Shark Tank episode aired October 31, 2014

This was an extremely entertaining episode! The Sharks did a couple of deals but I am not awarding any Sharky Awards for entrepreneurial excellence. Here’s why….

Patrick from TITIN got a deal from Shark Daymond John, but I have a funny feeling this deal will never be consummated once it goes thru the due diligence process. Patrick’s company makes weighted body apparel that is used to increase athletic performance. His company had sales of $600K last year. Patrick said he would do $10 million next year….”easily”.

Mark Cuban said his “BS Meter was going thru the roof”. Mr. Wonderful said he thought Patrick was in the “arrogant ass category”. I thought Patrick had a “far away look in his eyes”. I just had a bad feeling about this deal.

In fairness to Patrick, he had previously been burned by an investor and was being very cautious.   But I think all the Sharks had difficulty warming up to him.

Eric from Beardbrand made grooming products for men with beards. He was an intriguing and memorable character (he had a great bushy beard). He had sales of $800K but valued his company at $2.6 million which was WAY too high. Mr. Wonderful thought his business was worth about $600K.

Eric didn’t get a deal. I would recommend he ditch the kit and just sell his popular beard oil online. This would generate about $600K in sales at  90% margins. Eric would make a very nice living that way.

Eric and John from Singtrix valued their business at $30 million! This got the Sharks attention and they were all ears. These two were instrumental in developing the best-selling Guitar Hero game from Activision (pun intended).

They gave an extremely entertaining demonstration of their voice enhancement system that has 150 different effects. They sell the unit for $345 and expect to sell 30,000 of them next year.

They received three offers but they were miles from their original valuation. The best offer they received was from Robert Herjavec at a valuation of $7.5 million.

Talia from Myself Belts has had declining sales of kids belts for the last three years. She blamed the poor economy but Shark Lori Greiner told her that a good product thrives in any economy.

Talia was not a great listener and talked a little too much for all the Sharks except for Daymond. Despite her shortcomings, he made her an offer of $75K for 25% equity. She actually tried to counter his offer but ended up accepting Daymond’s original offer.  She was very fortunate.

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Shark Tank episode aired October 24, 2014

Fun episode tonite. The Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence goes to a company that sells fun……

Shark Tank

Beatbox Beverages
Shark Tank
October 24, 2014

Justin, Brad, and Aimey from Beatbox Beverages were on fire! They exuded energy and fun. Their product was similar to boxed wine but could best be described as “spirits in a box”. The box looked like a beatbox and the spirits came in a variety of flavors. They had sales of $235K in a little over a year.

All of the Sharks were interested in investing, but Mark Cuban gave them an offer they couldn’t refuse……$1 million for 33% of the business. This exceeded their original valuation and left the other Sharks gasping.  I think Mark could rationalize a big offer based on the fact that he can sell the product at Mav’s games in Dallas and even in his movie theaters. Beatbox Beverages is also a Texas-based company which makes them conveniently located (to Mark) with has no state income tax.

Best of the Rest……Josh and Sara from Honeyfund run a website in the “crowd-gifting” category which allows people to give cash gifts to a bride and groom that can be used for their honeymoon. They have helped newly married couples “raise” over $67 million in the past year! Their company got to keep $987K of this amount thru a deal with PayPal.

They received three offers from the Sharks and ended up taking a deal with Mr. Wonderful that required them to pay hefty royalties. They will get $400K for zero equity but have to pay one-third of their profits to Shark Kevin until they have paid him $1.2 million. I would have loved to know what their thinking was and why they took this deal. I would have taken Robert Herjavec’s offer of $400K for 30% equity….he can help them grow the business and would be a better strategic fit…..and they could preserve cash during their planned hyper-growth phase.

Phil and Jason from EmergenSee had developed a mobile phone app that helps people maintain personal security when they’re on the go. They have a nice product and I love their name…..very clever. Unfortunately, neither of them had a technology background and they had to spend over $2 million to develop the product (so far). The Sharks were afraid this lack of technical expertise would prevent them from dealing with the fast changing world of technology in the future. No deal here.

