AUSTIN - Another Austin entrepreneur will soon be swimming with the sharks. Julia Cheek will be pitching her products on ABC's the Shark Tank this Sunday.
The 33-year-old is the founder or EverlyWell, which sells at-home testing kits online. She got the idea for the company a few years ago after she was hit with a problem she wanted to solve.
"I ended up personally going through this really awful experience," Cheek said.
She said she had a health problem she wasn't able to properly diagnose.
"I spent about six months going to a bunch of different doctors," Cheek said. "I did a ton of different lab tests and ended up having to pay over $2,000 in unexpected lab bills. I just thought there had to be a better way."
Cheek said she couldn't find one, so the Harvard business grad created EverlyWell.
The company offers a wide range of tests. Examples include fertility, food sensitivity and Vitamin D tests.
All tests are purchased through the EverlyWell website. They then ship to your home where you create your own DNA samples. After that, you send in your samples and the results usually come back in about five days.
"The tests range from $69 up to $399," Cheek said. "All of our tests are physician-approved and reviewed."
In just two years, EverlyWell has seen major growth.
"We are projecting about $6 million in sales this year," Cheek said.
It's a reflection of the success this industry has seen. The research firm Kalorama Information reports the market for direct-to-consumer laboratory tests has grown from $15 million in 2010 to $131 million in 2015.
"We've sold over 30,000 tests," Cheek said.
Cheek's staff says that number continues to rise every day, so it came as no surprise that Shark Tank producers approached their boss to be on the show.
"It's a really awesome feeling knowing that all of our hard work has really paid off," EverlyWell employee Morgan Carroll said.
"Just to have the opportunity to air on the biggest shopping weekend of the year is particularly exciting," Cheek said.
Cheek now joins the ranks of Austinites whose companies have been featured on Shark Tank. Others include Me and the Bees Lemonade and Chi'Lantro.
"Austin has one of the best startup scenes in the country and it also has many products that resonate well with the Shark Tank audience," Cheek said.
Over the summer, Cheek pitched her product to the sharks. She said she can't share her results yet, so you'll have to watch for yourself. Cheek's episode airs at 8 p.m. Sunday on KVUE ABC.
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