Organised by London Business School, the annual Awards ‘celebrate the real heroes and the real stories that make innovation happen’.
At a ceremony held on November 14 in central London, Scrub Daddy was the recipient of the Judge’s Choice Award in the Alexander Fleming Serendipity Award category.
London Business School said: ‘This award is for ‘a person or organisation that built a thriving business on an idea that originated in the most unexpected or surprising way. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin essentially by accident, and indeed many other famous discoveries have been entirely serendipitous. The key criterion is the extent to which the actual discovery was a long way from the inventor’s intended goal.’
Scrub Daddy’s UK representatives accepted the award on behalf of president and ceo Aaron Krause.
The company said: ‘To say that Scrub Daddy came about through accident is somewhat of an understatement. In 2006 engineer and inventor Aaron ran an auto-detailing company, but his hands constantly got dirty at the detailing shop, so he created a polymer foam that cleaned them extraordinarily well. However, his attempts to market the sponge came to naught and he sold the auto-detailing company to 3M in 2008. The polymer foam invention was not part of the sale, so – much like Alexander Fleming’s neglected petri dish – Aaron put them in a box labelled scrap and left them at the back of the factory.
In 2011, when his wife asked him to clean the lawn furniture, Aaron remembered the long-forgotten box and, frustrated with traditional cleaning sponges that didn’t work, realised that the foam became soft in hot water and hard in cold water, making it extremely good at cleaning dishes without scratching their polished surfaces.
‘He founded Scrub Daddy and in October 2012 went on US TV series ‘Shark Tank’, in which entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors, winning an investment of $200,000. Since then, the smiley-face shaped sponge has earned over $100 million in revenue, making it the biggest-ever success on ‘Shark Tank’.
‘To date Scrub Daddy has sold over 25 million sponges across the US and added several product lines, and was recently valued at $170 million, with ambitious international expansion plans. If necessity is the mother of invention, you could say Aaron’s invention is the Daddy of all sponges.’