Whatever Happened To Pluto Pillow After Shark Tank Season 12?

While there are countless customizable mattresses saturating the market, the same cannot be said about customized pillows on a comparable level. With that in mind, entrepreneurs Susana Saeliu and Kevin Li saw a need to fill a gap in the existing market for a truly customizable pillow experience, and thus, Pluto Pillow was born.

With several years of successful sales under their belt and a drive to meet what they believe to be a failure in the pillow industry to capitalize on the success of the personalized mattress industry, Saeliu and Li took their case before the sharks on "Shark Tank" on season 12. While the duo didn't walk away successfully securing a deal with any of the sharks, that didn't stop the expansion of their brand or the continued success of Pluto Pillow. Despite not making an investment deal with their pitch to the sharks, the founders have been busy growing the brand ever since, and Pluto Pillow is still successfully operating.

Why does Pluto Pillow claim to be so special?

There is an influx of pillows on the market, each claiming to scientifically be "the best" for your sleep health. However, what is considered to be the optimal pillow for a stomach sleeper may not be the best for someone who regularly sleeps on their side. Additionally, the fill material, outer material, thickness, and density preferences vary drastically between each sleeper, making what is considered to be the "best" pillow completely subjective based on the person. This is the argument of Saeliu and Li, who insist that choosing the right pillow is a far more personal and individualized experience than many people realize.

Pluto Pillow is hypoallergenic, with each being made with a foam inner core and a more plush, microfiber outer core that surrounds it. The ratio of foam to outer material is part of what Pluto can customize. Pluto Pillow takes each user's preferences into consideration based on an online quiz, which claims to uniquely match you with your ideal pillow based on a specified algorithm. The Pluto Pillow quiz also takes into consideration your body statistics, such as your height and weight, in addition to the way you regularly sleep. It also asks questions about your current pillow and mattress and whether or not you like them, as well as whether or not you prefer foam or fill material. Given your answers, there are more than 35 different possible pillows you can be matched with.

Pluto Pillow on Shark Tank

Saeliu and Li entered the Shark Tank seeking an investment of $400,000 for 5% equity in their company, with the implied valuation of $8 million. While the high valuation left the sharks skeptical, they still managed to receive one offer.

After their initial pitch to the sharks, Saeliu and Li presented each of them with their own customized pillows, specifically crafted to fit each of the shark's individual preferences (that the duo seemingly did some digging to find out beforehand.) During their continued pitch to the sharks, Saeliu and Li explained that they did $197,000 in sales in 2018, $473,000 in 2019, and $490,000 at the halfway mark of 2020 when they made their pitch.

Lori Greiner was the first to drop out, as she couldn't get on board with a pillow company with a relatively competitive market. Kevin O'Leary also dropped out because of the high valuation and asking amount, followed by Daniel Lubeyzky, who didn't feel as though he was the right fit either. Mark Cuban also dropped out, citing concerns he had as to whether or not the company had enough proven success to be considered a good investment.

Ultimately, it was Robert Herjavec who extended an offer to the pair, one of $400,000 for a 20% equity — much higher than their initial asking amount. Saeliu and Li countered at 9%, but Herjavec declined. After some consideration, the founders of Pluto Pillow decided to walk away without accepting the offer.

After not reaching a deal on Shark Tank

Though they were not able to make a deal with any of the sharks, Saeliu and Li have still gone on to find continued success in their customized pillow endeavors. While it was not featured on the episode, Saelie and Li noted on their blog that they already had other investors involved by the time they made their appearance on Shark Tank. So, while they walked away from Robert's offer of $400,000 for 20% equity, it's worth noting that the company's success did not depend on them reaching a deal.

Fortunately for both Saeliu and Li, their airtime on Shark Tank and continued relevance in the media have only further contributed to their success. In fact, CNN Underscored named Pluto Pillow the "best pillow overall" for 2023. It has also been featured in and raved about in Architectural Digest, Cosmopolitan, House Beautiful Magazine, Oprah Daily, and more.

The company is still successfully operating, and you can order a Pluto Pillow for yourself on their official website. An original size Pluto Pillow is 24" x 16", and a longer 34" by 16" king size is also available. The original is currently ticketed at $125, while the king will run you $155. They have also expanded their collection to include PUFF, a companion body pillow, as well as POD, a 360-degree travel pillow with a patent pending design. The company also still regularly posts on its Instagram and Facebook pages.