Curt from Oilerie USA had franchised his olive oil business to seven locations in small markets. Although he had generated over $3 million in revenue last year, the Sharks questioned his ability to scale the business and move into larger markets. Curt admitted he had felt the stress of running a self-funded business. He will be happier and healthier staying in smaller markets and getting someone to help him run the business. Curt is a good guy and I wish him and his wife well.

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Shark Tank episode aired October 17, 2014

 

The clear winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is the married couple of Josh and Diana from The Red Dress Boutique. This  couple has created an online women’s clothing business that sells $8 million of their products per year. This has been accomplished after just four years of being in business. In fact, next year, they are forecasting $12 to $15 million in sales.

After working for a large corporation for several years, Diana came up with the concept for The Red Dress Boutique.  They quit their jobs, sold their house, and slept on an air mattress at their friend’s house while they were getting their business started. Diana’s father passed away, and rather than becoming depressed and overwhelmed, she used that emotion as a positive force to grow the business. And grow the business they did! After sales of $80K in year 1,  they did $250K in Year 2,  $1.8 million in Year 3, and $8 million in Year 4.  They are projecting a net profit of $2 million per year.

They gave a killer presentation and were professional throughout the process.  But what made these two so unique was their use of social media to fuel their growth.

For example, Diana would find a dress that she really liked, took a picture of it, and put it in front of their over 1 million Facebook followers who would then give her feedback on the dress. Based on the outcome,  they would either include it on their online catalog or not. The Sharks were impressed. Lori and Daymond even said that Josh and Diana could teach them something.

They ended up getting an investment of $1.2 million from Mark and Robert for 20% equity. They can help them improve their website and introduce them to the world of data analytics.

The Best of the Rest……Megan from The Caddy Girls had to overcome the stereotype of a pretty blonde from Myrtle Beach wearing seductive clothing. She succeeded! She gave a nice presentation and even had the confidence to turn down Mr. Wonderful’s absurd offer. Unfortunately, this is not yet an investable business.

Dan, David, and Eric from Sun-Staches landed a deal from Daymond, but did not impress me. They lowered their valuation from $6 million to $1.5 million during the negotiation (this was probably a realistic valuation but the drop ruined their credibility). Their product was a fad product (mustache sunglasses) and appeared kind of schlocky to me. Daymond better work fast on this one.

Jungle Jumparoo’s product was too dangerous, too tough to scale, required too much floor space, and their margins were too small. They just didn’t excite any of the Sharks.

 

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Shark Tank episode aired October 10, 2014

It was family night on tonite’s Shark Tank episode! With the exception of one entrepreneur, all contestants were part of a family business….father and son, mother and son,  and two brothers appeared on tonite’s show.

Even the update segment featured a family business which had previously received an investment from Lori. ScreenMend’s sales went from $4K to over $900K after their appearance on Shark Tank. They are moving out of their garage into a new facility to keep up with the increased demand for their product. Great job!

Tonite’s Sharky Award goes to Ben & Eric from Reviver Clothing Swipes.

Shark Tank

Reviver Clothing Swipe
October 10, 2014

These two brothers have a patent pending product that allows the user to remove offensive smells from their clothing (and even their hair!) by wiping the disposable cloth over the surface. They had sold over $500K of them (half to Petco) in a 10 month period, and they forecasted sales of $4 million next year.

Their father had invested $2 million in the business, and this became the focus of the Sharks’ concerns. Shark Barbara said “she didn’t invest in rich kids’ businesses”, and she preferred investing only in companies and owners who were “dirt poor”.

I myself was dirt poor when I started my first business, so I know where Barbara was coming from. Because funds are so limited (Barbara started her real estate empire with just $1,000), you have to move quickly, do everything yourself, avoid fatal mistakes, hustle your ass off, and “will it to happen”. Failure is not an option….you may never get another chance like this again.

