Shark Tank episode aired November 21, 2014

There were three mini-deals made on this episode of Shark Tank….each company had a valuation of $500K or less. The investments ranged from $100K to $160K.

It’s difficult to pick a Sharky Award winner from this group. Although each had a nice business, none of them were far enough along to show that they will become successful over the long-term.

In terms of their presentations, they were all excellent! Even Cameron from Off the Cob (who didn’t get an investment from the Sharks) did a great job, and he stands as good a chance as any of them to succeed.

The Sharks invest in a business for many reasons. Obviously, one is to make money with as little risk as possible! In the case of the Sharks, one of the other important considerations is to invest in companies where they “don’t have to do a lot of work”. This means the entrepreneur has not only created the product, but has sourced it for manufacturing,  has made initial sales, has a distribution strategy, etc.

A quick rundown of this episode’s entrepreneurs……..

Ryan and David from Kitchen Safe has created time-lock containers that help people resist eating goodies and help them lose weight.  Mr. Wonderful actually made Ryan cry by criticizing his product. Despite that issue (crying is never a good strategy), and considering their product cost too much to make, it was a miracle they got a $100K investment from Lori and Nick (the CEO of GoPro).

Sharon from Magic Cook has created a self-heating food container system that is amazing! Her target market is campers and survivalists.   Daymond  invested $100K for 33% equity. (Mr. Wonderful added, “Camping Sucks”….what a surprise).

Tom from Earthlog makes fire logs out of recycled materials. He got a $160K investment from Lori who plans on getting Tom on QVC ASAP.  Tom’s differentiator is his logs generate more heat with less smoke than the competition.

Cameron from Off the Cob didn’t get a deal for his sweet corn tortilla chip enterprise. He only had sales of $45,000. The Sharks didn’t invest because he was “too early” to seek 3rd party funding. In other words, the Sharks would have to do too much work to help him get to the next level.

Update: TipsyElves, a Sharky Award winner from 2013, will have sales next year of $8 million selling their ugly Christmas sweaters (their sales were less than $900K when they appeared on Shark Tank). One of their keys to success was diversifying into sweaters for other holidays such as the 4th of July. This has helped smooth their production and has significantly increased their sales.

 

 

Posted in business startup, Daymond John, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Shark Tank episode aired November 14, 2014

Tonite was the 100th episode of Shark Tank. After the show, the Sharks toasted their success and the success of the show. Although it is very difficult for entrepreneurs to get on the show (some 30,000 applied this year), it is a great platform for learning what it takes to succeed as an entrepreneur.

I loved Shark Daymond John’s quote during the after-party……”Being an entrepreneur is the ultimate equalizer”. It provides an opportunity for everyone to become wealthy and have a fulfilling professional and personal life.

On tonight’s episode, three of the four entrepreneur/contestants received funding from the Sharks. One of them stood out and won this week’s Sharky Award winner for entrepreneurial excellence………

Shark Tank

Sharky Award
November 14, 2014
Pipcorn

Jen and Jeff from Pipcorn…….This brother/sister team from Brooklyn, NY have created a healthy, gluten-free alternative to popcorn. The Sharks loved the taste of their mini-popcorn and loved Jen and Jeff.  Barbara, who typically invests based on her gut feel about an entrepreneur, was so excited about this duo that she agreed to invest $200K at a $2 million valuation. This was an extremely rich offer considering their forecasted sales for the next 12 months was $440K. The offer represented a valuation of 4.55 times annual sales……a significant premium.

Best of the Rest…….Bobby and Judy from Squatty Potty ended up getting an investment from Lori Greiner. I never knew two-thirds of the world squats when they poop. Apparently people in the U.S. are missing out on a great thing. Bobby and his mom Judy have created a toilet that is configured in such a way that it forces you to squat. Bobby said that this is better for you and “People shouldn’t be sitting when they poop”.  A large part of their success was attributable to Dr. Oz (an on-air recommendation) and Howard Stern (paid advertising).

