Shark Tank episode aired May 12, 2019

This was the funniest, most entertaining Shark Tank episode this year. Some of the comedy was provided by the contestants and some was provided by the types of businesses they owned. For example, one company made houses for bats and another made body armor for dogs.

Best Deal of the Episode Award………..Tom and Kevin from Fat Shack were also quite funny, but these two were more than just funny men. They have built a company that has sold over $22 million of their 2,000 calorie sandwiches. They bootstrapped their company with just $5,000 in initial funding, and now have 11 stores in three states. These stores will have sales of over $5 million this year.

Fat Shack

Best Deal of the Episode-Fat Shack

A lot of businesses never get off the ground due to lack of capital. Fat Shack’s start-up required great creativity. They struck a deal with a local restaurant that closed at 3pm every day. The restaurant owner allowed them to use that facility and prepare/serve their sandwiches from 6pm to 4am. That provided a proof of concept and they were off to the races. BTW, all of their stores are still open to 4 o’clock in the morning.

Four of the Sharks were interested and Mark Cuban ended up getting the deal for $250K for 15% equity despite his concern about backing a company that doesn’t offer healthy products. He shook hands and jokingly said, “Let’s get fat!”.

Here’s a great marketing/promotional idea for Fat Shack. Sign comedian Jim Gaffigan as a spokesperson for the company. He has made a career on self-deprecating fat jokes. You might say it’s been his bread and butter.

Best of the Rest…………Rener from QuikFlip is a force of nature. He was smart, funny, and a fast-talker. His original product was a hoodie that could be converted into mini back-pack. This struck me as a solution in search of a problem.

That said, and despite a company valuation that was unrealistically high, Rener managed to get two offers.  Lori wanted 15% for her $500K investment, but Renner refused to give up that much equity. Lori restructured her offer so that $250K would buy 10% equity and the other $250K would be a line of credit……..a loan that has to be paid back.

Given Lori’s marketing expertise and Rener’s energy and passion this might be a win-win deal.

Paul and Pamela from Coyote Vest make body armor for dogs. Why? To protect dogs from predators such as coyotes, hawks, mountain lions, mean dogs, etc.  They have sold $260K of their products so far this year. The armor makes dogs look like porcupines.

cayote vest

The risk of this product (children getting hurt) outweighs the potential benefit of investing in the company. No offers were made.

Chris and Harrison from BatBnB make houses for bats. The objective is to increase the local bat population so they can eat more mosquitoes.

BatBnB Bat Houses

With only $145K in sales this year, this opportunity was too small for the Sharks…..except for Mr.Wonderful who has a love affair with bats. He said he always wanted to be in the bat business and made an  offer of $100K for 1/3 of the company. It was quickly accepted.

OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………A+ for entertainment value and B for entrepreneurial content. 

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Shark Tank episode aired May 5, 2019

Overall, a weak episode but there was one bright spot……..

Best Deal of the Episode…………………Anthony and Nick from Cubicall are taking advantage of the trend to build open office layouts. In fact, 80% of all new office space is being built using open office concepts with cubicles and few, if any, enclosed offices.

Of course there are many advantages to this open approach…….better inter-office communications, lower building costs, etc. The main disadvantage is that the office can be loud with no privacy.

cubicall

Best Deal of the Episode-Cubicall

Brothers Anthony and Nick brilliantly demonstrated how their products solve this problem. Their products reminded me of the old soundproof booth seen on game shows or a soundproof phone booth. They have had sales of $495K in the last twelve months (LTM). Even with thin margins and lots of competition, Mr. Wonderful and Shark Barbara made offers, and Barbara ended up winning the deal by offering $350K for 25% equity. Barbara has great real estate and office space contacts in New York City. I think this will allow Cubicall to grow their business while raising prices and increasing their margins.

Best of the Rest………………..Mike and Jason from Deskview make standing desks that use suction cups to attach to glass windows in office buildings (hopefully from the inside!). They sell the desks for $235. Competitors that sell standing desks typically charge $500 to $2000.

