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Oronoco woman takes center stage on ‘Shark Tank’

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ORONOCO, Minn. (KTTC) -- Army veteran and entrepreneur mom Beth Fynbo has found herself in the national spotlight after her invention scored her a spot on the show "Shark Tank."

Back in 2017, when Fynbo was out to eat with some friends and their babies, she noticed and the babies were throwing their toys around. She thought it would be great if there was a way a baby could play with a toy with it staying in place.

After looking online, she realized there was no such product available for parents.

Fynbo's initial idea quickly came to fruition. The concept is simple, take a flexible mat, secure toys to it with tethers, and use suction cups to secure the mat to a surface like a high chair.

She made a prototype out of regular household items like a silicone mat used for pet dishes, bungee cords and glued-on suction cups. The product received positive reviews from friends and strangers. She was then able manufacture a more sophisticated product out of food-grade silicone. She called the product "Busy Baby Mat."

Her dad has owned a welding business since she was a child, and that has always inspired her.

"I grew up working at his shop, and I just always thought it was so awesome to be your own boss," Fynbo said. "I always wanted my own business."

In September 2017, Fynbo made a video of her prototype and sent it to family and friends. In the video, she told them that she had her sights on "Shark Tank."

Fast forward to September 2020, exactly three years after she made that video, she stood in front of the "sharks" to pitch "Busy Baby Mat."

She said pitching your inventions to the panel doesn't automatically mean you are going to make the cut and be included in an episode.

Fynbo was about to go get pizza with her dad and brother when she got the long-awaited email from the show, letting her know she was included in the episode.

"I got the announcement that said 'Air-Date Shark Tank,'" Fynbo said. "I dropped my phone and just started bawling because of the amount of relief that I felt. It was just so cool. It's like full circle. My dad has his business, and now my brother and I are in business together, and we're doing this huge event."

Fynbo reached $1 million in sales in December. She said throughout the journey, she just keeps looking forward.

"Being on 'Shark Tank' is going to be life changing," Fynbo said as tears brimmed her eyes.

When she first started, she said she had no idea how to start a business. She took classes that helped her, but she said she's always learning new things.

She said anyone can do it. You just need to have an idea that is going to be worth something to people. Fynbo has won numerous monetary awards over the past couple years in pitch competitions.

She works out of a garage at her house, but she said she hopes to build a new facility at some point.

Her episode airs March 5.

Megan Zemple

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