a company to market his signature whiskey, Elsie Marshall, his grandmother’s name. Always thinking!

McDonald is doing a show in Nashville this weekend at Chief’s on Broadway, along with Ronnie Bowman and Dan Tyminski. Located at the corner of Broadway and 2nd Street, Chief’s is a new restaurant, bar, and music venue as envisioned by Eric Church. Kevin, Dan, and Ronnie will perform on Sunday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. (doors at 5:00).

Nashvillians can check out the show, and talk to Kevin about TikPiks, which he will surely have stuck to the top of his guitar.

TikPiks sell for $9.95 for a single, handsomely packaged in a matchbook, a three pack of singles for $19.95, or in their most popular option, a pack of six for $29.95, packaged in a plastic case.

Full details can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.