The cost to make the Deskview desks is currently $80 but can be reduced to $45 in the future. The Sharks thought it might be better to sell the desks online directly to consumers rather than thru the highly competitive B2B (Business to Business) market.

Mike and Jason got a deal with Mr. Wonderful calling for a $150K investment for 20% equity. They passed on a deal with Shark Lori who wanted 8% more equity.

William, Michael, and Tony from Saucemoto make fast-food sauce container holders for cars. Mr. W. scored another deal when he offered $40K for 25% equity. The most impressive statistic I heard is that their promotional videos received over 44 million views on social media!

Kelsey from  Doughp sells cookie dough products and believes cookie dough will become the next hot product similar to the cupcake rage of a few years ago. The Sharks didn’t make any offers because they “didn’t like the taste of cookie dough (too sweet)” and “it’s not a healthy product”. Sounds like a “dopey” idea to me.

                    OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE……………………………..C-

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired April 28, 2019

This was an intiguing episode featuring four (very) niche companies. There was no clear winner of the Best Deal of the Episode Award, but I did see one company with tremendous upside potential.

When Anna from Basepaws first entered the tank to pitch her DNA test for cats, I thought it was a joke. As the presentation progressed, I got more and more excited. First, Anna was extremely impressive. She gave a great pitch!

basepaws

Second, and even more important, she said she could expand her offering to test the DNA of horses. People will pay tons of money to have a horse’s DNA checked before buying it….particularly a thoroughbred or an equitation horse. Since many thousands of dollars are at risk, potential horse owners will pay big bucks to gain more insight before completing the transaction.

Mr. Wonderful and Robert Herjavec teamed up to do a deal calling for $250K for 10% equity. There is big upside potential here if they can charge $995 to test a horse instead of $95 to test a cat.

Cedric from Best Wardrobe Solutions made a holder for men’s pocket squares. They were made manually in the United States. Daymond got the deal with with an offer of $200K in return for a $1 royalty (in perpetuity) for each one sold.

Jason from Kymera had been on Shark Tank before and was told he needed to hire someone to run his company. Here was my review of his presentation in Season 5….

Jason from Kymera Body Board had put $130K of his own money into his business over the last 10 years and has never gotten past the prototype phase. He was labeled a “wantrepreneur” by Mark Cuban. He was also “nominated” by Daymond for the worst pitch of Season 5. (I later awarded him the Shark Chum Award for one of the eight worst Presentations of Season 5).

His new manager appeared with him in this episode. Jason had learned a lesson …many times a company founder may be a great inventor, but not a great manager.
Kymera makes electric surf boards and body boards. They’ve had sales of $900K  in the last 12 months. Their $5 million company valuation stood up when Jason accepted a deal with Robert Herjavec calling for an investment of $500K for 10% equity.

Jason from The Bang Shack had great energy and passion! He had been selling his chicken bang dip at farmer’s markets but didn’t have a solid plan or the infrastructure to grow his company to the point where it would be an investible company for the Sharks. Jason gave it his all, but came up short. It was heart-breaking. He has overcome a lot of personal hardships in his life. I was really pulling for him. I think he’ll “will this to happen” and will be successful with his business.

                                   OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE……………B

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Shark Tank episode aired April 21,2019

Excellent episode featuring very impressive entrepreneurs. Speaking of impressive entrepreneurs, Bantam Bagels, a past Shark Tank contestant who partnered with Shark Lori, recently sold their company for $34 million! Congrats!

Best Deal of this Episode……..Gwen and Christine from Maven’s Creamery make macaron ice cream sandwiches that the Sharks loved. Gwen and Christine are forecasting sales of $2.1 million this year. They are currently making all of their products manually, and were in need of an investment to automate their factory.

mavens creamery

Best Deal of the Episode-April 21, 2019

With small margins, their profit for the year will be only $167K. This scared off all the Sharks accept Shark Barbara. She made an offer of $200K in equity and a $200K line of credit for one-third of the company. They ended up agreeing on 25% equity.

