Konnel Banner and Frank Weston are the two men from Riverdale, Utah behind InstaFire, the charcoal starter. It’s a powder made of volcanic rock, wood pellets and paraffin wax that ignites charcoal almost immediately. It’s a safer alternative to lighter fluid. Plus, there’s no odor on the charcoal or food and it works in any weather. A big hit with customers who enjoy camping, hiking, and barbeque, InstaFire is available on the company website and on Amazon. There are a variety of product sizes available — from a 3-pack pouch ($4.49) to a 5 gallon bucket ($79.99).
Banner and Weston want InstaFire to be sold in big retail stores and become a household name so they’ll pitch the business on a special episode of Shark Tank that features Made in USA products on February 21 at 10pm on ABC. (They’re asking for $450k for 10 percent.) One question the Sharks will ask is why InstaFire hasn’t done better since it first hit the market in 2008. So far the company has made $2.1 million in sales. Although they didn’t have to, when they first developed the product, they paid an 80-year-old man who inspired them with the idea for Insta-Fire a royalty for three years.