Slick Barrier founders eye new business development opportunities
By Terrance Thornton | Digital Free Press
The Valley of the Sun is known across the globe for many wonderful things but one fact of life remains about living in a desert — that maybe until now has been inescapable — is you will, at some point, have an experience with a scorpion.
Scorpions are just a part of the Sonoran Desert some might say but for local homeowners with small children they are a nuisance at best and a life-threatening insect at worse, according to the founders at Slick Barrier.
New Mexico transplants — Aaron Gonzalez and Tony Gonzalez, no relation — have called the East Valley region of the Phoenix metropolitan area home for several years, first moving to the Valley about five years ago, but upon arrival Aaron found his new home completely infested with scorpions.
“I was struggling so bad with my house, we were just infested with these things,” he told the Arizona Digital Free Press Monday, Jan. 23. “My wife was ready to sell the house we originally thought we were going to be in forever.”
Over the next several months upon home ownership, a solution struck Aaron for combating scorpion infestation. Turns out, he explains, scorpions, other insects and vermin are natural crawlers — but they can’t move well or at all on smooth surfaces.
“I had tried all the regular professional solutions, the ones that are supposed to work,” he said. “There just wasn’t a solution. Not only are they gross and physically dangerous — no one wants to deal with that. Then it hit me, they can’t climb out of the bathtub, we have all seen that, right?”
That was the novel idea Aaron shared with his friend, Tony. But at first Tony wasn’t convinced.
“It has been about four or five years now, but a little bit before that time my partner, his house, had just been infested with scorpions and he came up with this idea for a ‘slick barrier’ for a coating around a house and he wanted to patent the idea. I was listening and thought it could be a good idea and I swear not more than a few weeks after that phone call we all got out of the pool and I wrapped a towel around my son who was about 3 years old at the time.”
Tony explains he puts his son down on a bed gathering clothes and everything would change seconds later.
“He just starts screaming and screaming, he drops the towel and sure enough on his elbow he had three stings,” Tony recalled. “He was in intense pain, his throat was closing, this was pretty serious. It was an absolute horrible experience and after several hours beginning at an Urgent Care at 10 p.m. and ending with an overnight hospital stay I called Aaron.”
Aaron remembers that phone call saying: “From that moment, it was on.”
Slick Barrier to appear on ABC’s Shark Tank
The direct-to-consumer product offers a one-time coating application that dries to a glass-like surface, impossible for scorpions and other pests to enter and will appear on the television show, Shark Tank on ABC Friday, Jan. 27.
OF NOTE: check local listings for time.
“Once we started going we began working with universities and manufacturers as we started to develop the right formula for the coating,” Aaron said. “While it seems like it was simple solution, it took a lot of trial and error. My whole line of thinking is if I could put a coating around my house the majority of them are not going to get in. You would think you could go to Home Depot and find something like this, but it didn’t really exist.”
A key feature of Slick Barrier is the product is designed for do-it-yourself application, Aaron explains.
“We wanted a product that a person could use and wasn’t expensive,” he said. “What we have done is created an anti-crawl solution to protect homes and structures. If they can’t crawl they can’t get into areas and we were able to capture a patent on the whole process.”
Tony points out the product he and his partner have developed goes through the ringer during the upcoming Shark Tank episode.
“It was very intense — and to be honest — I didn’t think it was gong to be intense,” he said, pointing out the dynamic duo brought live examples to the Shark Tank set. “I thought it was going to be an easy sell, especially with the props, but they really were sharks and brought difficult questions. We are very excited to see it air.”
Aaron explains at the core of what Slick Barrier offers and what is illustrated during the Shark Tank episode is an effective barrier to insects for homes and structures.
“It is literally just a physical barrier,” he said. “This should be on every house, not just in the southwest. If anything, this can help become a replacement for pesticides as it doesn’t kill anything or, at the very least, it complements them very well.”