IU grad pitches biz idea to TV 'sharks'

September 11, 2012
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

It has been a whirlwind summer for Derek Pacqué and his Indianapolis-based startup CoatChex.

Pacqué and his team have been fine-tuning the ticketless coat-check system he thought up while a bar-hopping student at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business. Now they’re gearing up for a Friday launch party that coincides with Pacqué’s appearance on the ABC television show “Shark Tank,” where he pitched his idea to potential investors including fellow Kelley alum Mark Cuban, a serial entrepreneur and owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team.

The so-called sharks’ reaction to Pacqué’s presentation is under wraps until the show airs at 8 p.m. Friday, but he said his segment—which appears at the beginning of the episode—“should be really exciting.”

“There’s a reason they put us first,” he said.

Pacqué, 23, graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in management and entrepreneurship. It was more than a milestone for him. IU’s entrepreneurship program includes a high-stakes capstone course—dubbed the Spine Sweat—that requires seniors to prepare and pitch a business plan to a group of entrepreneurs, angel investors and venture capitalists. That panel decides who passes—and in turn who graduates.

IBJ wrote about CoatChex in May, as Pacqué was preparing to ramp up production of his iPad-based system after identifying hundreds of potential clients at the Nightclub and Bar Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas.

CoatChex Derek Pacqué and his buddies started checking coats as a money-making gig in college. After learning the hard way using paper receipts, Pacqué developed an iPad-based system. (IBJ file photo)

Since then, he has broadened the business model to include two other channels he thinks are even more promising.

In addition to selling its system to venues, CoatChex is offering to provide temporary coat-checking services for special events and also is marketing its equipment to entrepreneurs who want to run their own coat-check operations.

“That’s the business we’re looking to create,” Pacqué said. “That kind of mobile service really isn’t out there now.”

With the product design finalized and production complete, CoatChex is ready to make a public splash. Now the rest of us just have to wait and see whether the “Shark Tank” investors took the bait.

  • He didn't build that
    Great idea Derek. But you didn't build that it was all your professors at IU. Or because of a road or bridge somewhere.
  • Funny, but...
    Make the funny comments - but this is one hard-working, persistent, determined guy with a solid concept who "made it work" - and I know, I WAS one of his professors! The more like him we have in Indiana, the better - we have many IU/Purdue entrepreneurial grads out there making businesses work! Go get 'em!

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
  1. Here are a few candidates for this new group, "ripped from the headlines." First up, that bizzaro State Senator Brent Waltz; secondly, the unethical Todd Huston, and his contractual arrangements scheme; Finally, but not least of all, the dishonorable Eric Turner. What sayeth you Greg Zoeller?

  2. Good day. I can't hide this great testimony that take place in my life I will love everyone to know it and be partaker that is why I always place it on answer, I am Mrs,Natalie Cuttaia by name, I live in Texas, United State Of America, I want to thank (Mr.Bruce Brandon) for his kindness upon my family life. I never knew that there is still nice lender like this on internet and earth here. Just some Months Back, I was in search for a loan of $100,000,00 as I was running out of money for feeding and rent. I was scammed $6,800 Dollars and I decided not to involve my self in such business again but a Friend of my introduced me to a loan firm due to my appearance and doings. And I told him that I am not interested of any loan deal anymore but he told me that there is still a nice lender who he will recommend me to, and I made a trial and I am most grateful lucky am I today, I was given a loan amount of $100,000.00usd, by this great Company (Bruce Brandon Loan Company) managed by (Mr.Bruce Brandon) If you are in need of a genuine or legit loan or financial assistance and you can be reliable and trusted of capable of paying back at the due time of the funds I will advice you to, contact him via: ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com ) And you will be free from scams in the internet. All thanks to Mr.Bruce Brandon You are the one who remove me and my family out of poverty. The reason why i am doing this is that, i promise Mr.Bruce Brandon that if i truly got my loan, i will advertize his company and bring customers to his company. Contact him via ( bruce.brandon071@gmail.com )for the Loan you have been looking for..

  3. Hello, We are firm Organization formed to help people in needs of helps,such as financial help. So if you are going through financial difficulty or you are in any financial mess,and you need funds to start up your own business,or you need loan to settle your debt or pay off your bills,start a nice business, or you are finding it hard to obtain capital loan from local banks,contact us today via email mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com So do not let these opportunity pass you by because Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever more. Please these is for serious minded and God fearing People. Your Name: Loan Amount: Loan Duration: Valid Cell Phone Number: Thanks for your understanding to your contact as we Await Regards Management Email:mrsroseberrywilkinsfunds.usa@gmail.com

  4. The question is, where could they build a new stadium? It seems in the past year, all the prime spots have been spoken for with potential projects. Maybe in the industrial wasteland area a block past Lucas Oil? I think it needs to be close to the core, if a new stadium is built.

  5. Aldi is generally a great shopping experience. Still, I'm sure YOU wouldn't want to shop there, which I consider a positive.