YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — After winning the $30,000 grand prize at the Youngstown Business Incubator’s Shark Tank event, Ty Aloe, CEO of Backyard Banger, may have bitten off more than he could chew.
“You’re all invited to my house,” declared the self-proclaimed outdoor cooking enthusiast to the crowd of nearly 700 who gathered Thursday night at Mr. Anthony’s in Boardman.
By all accounts the turnout was impressive, with many noting the connection between the large crowd and the community’s enthusiasm for the entrepreneurship supported by YBI.
The evening, styled after the popular “Shark Tank” TV show, featured five local companies vying for up to $30,000 in prize money and potential investment from the panel of sharks.
Jeffrey Ryznar, president and owner of 898 Marketing, served as the master of ceremonies for the night.
The 2023 celebrity sharks included Marty Bushey, managing partner and founding member of Aztec Capital Management LLC; Danny Catullo, founder of Perishable Shipping Solutions and vice president of e-commerce at PPX Hospitality Brands; Tom Fleming, chairman of Aim NationaLease; Rob Fox, CEO and founder of Buckeye Dealership Consulting; Ellie Platt, owner and president of Platt Insurance; and Herb Washington, CEO and founder of HLW Fast Track Inc.
This year’s competition received more than 60 applications, with five companies ultimately selected to present their pitches.
“We’re really excited because this is the first year we’ve had all local companies pitching,” Ewing said.
The unit also includes a mini-fridge, a large umbrella and outlets for appliances and a speaker.
“It’s a grill’s best friend,” said Aloe of the Backyard Banger, noting the unit eliminates the need to keep going back into the house to do prep work when cooking outdoors.