It’s a dream for all aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch their business models on Shark Tank, hoping to attract a panel of investors to invest money in their idea. This American business reality television series has been helping many entrepreneurs make their dreams come true, and this includes Amber Leong, the founder of Circadian Optics. The entrepreneur hailing from Kuala Lumpur is the first Malaysian to have appeared on Shark Tank and scored an ultimately RM3 million deal. This is her inspiring story:
1. At the age of 20, Amber Leong purchased a one-way ticket from Kuala Lumpur to America to attend college
She was really inspired by the West and knew that the U.S. is a great place for her education. Leong’s parents were very supportive; they even cashed out their retirement funds and gave her around RM50,000 for her school fees.
Being an immigrant, alone in a foreign country with limited money, she only had enough money to cover food, dorm, and books. She had to figure things out for anything else.
2. She then got very sick and was hospitalized for 20 days
She then landed a job as a resident assistant. Things were going great until she got very sick. She was rushed to the hospital ICU and was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome. Everything happened in the blink of an eye. She spent almost 20 days in the hospital.
Due to the extremely cold weather, her body couldn’t adjust well to the changes. She had trouble sleeping at night and getting up in the morning due to the cold. She noted that the weather was different from back in her hometown where she received plenty of sunlight.
3. She learned about seasonal depression and how light therapy can help treat it
She did research and found out about seasonal depression. The article mentioned the benefits of light-therapy lamps. She decided to give it a shot and purchased a light-therapy lamp. After several usages, she noticed some positive changes – she was more awake, had more energy, and slept better at night.
Leong then came up with a brilliant idea to start a business selling light-therapy lamps. It is different from the lamps in the market. She used up all her savings to make her dream come true. She even sold her two cars to help support the business.
4. She had to sell her two cars to support her new venture
In the first year, she managed to sell 18,000 units. In the following years, she sold 43,000 and grew to 92,000. That was when she got the idea to go to Shark Tank to pitch her idea, hoping to close a deal to fund her business.
5. She had the idea to pitch her business model on Shark Tank and scored a RM3 million deal
Her business, Circadian Optics scored a total deal of $750,000 (RM3 million) from the “Sharks” Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. Now, her business is flourishing and currently makes around $4 million (RM18.57 million) in sales per year, and it is on track to continue growing.