Meet Amber Leong, the first Malaysian featured on the hit US entrepreneurial reality TV series – Shark Tank. She went on the show seeking a partner to help her expand into the retail market and pitched 10 per cent stake in her company called Circadian Optics; selling small light therapy lamps to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm.
Amber Leong, a girl from a small town in Malaysia was selected from thousands of applicants across America to compete and win the investment deal
Amber Leong hails from Salak South, Kuala Lumpur and went to the United States after receiving her diploma from Tunku Abdul Rahman College. She was picked from thousands of applicants across America to compete against other entrepreneurs for investment from the show’s panel of Sharks. Thus, make her as the first Msian to be featured on the hit American entrepreneurial reality TV series, Shark Tank.
Surprisingly, she lands a RM3.36mil deal with the two prominent investors; Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner
Amber Leong succeeded in landing a USD$800,000 (RM3.36mil) deal with the ABC programme’s two prominent investors, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner, in exchange for a 20 per cent stake in her company – Circadian Optics.
Her company sells desktop light therapy lamps that could help people sleep better
The company based in Minneapolis was founded by Amber and her husband named as Kin Mun Chew exactly three years ago. Amber who is the founder of Circadian Optics designs and sells desktop light therapy lamps that mimic the colour and brightness of the sun to help regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle. Circadian Optics was founded when she decided to quit her corporate job a few years ago and start a light therapy lamp business.
Circadian Optics made USD$4 million in sales last year and is projected to sell USD$5.6mil
The company is said to be valued at USD$7.5mil though this figure was deemed to be “impossible” and challenged by the Shart Tank investors. But, Amber Leong managed to convince them she had what it takes before she planted everything into her own startup.
Actually, her personal story that captured the hearts of the Shark Tank investors
According to Amber, she grew up poor and had to convince her parents to cash out their retirement funds for a one-way ticket to finance her education. She was offered a scholarship to study at Bemidji State University at the age of 19. Nine months after she arrived, she was afflicted with toxic shock syndrome – a rare and potentially life-threatening condition due to bacterial infections. She was given only 50:50 survival rate and that story drew the investors in.
With perseverance and determination, she survived and went to graduate school and saved enough from her six-figure salary to send money back to her family in Malaysia. When she built enough capital, she decided to choose creativity over certainty and launched Circadian Optics.
Amber represents the “American dream”
According to the Shark Tank investors, Amber Leong represent to everybody around the world that it doesn’t matter where you come from – if you put your mind to it, everything is possible. Cuban quoted that she represents everything great about entrepreneurship and the American dream.
Amber seal the 80:20 deal with Cuban and Greiner with USD$50,000 by the duo to be given to Amber’s parents even though she was also offered USD$750,000 by another investor pair Kevin O’Leart and Barbara Corcoran.