It's been a little more than a year since I wrote about La Follette High grad and Simpson Street Free Press alum Andrew Bentley and his adventures since leaving Madison, graduating from Northwestern University, and eventually going to work for Google in New York.
At the time, Andrew, a new dad on paternity leave from Google, was inspired to start a company he called Father + Figure aimed at designing and producing clothing especially designed for dads intimately involved in caring for their infants.
Now his new company has landed him on ABC-TV's "Shark Tank," where you can watch him this Sunday at 8 p.m. trying to convince the likes of Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner and the other self-made million- and billionaire "sharks" to invest in his entrepreneurial enterprise.
The show was actually recorded in July, but Andrew made it clear he can't reveal what happens. But Father + Figure competed with up to 50,000 others and was one of the handful to be picked for the recording session and then make the cut to actually appear on the show, now in its ninth year.
Andrew left Google last year to join his attorney wife Elizabeth in Washington, D.C., where she's working with the federal judiciary. And although he and his wife have lived in several locations since leaving Madison, Madison is still the place they call home.
In fact, Andrew told me this week, he uses his introduction on "Shark Tank" to plug his hometown, Madison, where he has family and close friends and where he hopes to relocate sometime in the future. Brother Louis and his wife Carley live in Monona while his mother and dad, Michael and Annette, live in Fitchburg.
He still serves on La Follette High's board of visitors, is active with the school's alumni group that raises money for the University of Wisconsin's PEOPLE program to help minority students go on to college, and is in close contact with Madison's City Dads chapter.
Andrew started his unique company because he loved being a father partner in raising his now 2-year-old son, Booker. Everything to do with raising a baby is geared to the mother, so he set off to design shirts, "burp rags," and other clothing items more suitable to the male parent. He has plans to expand his company's products in the next few months.
"Shark Tank" is notorious for being tough on the entrepreneurs who appear before it and Andrew agrees that, yes, it was tough. But he realized it's nothing personal and, besides, he was prepared for the slings and arrows thrown his way by practicing before mock panels at home, including his wife Elizabeth. who was particularly tough.
In the end, he feels his appearance on the show presents a visual that seldom appears on TV, that of a minority dad caring for his children.
Andrew worked at Simpson Street Free Press while a high school student and wound up as one of its editors before graduating and going off to Northwestern's famed Medill School of Journalism. While at NU he spent summer months as an intern at The Capital Times, where he impressed us with his work ethic and intellect. Looking forward to seeing how he does "Shark Tank" Sunday night.