NewsHillsborough County


UT freshman to pitch life-saving hair scrunchy on Shark Tank Friday night

Shark Tank
Posted at 5:22 PM, Feb 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-05 17:22:41-05

TAMPA, Fla. — A University of Tampa freshman will appear on Shark Tank, pitching a new type of hair scrunchy that could save your life.

It’s called the Nightcap.

“Sharks, we are talking about drink spiking, and although it is not so frequently talked about, it happens more often than you think,” said Shirah Benarde during the show’s taping.

Before she appeared on the ABC show, she was just another teenager with a dream, literally.

“So this was a big problem, and I had a friend that was roofied, and I went to bed one night and I had a dream about this invention,” said Benarde. “I grabbed my mom’s pantyhose, my scrunchy from my room, and I made the first prototype, and that’s how it was born.”

Less than two-years later, Benarde has sold 10,000 of these simple yet potentially life-saving devices with the partnership of her brother.

“You wear it on your wrist or in your hair, and when you feel uncomfortable, and you are at a bar, or party or restaurant, you take the Nightcap off your wrist, pull out the cover, and place it on the top of your drink, so you don’t get roofied,” explained Benarde.

“I was proud, and I was even surprised because I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, and I didn’t think I would be on Shark Tank within a year and a half of having a dream,” said Benarde. “We were really nervous for it, but you have to be on your best game.”

Her Shark Tank experience launched her right into the University of Tampa’s Spartan Accelerator Program, where she is working with other student entrepreneurs who are also in the process of starting their own business.

“We’ve also had more students, more students come in or apply to the accelerator, just because of Shirah’s exposure on Shark Tank, so its good energy,” said Bert Seither, Entrepreneur and Residence at the Loath Center.

“It’s really important that entrepreneurs are surrounded by other entrepreneurs, so we can all lift each other up. Entrepreneurship can be a very lonely lifestyle, but it doesn’t have to be.”

Shirah is seeking $60,000 in funding for a 20% stake in the business.

Whether she sinks or swims, you’ll have to find out for yourself Friday, Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

For more information, go to