Entrepreneur talks about life after “Shark Tank”

It all started with a little girl and her stuffed animals. Her imagination and creativity sparked an idea that would turn itself into a successful business and a man’s passion.

In fall 2014, Alex Furmansky of Palm Beach was featured on an episode of the reality television show “Shark Tank,” which allowed him to promote his business, Budsies, to the world. Budsies takes pictures that kids draw and turns them into real-life stuffed animals.

“I had the pleasure of watching my little sister grow up, and she loved her stuffed animals,” Furmansky says. “One day, I asked myself, “How can I combine her creativity with her love of stuffed animals?””

Furmansky went into the tank asking the sharks for a $100,000 investment for a 5 percent equity in his company. Kevin O’Leary and Daymond John took the bait, offering him $100,000 for a 50 percent and 40 percent stake, respectively. After hearing the offers that were placed in front of him, Furmansky felt he had a simple choice: to walk away. “Their offers weren’t even close,” he says. “They were grossly undervalued, and I know our company is worth so much more.” 

Both O’Leary and John wanted to raise the price of a Budsie from $69 (current retail price, according to Budsies.com) to $249 – a ridiculous sum in Furmansky’s mind. “To me, there is a lot more to the business side of things. Some people just don’t understand how connected people are with their stuffed animals,” Furmansky says.

When the “Shark Tank” episode aired, Furmansky had only sold about 2,000 Budsies. But recently, that number has increased to more than 10,000. The company has also launched “Selfies,” which turn any human photo into a plush doll, and is getting ready to launch “Petsies” to do the same thing for pets.

Although Furmansky decided not to make a deal with either O’Leary or John, he feels as though he got the “best of both worlds.” The funding and publicity that Budsies received after the show aired has helped him increase his output and lower his turn-around time from four weeks to two weeks.

Being on “Shark Tank” is no easy process. Furmansky says that it took him 18 months to even be considered for the show, from his first application to the actual taping of the episode. There is no guarantee that after you’ve taped an episode that it will actually air, but Furmansky came up with some tips to help future entrepreneurs have their tank time.

Perhaps the hardest thing about getting on the show, he says, is having a consumer-based product in which the sharks will want to invest. Then, the entrepreneur is tasked with making his or her company or product stand out from all the other thousands of applicants. “They intentionally make it difficult to get on the show,” Furmansky says. “That way, they can see who is willing to put in the effort for their company.” 

Furmansky believes that a good way for entrepreneurs to practice their pitches for “Shark Tank” is to actually go and pitch their ideas to investors. Many cities across the country hold “pitch nights,” where entrepreneurs share their ideas with a panel of judges who give immediate feedback about whether or not they would invest in the company or product.

Two years have passed since Furmansky began his journey to “Shark Tank,” and he couldn’t be happier with the results. “Everything is difficult about going into business for yourself,” he says. “But this? This was fun.” ? 


Alex Furmansky

Current Roles

Budsies: Founder of company that brings children’s artwork to life through custom-made stuffed animals

Sparkology: President and founder of invitation-only community for young professional singles

AutoPin: Founder of app that’s like About.me, but for cars


OpenPeak: Director of Business Development, 2009-2011

Evercore Partners: Analyst, 2007-2009


Bachelor’s from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania


You May Also Like

Florida Allocates Funds for Lincoln Road Redevelopment

The plan’s most significant changes are a complete street redesign, including road lane and median changes.

Easton Group starts industrial project in Doral

The Easton Group recently announced the start of construction on a 127,150 square-foot warehouse/distribution facility in Doral. The building is slated to have 30 feet of clear height with 42

Block 40 secures $70 million construction loan

A mixed-use development in Hollywood is getting closer to completion. Block 40 in downtown Hollywood received a $70 million construction loan from Trez Capital. Block 40 has also received funding

Grove Central breaks ground in Coconut Grove

Coconut Grove is getting a new mixed-use project that the developers hope will become “a model for smart development in South Florida.” Terra and Grass River Property recently broke ground

Other Posts

Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort Provides Ideal Summer Getaway

The 96-room boutique resort is an appealing staycation spot.

Kimpton Shorebreak Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort
Beachside Elegance and Upscale Amenities Make the Loews Miami Beach Hotel a True Gem

Each of the hotel’s 790 guestrooms ensure a comfortable stay.

Loews Miami Beach Hotel
Transworld Business Advisors and USA Pickleball Introduce Pickleball to Sunrise Middle School

The game combines elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong.

Transworld Business Advisors
Exclusive Oceanfront Estate in Golden Beach Lists for $55 Million

The Mediterranean-inspired property offers unparalleled ocean views.

Oceanfront Estate

Drew Limsky

Drew Limsky



Drew Limsky joined Lifestyle Media Group in August 2020 as Editor-in-Chief of South Florida Business & Wealth. His first issue of SFBW, October 2020, heralded a reimagined structure, with new content categories and a slew of fresh visual themes. “As sort of a cross between Forbes and Robb Report, with a dash of GQ and Vogue,” Limsky says, “SFBW reflects South Florida’s increasingly sophisticated and dynamic business and cultural landscape.”

Limsky, an avid traveler, swimmer and film buff who holds a law degree and Ph.D. from New York University, likes to say, “I’m a doctor, but I can’t operate—except on your brand.” He wrote his dissertation on the nonfiction work of Joan Didion. Prior to that, Limsky received his B.A. in English, summa cum laude, from Emory University and earned his M.A. in literature at American University in connection with a Masters Scholar Award fellowship.

Limsky came to SFBW at the apex of a storied career in journalism and publishing that includes six previous lead editorial roles, including for some of the world’s best-known brands. He served as global editor-in-chief of Lexus magazine, founding editor-in-chief of custom lifestyle magazines for Cadillac and Holland America Line, and was the founding editor-in-chief of Modern Luxury Interiors South Florida. He also was the executive editor for B2B magazines for Acura and Honda Financial Services, and he served as travel editor for Conde Nast. Magazines under Limsky’s editorship have garnered more than 75 industry awards.

He has also written for many of the country’s top newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, Boston Globe, USA Today, Worth, Robb Report, Afar, Time Out New York, National Geographic Traveler, Men’s Journal, Ritz-Carlton, Elite Traveler, Florida Design, Metropolis and Architectural Digest Mexico. His other clients have included Four Seasons, Acqualina Resort & Residences, Yahoo!, American Airlines, Wynn, Douglas Elliman and Corcoran. As an adjunct assistant professor, Limsky has taught journalism, film and creative writing at the City University of New York, Pace University, American University and other colleges.