Channel 6: Melni Connector and Shark Tank!

Idaho tests help new technology ‘wow’ billionaire investors

By Scott Stark for INL Communications

When local small businessman and entrepreneur Mark Melni designed a new way to make repairs to broken underground electric lines that was more than six times faster than existing methods, he was pretty sure he had an industry-changing invention on his hands. In normal situations, restoring power that much faster is just good business, and in hazardous environments, a sixfold increase in repair times could literally be lifesaving.

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Melni Connectors Jumps into the Shark Tank

Idaho-based Melni Connectors was started by an inventor who designed a connector based on a children’s toy. Last week he found himself on the television hit Shark Tank, pitching the idea to potential investors.


Inventor Mark Melni didn’t know a children’s toy would leave him swimming with the sharks.

Although the connector industry is dominated by a handful of big-name corporations that offer long rosters of legacy and commodity components, Melni Connectors and its innovative electrical connector just proved there are still opportunities for entrepreneurs and start-ups in the industry.

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Shark Tank, the Melni Connector

What could a Melni Connector be? Some kind of lego-like interlocking building blocks? Some newfangled technological device? Well, as we’ll see on Friday’s episode of Shark Tank, the Melni Connector is actually more of a tool than a plaything or gadget. It serves to safely (and simply) connect two wires. For those of us who are less electrically inclined (myself included), it does the work of multiple tools and parts (such as crimpers and heat shrink insulators), and connects two wires in a very user-friendly manner.

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President Obama Tours Techhelp at BSU