Anna Stork was faced with a tough decision alongside co-founder Andrea Sresta on national TV: The two received offers from all five investors in an episode of ‘Shark Tank’ that aired in February 2015. Their company, LuminAID, makes solar-rechargeable, inflatable lights.
They accepted a $200,000 investment from Mark Cuban for a 15 percent stake in the company, with an option to lead the next round of financing for $300,000.
The two studied graduate architecture together in 2010 and were asked to design a product to help the post-earthquake relief effort in Haiti. Since then, LuminAID has been used in relief efforts all over the world, from Nepal to Hurricane Sandy.
LuminAID is also being used for camping and outdoor recreation. In 2013, LuminAID won the Early Stage Prize at the Clean Energy Challenge in Chicago. Both Stork and Shresta were named Toyota Mothers of Invention at the Women In the World Summit in New York in 2014. In September 2015, Stork was the only Chicagoan named to LinkedIn’s inaugural class of “Next Wave” professionals.
Stork was also a 2012 Kauffman Global Scholar at the Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship. While there, she interned with eyeglasses startup Warby Parker.
Stork has a master’s in architecture from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in engineering sciences and studio art from Dartmouth College.