The other Sharks were not as concerned about the two coming from a wealthy family because they had accomplished so much in a relatively short time. I was surprised that the Sharks didn’t drill into how they had used the money and what percent equity (if any) the father owned. I would have also have liked to know about the three “co-inventors” and what their deal is.

Shark Lori ended up getting the deal for a $150K investment for 15% equity. The Queen of QVC was happy to get the deal and the business will be very successful with her as a partner.

The Best of the Rest…..Steve from Table Jacks had invented a product to stop restaurant tables from wobbling. He has done a nice job, but the addressable market size is just too small for the Sharks.

Noah and Brian (his Dad) from Paper Box Pilots ended up getting an investment from Mr. Wonderful who has experience selling into the toy industry. Noah, the 13-year-old CEO, selected Kevin over Barbara and Robert because of his strategic value in the toy business. I think this was a good choice.

Kimberly (Mom) and Korry (Son) from Fun Cakes had only $150K in annual Sales after being in business seven years. Worse, they only paid themselves a total of $17K per year. The Sharks were clearly not turned on by their product (faux wedding cakes), their hustle, or their knowledge of the numbers.

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired October 3, 2014

Tonite’s episode featured four niche businesses with very little revenue. No Sharky Awards tonite!

The one that came closest to winning a Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence was Alvin and Ray from Soapsox. Their product made it easier for parents to give their kids baths by replacing a wash cloth with a “plush-like” cartoon character or action figure.

Alvin and Ray gave a nice presentation and knew their numbers (cost to produce, profit margins, etc.). They had a very aggressive Sales forecast (going from $300K actual sales to $2.4 million next year) and a very rich valuation of $2.6 million.

They ended up getting two offers….one from Daymond and one from Lori/Robert  for $1 million to buy the entire company. They turned down both offers. Since Alvin and Ray are early in their company’s life cycle, I can understand why they turned down the million dollar buy out, but I think they made a mistake turning down Daymond’s offer of $260K for 33% equity. It was a lower valuation, but Daymond could have helped them get to the next level quickly, before competitors jumped in.

Anastasia from Heart Pup made a small dog carrier (kind of like a baby sling for really small dogs). With sales of $135K , she jumped at the one offer she received (from Daymond again) that valued her company at 1X Revenue. A mistake she made was when trying to describe why she wanted a deal from the Sharks (“so when someone asks me a question, I can “push a button” and get the answer). This was somewhat insulting to the Sharks, and did not help her cause.

Dustin and Ken from Ninja Cards had a cool Ninja warrior game the Sharks loved playing. When Dustin and Ken first went into business, they were promised a licensing deal that never came to fruition. Their product never reached production. Dustin and Ken were thought to “not enough hustle” by the Sharks and received no offers.

Tyler and Lei from Drum Pants had a “pre-revenue company”. Their product allows a person to “play the drums” by slapping their body as if it were a drum. How big could this market possibly be? Despite the miniscule potential market size, Robert and Daymond showed some interest and made offers.

Turns out the two partners couldn’t agree on their direction and they ended up with nothing. Partners have to be on the same page when it comes to something of this magnitude. As Mark Cuban pointed out, these two probably disagree every day on almost every subject (including what to have for lunch).  These two clearly were not decisive enough to get a deal done with the Sharks.

 

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Season 6 Premiere aired September 26, 2014 (Part 2 of 2)

Normally I focus my attention on the performances of the entrepreneurs and not the Sharks, but this episode had a pretty thin line-up of entrepreneurs and some fairly bizarre Shark activity.

For example, the normally stoic Kevin O’Leary (aka Mr. Wonderful) a) kissed Barbara on the lips after a mock wedding ceremony performed by one of the contestants, b) Cried like a baby after hearing another entrepreneur’s love story, and c) didn’t make one of his patented Royalty in Perpetuity (RIP) offers.

There was one bright spot …..Alice and Bettina from Roominate

Shark Tank

Roominate
Season 6 Premiere
September 26, 2014

These two Stanford Engineering grads. developed a toy that exposes young girls to the world of architecture, construction, and engineering. The intent is to help create more female professionals in these fields….an admirable objective. The toy reminded me of legos, erector sets, and tinker toys (for those over 50).

