From ‘Shark Tank’ to ‘The View:’ How this kid-focused startup plans to expand

February 2018 | Sara Gilgore

The sisters behind D.C.-based Surprise Ride, a children’s activities e-commerce business and memorable “Shark Tank” survivor, appeared recently on “The View” with a surprise for parents: They can play, too.

The startup, which sells a subscription box service for educational activities, is developing a new product line tailored to adults, co-founders Donna and Rosy Khalife announced last week on “The View.” They appeared alongside investor and shark Kevin O’Leary, who had selected them to help represent his portfolio of companies from the ABC reality pitch competition. They joined fellow sharks Robert Herjavec and Daymond John, who also brought their favorite entrepreneurs from recent seasons to the ABC morning talk show, which aired Feb. 15.

On “The View,” Rosy Khalife talked about the need for a digital detox. It reflects how Surprise Ride is repositioning its business now, as “device-free fun” — for all ages.

“We all need a break, and we all have a problem,” she said on the show. “This is solving it and just letting you unwind for a second.”

The sisters decided to expand to the elder age group after finding that parents were using the kid-friendly activity kits with their little ones. Until it creates new kits for adults, it’s marketing its original arts and crafts packages — to build a science fair volcano, make beeswax candles and design a bird house, among others — to all. Each sells for $25.95.

The company said kits for parties and corporate teams could also be coming down the line, with subscription, single-kit and bundle options.

Surprise Ride — one of the Washington Business Journal’s 25 Startups to Watch last year — did not get a deal during its “Shark Tank” appearance, but later lured O’Leary as an investor. He put in $50,000 for 2.5 percent of the business. They raised $1 million in March 2017 and have collected $3.1 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase.