Penn is notorious for creating generations of innovators and entrepreneurs that lead the world in their respective fields. Innovation drives Penn students to go above and beyond, and this year’s theme encompasses that. In honor of the Year of Innovation, Weiss Tech House is proud to highlight Penn alum Alan Cook, a mentor to Weiss Tech House who had the extraordinary opportunity to be on Shark Tank this past Sunday.
Alan Cook, who graduated as part of the M&T program in 1995 with a B.S.E. in Mechanical Engineering and a B.S. in Finance and Management, has been a part of multiple entrepreneurial adventures, including Lucky Litter, LLC, which oversaw the development of the ScoopFree automated self-cleaning litter system. In 2012, he sold the company. In addition, Alan co-founded Belle-V LLC with Wharton’s Vice Dean of Innovation, Dr. Karl Ulrich, which produces high-end ice cream scoops.
Alan’s most recent endeavor is called BrilliantPad, the world’s first self-cleaning indoor dog potty. He worked with a Penn Vet School alum, Brett Shorenstein, to develop this product, which has sold over $100,000 on Indiegogo this year and is now available for purchase on Amazon. Despite facing several engineering and logistics problems with his product, he persisted, telling us that “Innovation doesn’t often happen in one magic moment. It is a process of designing, building, testing and iterating over and over many times.” On Sunday, November 5th, an episode of Shark Tank was aired where Alan had the incredible opportunity to pitch his new product. “Filming Shark Tank was one of life’s most memorable moments and it was totally unreal,” said Alan.
Budding Penn entrepreneurs should follow in the footsteps of Alan, who, during his time at Penn, took “huge advantage of the Penn and Wharton Networks.” Dr. Karl Ulrich is his partner of nearly two decades, and has been instrumental in leading him to “countless people” who have impacted his journey. For all those looking to create and innovate, Alan says “If you think it, you can do it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”