Shark Barbara said something that resonated with me. She said there was something about Bobby that made her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t trust him, and I felt the same way……. just a gut feel. I wish Lori luck with this one.

Heidi from Heidi Ho has created a cheese-like product with no dairy ingredients. The Sharks loved the taste of this plant-based product. Heidi got an investment from Lori of $125K for 30% equity.

Shark Chum……..John from Storm Stoppers, The Plywood Alternative, had  developed a great product that helps people protect their homes for storms, but he lacked the sales skills necessary to make his start-up successful. He also had a huge decline in sales (about 80%) from last year. Investors hate investing in companies with decreasing sales. Having a great product simply isn’t enough.

 

 

Posted in barbara corcoran, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, start-up, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shark Tank episode aired November 7, 2014

In this episode, the  Sharks paid tribute to the men and women of the United States armed forces. As part of Veterans Small Business Week, the tank welcomed vets who have recently served in Middle East and and returned home to start new businesses.

The Sharks were impressed with each of the vets. It was obvious that the lessons learned in the military were being carried over to their lives as civilians and entrepreneurs. Each of these vets/entrepreneurs deserve credit for their accomplishments and service.

I will therefore alter my usual Sharky rating system for this episode. Here are the Sharky Awards for entrepreneurial excellence……

The 4 Star Sharky Award winner is Ashley from The Natural Grip. 

Wow, you talk about high energy and passion! Ashley had invented customizable hand grips that are worn while exercising. Competitive grips and gloves are bulky and can’t be customized.

Ashley had a great sense of humor. When she handed a sample of her product to Mr. Wonderful, she said, “Yours is the color of your soul……black”. Good zinger!

Ashley had sold $178K of her product in Year 1 and was forecasting $400K in Year 2, and $1 million in Year 3.  I liked her forecast…..it showed dramatic growth but it sounded achievable. This is what investors are looking for.

Robert Herjavec , the self-proclaimed “Sporty Shark”, did a deal with Ashley for $125K for 25% equity. Robert was also passionate about this product and will be a great partner for Ashley.

The 3 Star Sharky Award winner is Eli and Jen with Bottle Breacher.

Although I wasn’t crazy about their product name (what’s a breacher? Military people may know, but not too many civilians know what this term means), these two made a good team and had created a nice business. Eli was a Navy Seal. He and Jen modified large caliber bullets to become bottle openers (breachers). Pretty unique I’d say.

They had sold over $500K of their product so far this year….all online. Most of the breachers were engraved. This created an upsell opportunity (that’s the good news). But the bad news is more engravers would be needed to scale the business.

Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban teamed up on this one and got a deal done for $150K for 20% equity.

The 2 Star Sharky Award winner is Aaron from Man-Pack

Aaron had created a backpack/carry bag and was expecting to sell $145K this year….his second year in business.

I like Aaron. He started his business with just $5,000. and was very passionate about his product. Wouldn’t it be great if all returning vets could do what Aaron did?

Aaron did not do a good job, however, in his company valuation. When the Sharks found out he placed a value on the youtube videos he had created and then tacked on an additional $200K of “goodwill”, the Sharks lost interest. Goodwill is something large companies carry on their balance sheets after an acquisition, but is not appropriate for a small company like Man-Pack.

1 Star Sharky Award winner is Wade and Lori from Priority One Canine

Despite giving a really cool demonstration of how their attack dogs can protect you, Wade and Lori did not get an investment from the Sharks. Their service was simply not investable. Why? The business is not easily scaled into something really big.

The Sharks look for unlimited scalability, and this wasn’t it. That said, Wade and Lori can make a really nice living doing something they know and love.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, start-up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Daymond John, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, start-up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in barbara corcoran, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, start-up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

Posted in business startup, Daymond John, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

 

 

Posted in barbara corcoran, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Mr. Wonderful, patents, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharky Award, start-up | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment