Shark Tank Investor Says “I Do” to DU Alumna’s Wedding Business
After years of hard work, DU alumna Caroline Creidenberg (BS ’17) has found the perfect match to elevate her virtual wedding business via partner Robert Herjavec from Shark Tank. Dressed in all white with a veil, Creidenberg confidently pitched her growing company, Wedfuly to the sharks on ABC and said “I do” to Herjavec’s offer of $200,000 for 10% equity in the firm.
“I used to watch Shark Tank and be like, ‘There’s no way I could ever go on that show.’ And now I did,” Creidenberg said. “It’s healthy to take a step back and be like, ‘I’ve done a lot of what I always dreamed of.’”
While Creidenberg landed a partnership on one of TV’s biggest stages for business pitches, Wedfuly’s start traces back to a pitch competition at the University of Denver during her senior year. At the beginning of the quarter, students had to pitch an idea and then see who made the most progress over the 10-week term. That’s when the early stages of Wedfuly came to life.
“I think a huge thing was the connections and the touch points that DU created for me,” Creidenberg said about getting her business up and running. “[Current students] should start building that network now. You don’t realize how many resources are at your fingertips while you’re at DU.”
After the 10 weeks, the computer science student was building an app for wedding planners and attended several wedding conventions. After a taste of working as a software engineer during her senior year, she knew she wanted to follow her passion and pursue Wedfuly full- time after graduation. From 2017 to 2020, Wedfuly was all about virtual wedding planning, serving about 50 couples a year. Then the pandemic hit.
Since Creidenberg had already built a reputation and expertise in the virtual wedding realm, she decided to offer one couple a free virtual wedding during the beginning of the pandemic to show how creative and interactive such weddings can be. That’s when Wedfuly started booming. As in-person weddings were canceled and people craved connection, the company was featured in Brides Magazine, The New York Times and Vogue.
“In April of 2020, it clicked for me and the team that for a lot of people, this wasn’t really a backup plan for them,” she says. “We had quite a few people reaching out and being like, ‘This just sounds really good for us in our circumstances. We never really wanted to have a wedding, but now that the pandemic is here, we kind of have an excuse to have the wedding that makes sense for us.’”
So Wedfuly shifted gears and embraced offering the full virtual wedding to couples, from managing the technology, organizing virtual hospitality and coordinating logistics. Wedfuly went from organizing 50 weddings a year to 50 weddings a month during the pandemic, opening the opportunity to pitch Wedfuly on ABC’s Shark Tank.
“I did a ton of practice pitches with people throughout Denver,” Creidenberg said about the preparation for Shark Tank. “I did one with my group of computer science friends from DU and just told them, ‘Try to be as mean as you can.’”
The preparation with her support network paid off, and now Wedfuly is moving forward with her new Shark Tank partner. From the pitch competition at DU four years ago to TV’s most popular pitch show, Creidenberg is proud of the company’s progress through the hard work by her and her team.
And what would she tell DU students now? “While this is really exciting, and like, ‘Oh, I was on Shark Tank,’ there were a lot of years of not flashy stuff leading up to it,” she says. “And so it just doesn’t really happen overnight. It’s super exciting, and being on Shark Tank is amazing, but it’s just one tiny dot on the timeline of the company’s journey.”