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'Shark Tank' helps wife grow bike biz

Jun. 15, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
Mary Beth Lugo, partner of KaZAM bikes. The bike is used to teach balance to young children.
Mary Beth Lugo, partner of KaZAM bikes. The bike is used to teach balance to young children. ()
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Mary Beth Lugo is admittedly a little shy. And while she may be in the business of making kids happy, she must develop a vicious side.

That’s the advice from her newest business partner, billionaire investor and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“When you get a chance to step on the throat of your competitor, you just gotta step, squish and let the roadkill be picked up by somebody else,” Cuban told Lugo during the May 10 episode of “Shark Tank.” The ABC show sets up entrepreneurs with possible investors, like Cuban.

Lugo, a Navy spouse, is the driving force behind KaZAM, a bike that teaches balance to young children. She and her husband, Cmdr. John Lugo, launched KaZAM in 2009 and, with the help of another married couple, have grown a substantial business. They sold nearly 1 million bikes in 2012 and expect to beat that number in 2013.

Strong sales enticed Cuban to team up with a fellow “Shark,” real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran, and buy into KaZAM, purchasing a 32 percent stake for $300,000.

Cuban’s influence should be a boon for KaZAM, Mary Beth Lugo told Navy Times.

“Emails and orders have been going crazy since the show aired,” said Lugo, a mom of two boys.

Cmdr. Lugo, a supply corps officer enrolled at the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, helps out with the business but stressed his wife leads.

“It’s been amazing,” he said. “Taking a design to reality, and then seeing how far the limits can be pushed.”

Mary Beth Lugo is taking Cuban’s advice to heart. She said she’s ready for any rivals.

“I’m here because I want to blast them away,” she told the Sharks, who’d questioned her aggressiveness. The Sharks were convinced.

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