The Truth About What Happened To Airbedz After Appearing On Shark Tank

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ABC's "Shark Tank" premiered in 2009 and quickly became a favorite among television viewers everywhere! "'Shark Tank' is designed to help companies started in basements, in small towns, started by inexperienced founders to take their companies places they could never dream of going," judge and business mogul Mark Cuban gushed to Forbes about the premise of the show.

Alas, not every "Shark Tank" contestant walked away with the deal of a lifetime or got to experience the highly coveted "Shark Tank" effect after appearing on the show — case in point: Airbedz. The story goes that Airbedz founder Jim Pittman appeared on the hit business reality television show during the 13th episode of Season 3 and pitched a line of air mattresses that perfectly fit into the bed of many trucks. The ask? $250,000 for a 15% stake in his brand. Spoiler alert: Pittman left empty-handed. Judge Barbara Corcoran briefly entertained investing but demanded a 50% stake in the business. Pittman countered at 25%, but Corcoran wasn't having it and opted to leave the deal on the table. Meanwhile, the other four judges, including Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Kevin O'Leary, and Daymond John, also passed on the product — but not before Cuban questioned PIttman's work ethic and demanded that he "get off his ass and sell" his products. Yikes.

So whatever happened to Airbedz after appearing on "Shark Tank"? Funny, you should ask.

Airbedz has some patent drama

Sadly, following his debut on "Shark Tank," things only went from bad to worse for Airbedz owner Jim Pittman. While Pittman touted his product as "the original truck bed air mattress" and even claimed on the show to have obtained four patents on it, it appears someone else would beg to differ. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the "dual layer for mattress truck bed" patent belongs to an inventor named Terrence Michael Hanrahan, located in Mission Viejo, California. Hanrahan first announced the debut of his product, Truck-Bedz, way back in 2004. "The idea for Truck-Bedz came one morning when I crawled off the crummy little thin air mattress in the bed of my truck and felt all the aches and pains that come with a rotten night's sleep after a hard day's work and play. I looked over and saw that two of my buddies wore the same tired, haggard expression and thought, 'I need to invent something better!' And, being an engineer by trade, that's what I did," he explained, per Global News Wire

The powers that be at Airbedz, however, are still adamant that they are the rightful owners of the patent. "Did you know that the Original Truck Bed Air Mattress was conceptualized, designed and patented by us?" the company penned in part in a lengthy Instagram post on June 30, 2023. However, according to a murky report by SharkTankBlog, the company was set to be served with a notice of patent infringement "any day now," athough it doesn't appear to have happened as of yet.

Airbedz is still trucking along

Despite the patent drama, Airbedz and the owner Jim Pittman are still trucking along with the brand of inflatable truck bed mattresses. The Pittman Outdoors official website says the brand is "celebrating 20 years." And while their time on "Shark Tank" wasn't fruitful by way of the $250,000 in capital Pittman was looking for, they still proudly tout themselves as the brand "seen on Shark Tank."

AirBedz can now be purchased via their website, on Amazon, Napa Auto Parts, Tractor Supply, Walmart, and various other retailers, and they have expanded their product line to include inflatable mattresses for SUVs and rear seats. And it appears they have plenty of happy customers too! "This was delivered faster than expected, fit our truck bed just as it should have. We used it for 3 nights in a row and never had to add air. I am a plus-sized woman and my husband is not small. Definitely worth the money! We slept great all weekend," one satisfied customer wrote on Amazon in March. Still, another lamented that while celebrating the Fourth of July, the motor in the air pump burned out after only three uses. Hey, you win some, and you lose some, right?!