They ended up getting exactly what they asked for….$500K for 5% from Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.

The toy business is a brutally tough business, and these guys will be challenged to hit their forecast of $5 million for the year. In the toy business, up to 90% of your annual sales can come in the August thru November, as the stores are preparing for the holidays, and you’re never really sure what the actual sell-thru is until the holidays are over.

That said, these two are very impressive and that’s why they got the deal. The Sharks were investing in them, not their business.

The Best of the Rest…..Eric and Phillip from Kronos made finely crafted putters and sold them for $500 a piece. Golf in the U.S. is very much of a “me too” sport. Until they can get a current (or former) PGA player to use and endorse the putter, I believe they will struggle. Phillip broke down when he was talking about his girl friend who lived in Japan who couldn’t come to the states because her parents didn’t approve of his new venture. I hope he uses this to motivate himself and it helps him succeed. He definitely should have a “chip” on his shoulder (golf pun intended).

Shark Chum…….James and Adrian from Wedding Wagon provided a mobile wedding venue and wedding service for $99. They were trying to franchise  their business but had already sold their only successful region (Las Vegas, of course) leaving them no foundation for expansion. The highlight of their presentation was a marriage ceremony with Barbara and Mr. Wonderful as the bride and groom. Actually, this was a pretty funny segment.

Tiggs from The Floating Mug had an interesting product line (cups and glasses that don’t leak and leave stains on tables) but his products were too expensive, required a huge minimum order commitment, and his selling price was double what it should be. Mark Cuban dropped out when he heard Tiggs didn’t use the web to market his product. Lots of room for improvement here.

 

 

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Season 6 Premiere aired September 26, 2014 (Part 1 of 2)

This episode marks the beginning of Season 6 of Shark Tank. The winner of tonite’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is……..

Shark Tank

Sleepingbaby
Season 6 Premiere
September 26, 2014

Stephanie & Brett from Sleepingbaby……This husband and wife team has developed a line of baby’s womb-like PJ’s called “Zipity Zip”.  As the company name implies, this product helps babies sleep better. The benefits (to the parents) are obvious!

The couple had generated sales of approximately $1 million…..all online. These two have created a product that can help millions of parents solve a real problem.

As Mark Cuban pointed out, these two are living the American dream. They started the company with just $700…..$500 for a website and $200 for some fabric. They ended up getting three offers and took one from Daymond John at a $1 million valuation (he invested $2ooK for a 20% stake).

The Best of the Rest……David and Randy from Bombas have re-engineered athletic socks. I had mixed feelings about these two. On one hand, they have created what appears to be an excellent product by improving 7 attributes of traditional athletic socks. They have good margins (54%) and still manage to give away one pair to the needy for every pair they sell. All good stuff.

On the other hand they admitted that after 9 months their sales had “plateaued”. No investor wants to hear that word. It calls into question their real growth potential, their Marketing savvy, and the credibility of their Sales forecasts. Also, their plan to spend the Shark’s money hiring more people was not well received. There’s a ton of competition in this crowded field, and they basically have just one product. Going retail will be challenging.

Despite the pros and cons, they managed to get a deal from Daymond. I suspect he plans on selling the company or licensing  the product to Nike or one of the bigger competitors.

I have tremendous respect for Michael from Hammer & Nails based on his accomplishments in film writing and publishing, but I can’t see a nail salon for men becoming a success. That said, I wouldn’t bet against him, but I can’t see investing in him either. The Sharks felt the same way.

Bill and Kyle from Amber had just paid their campus parking tickets and graduated from James Madison University. I’d give them an “A” for effort, but an “Incomplete” on what might have been their Senior year project. Their multi-station phone charger was unproven and was based on unreliable finger print scanning technology. Their business model was flawed and their costs were out of line. These two need some real world experience before wasting any more time or money. Onward and upward, guys!

 

 

 

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