St. Thomas grad to appear on 'Shark Tank' with earplug invention

At a local concert in 2014, University of St. Thomas grad Jackson Mann ruptured his left ear while standing next to a speaker.

The painful experience became his inspiration to create these Vibes Hi-Fidelity Earplugs. Much different  and less noticeable then the large foam ear plugs many are used to, Vibes evenly lower the decibels of the music without losing the clarity

“With a foam ear plug, it's like putting a wall between yourself and the music,” said Mann.

The idea quickly caught the attention of someone at ABC's hit show 'Shark Tank', in which sharks such as Mark Cuban and Mr. Wonderful regularly invest millions of dollars in new inventions.

“Literally it was within four months of being in business. They said we've found you on a blog, we'd love to hear from you and I literally thought it was spam,” said Mann.

In June, Mann made the pitch of his young lifetime to the sharks in Los Angeles.
“In terms of a true investor pitch, it's about as tough as it can get," he said. "You have no notes, no slides, they know nothing about you before you walk in the door, it's 3, 2, 1 - go. And you are up in front of five people whose job is to make you squirm.”

Part of the appeal of Mann's product is the charitable aspect. A percentage of each pair of earplugs sold for $23.99 goes to the Hear the World Foundation.
“We are providing a product, but we are also really trying to create awareness about hearing health,” said Mann.

Mann can’t say whether he reached a deal with a shark or not. He just found our recently, he’ll be on an episode of which will air January 27.
“Deal or deal from an exposure standpoint to a personal learning standpoint, everything from here seems like smooth sailing in terms of business meetings compared to that,” he said.

For more information on Vibes Hi-Fidelty Earplugs, click here