I lived in Costa Rica for a while, and one of my favorite things to do was pop by a coconut stand for one of the vendors to whack the top of a coconut with a machete and serve it up for a little rehydration. Now there is a "Coconut Vendor" on Survivor's No Collars tribe, and all kinds of boxed and bottled coconut water in the coolers of any Whole Foods store. Basically what I'm saying is, coconuts are hot right now. But even with all the availability of coconut water in grocery stores, I still stare at the whole coconuts in the produce section, with a longing to machete-open one up myself, but no actual skills to do so. That's where Coco Jack and (hopefully) Shark Tank step in, to give laymen without access to coconut stands that authentic coconut experience.
Coco Jack takes the combined power of a specially designed mallet and stainless steel jack, invented by founder Dave Goodman, and applies it specifically to opening up Young Thai coconuts for consumption. According to an interview with Entrepreneur, Goodman was a music prodigy, attending Juilliard School's pre-college division as an adolescent, and putting together a nonprofit orchestra, Wild Ginger Philharmonic, at just 19. But at 24, after a decade spent in music, Goodman was beginning to burnout. That's what led him to working on a biodynamic farm and a whole new raw-foods lifestyle that included plenty of coconuts. The fear of one misstep with a cleaver destroying his future as a musician is what brought about a quest that ended in the invention of the Coco Jack.
There's Inventing & Then There's Inventing
Goodman didn't just create a way to safely open a coconut, he created what he's determined to be the way to a open a coconut. The quest for the Coco Jack has spanned nearly 10 years and about 100 prototypes. After working with a blacksmith in Texas (part of the discovery process is in the video above), and getting feedback from health nuts like himself in California, Goodman finally had the Coco Jack that exists today. A patented stainless steel circle is attached to a long handle with a shock-absorbing grip and partnered with the Coco Mallet to pop the top of a Young Thai coconut with ease.
How To Get The Coco Jack
Goodman told Well + Good that Coco Jack officially launched its first 2,000 units in December 2013 and sold out in just five days. He immediately had the attention of close to 100 retailers, including Whole Foods, but smartly delayed their requests until he had a working model to make Coco Jack a sustainable business. A little over a year later, Coco Jack has worked up healthy sales on its website and garnered tons of attention at yoga and raw-living events nationwide. If you want to buy a Coco Jack for yourself, they are currently available on the company's website, with the standard set costing $36.95, and many other packages and accessories available.
Goodman is ready to get on the big retail shelves too, so you might see the product in stores soon. It helps that the Coco Jack and Scoop are Internationally Patent Pending and Goodman has plans to make an industrial version of the at-home product, as well.
What's The Deal With Getting A Deal?
So, Goodman certainly has the answer for where he sees his business going, and the proprietary value of his product — now, the only question is numbers. For what the product is, Goodman likely has good sales, but is coconut-opening fulfilling a big enough need to get the Sharks involved? Its market value likely walks the line of a sure-thing investment, but the Sharks, especially Barbara and Mark, have been known to bring an entrepreneur onto their team simply because they seem like they've got the drive and ideas to keep the work going, which certainly seems to be the case with Goodman. If nothing else, they're getting a coconut out of the deal, and Coco Jack is getting some well deserved exposure.
Image: Michael Desmond/ABC