As Seen on Shark Tank! Jason Lucash: Davis Alum and Founder of OrigAudio

In the 9 years since this alum graduated from UC Davis, he has invented a novel product sold on QVC, landed on Time Magazine’s Top 50 Inventions of 2009, and won a $150,000 investment on Shark Tank. In fact, it was so good, Shark Tank actually invited him on the show instead of him applying to be a contestant. In 2012, he was Entrepreneur’s "Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year" and one of OC Metro’s “40 Under 40 Most Innovative People in Orange County.” Shark Tank then invited him back again for a segment highlighting the success of his company since the show. In 2013, he was one of UCD’s Young Alumni of the Year.

Meet Jason Lucash, inventor and founder of OrigAudio.

What was your time at UC Davis like? 

It was awesome. I was a Managerial Economics major. I partied a lot, hung out with friends, but I also did a lot of internships—I interned for the Sacramento River Cats, which are a Triple-A baseball team, and then for the Oakland A’s for two summers. I also met my wife at UC Davis, so UCD has a special place in my heart. It’s a great school with lots of great majors and minors.

So what is OrigAudio?

We’re a tech company based in Orange County. We make gadgets and gizmos like portable speakers and basically anything you might need for your music.

Where did the idea for OrigAudio come from? 

It started with our first product, OrigAudio. The focus and goal of that product was to create a set of portable, compact speakers. Speakers have a tendency to get lost- we wanted to make something flat, but that didn’t work, so we ended up making them foldable like origami.

How did the production of OrigAudio get started?

At my old job we did a lot of sourcing overseas, so I had some experience with that. We shipped what we had overseas and did a lot of trial and error. It took about 6 months to get from the initial prototype to the final product.

You went on Shark Tank back in Season 2 and won. What was that like?

It was really cool. Shark Tank called us and asked us to be on the show—they saw OrigAudio on Time Magazine’s list of the Top 50 Inventions of 2009, so we didn’t have to apply. It went really well, all the Sharks made offers and we made a deal with Robert Herjavec. Things blew up after we did the show- the exposure alone brought us a lot more revenue. Later they called us back for an update segment on OrigAudio, and that also brought us more exposure. We did our homework, so we had our pitch down going into the tank.

OrigAudio has partnered with several charities. Can you tell me about them?

My favorite charity that we’ve partnered with is Chemo Duck, which helps kids with cancer by demonstrating treatments on a stuffed duck for patients to alleviate some of the fear of cancer treatment. There’s also the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE), which teaches kids from underprivileged backgrounds about entrepreneurship. There’s a lot of monetary investment there too, but Chemo Duck is the one I’m really passionate about. My wife is a pediatric psychologist so the tool is one that’s actually used a lot in her practice, and it’s been really great to invest in something that she uses in her work.

What advice would you have for aspiring entrepreneurs? 

I’ve done a lot of presentations and public speaking, and the advice I always give is don’t take yourself too seriously, but take the business seriously. You can have fun and enjoy your life, but invest in the business. Another thing I would say is that there are many people who have good ideas, but the ones who actually act on them are the ones who succeed. So if you have a good idea, don’t just sit on your ass; go out there and invest and work on it. 

Where do you see yourself and OrigAudio in the future? 

Right now we’re having crazy growth. Our revenue is doubling every year, which is insane. Our goal is to eventually sell the company and move on to the next big thing, but right now our business is growing so fast we’re having a hard time keeping up—we’ve expanded to 19 products after just 6 years. OrigAudio is doing really well, but I don’t want to do this forever. I’m an entrepreneur at heart; I want to move on to what’s next.

Bonus lightning round!

What’s a question you’ve always wanted to be asked in an interview?

Ooh. I don’t know. What’s my hidden talent? I know every Division I college mascot, and also every airport code in the country. I travel a lot. It’s really random, but yeah, that’s my hidden talent.

What’s the last thing you were obsessed with on Netflix?

Orange is the New Black.

Have you seen The Avengers: Age of Ultron?

No. I’ve been in China; I just got back on Sunday.

Favorite class at UC Davis?

Ooh. Beer-Making. The guy who taught it, Charles Bamforth, was a really cool professor.

Lastly, since we’ve come full circle back to Davis, do you still ride your bike?

Oh, for sure. I have to! I ride my bike all the time, especially now that I have a nicer bike than the one I had in college.