This was a great deal for Gwen and Christine because Shark Barbara has a great track record working with food companies. It was a great deal for Barbara because she only invested $200K upfront (that amount will cover the cost of an automated production line). That equates to a company valuation of $800K which is less than .5X this year’s sales….a real bargain.

More important, they respect each other and have great chemistry. Barbara could relate to their situation and their desire to impress their father and make him proud……just like she did when she started her company.

Nicholas from Somnifix was a strong runner-up for the “Best Deal Award”. His sleep improvement product will compete with “Breathe Right” strips. His product is a strip of tape designed for mouth breathers who have  snoring problems. By forcing them to breathe through their noses, it can dramatically reduce snoring.

There was some good news and bad news here. First the good news, Nicholas had taken the time and effort to have his product go through clinical trials to prove his product really works. His product now has demonstrated impressive results that are documented by a trusted 3rd party (Harvard). He also has secured 9 patents. He has had $350K in sales to date.

The bad news is that he and his friends/ family have invested $1.4 million to get this far…..probably twice as much as the typical start-up would have spent. The Sharks questioned his business and financial judgement and four of them bowed out……accept for Mark Cuban.

Although Mark told him, “Your Marketing Sucks”, he offered Nicholas $500K for 20% equity and he quickly accepted. They will make a good team.

Best of the Rest………D’Ontra from Spare is a GREAT Sales guy. He struck a cord with Mark Cuban for his company that has a “virtual ATM network” that serves the under-banked community. It allows people with no bank accounts to go to a local retailer to get up to $100. Mark was not able to open a bank account when he was younger and could relate to D’Ontra’s company. He ended up investing $500K for 12% equity plus 2% advisory fees. The business model wasn’t clear to me, but Mark was all in on this one. Scaling the business will be a challenge.

Kyle  from Swoveralls sells a wide variety overalls (too many SKU’s). The highlight of the presentation was when Mr. Wonderful said, “The only thing that kills more people than the plague is (excess) inventory”.  Kyle wanted to expand his product line rather than shrink it so he will surely generate excess inventory. No deal here.

              OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE……………………….A

 

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Shark Tank episode aired April 14, 2019

Entertaining and thought-provoking episode!

Best Deal of the Episode………………Eric from Hydroviv came into the tank asking for $400K for 10% equity of his custom water filter business. With sales of $325K this year and forecasted sales of $1.7 million next year, he was asking the Sharks to invest based on next year’s forecast coming true…..a big ask. Most investors base their company valuation on a multiple of the last 12 months sales, so Eric had his work cut out for him.

Hydroviv

Best Deal of the Episode- April 14, 2019

He had a nice revenue model……an-upfront sale of $198 per custom water filter (with a cost of $48 to make and ship one) plus an ongoing revenue stream for filter cartridges at $50 a pop. The cartridges were purchased on a subscription basis. Investors love subscriptions and recurring revenue.

Mark Cuban likes to invest in companies that do well and do good (for people), so he made an offer of $400K for 20% equity. With no other offers, Eric quickly accepted.

There will be some challenges here. First, Eric is a scientist and he will need lots of help with sales and marketing.  Second, because significant labor hours are required to build anything custom, company scalability could be an issue. I would think Eric and his team would want to offer more standardized products for specific cities, states, or regions of the country. The truly custom filters may require charging a higher price.

Most Entertaining Presentation of the Episode…………..Dan from Pricetitution used his stand-up comedian skills to entertain us. His product is a socially interactive game. The game participants have to guess how much money it would take to have their friends do some crazy, absurd, and silly things. In the practice game with the Sharks, the question was how much would it take to have Mr. Wonderful wear wet socks for a week. The guesses were all over the map. Mr. W. stated it would take almost $800K! It’s a fun game.

pricetitution

Most Entertaining Presentation

Dan had minimal sales, but he had turned down a couple of partnership offers from large toy companies. The Sharks were intrigued and made four offers. Dan ended up taking an offer made by Shark Lori and Guest Shark Rohan Oza of $100K ($50K each) for a total of 40% equity.  This is a strong team with tons of sales and marketing experience.

The Mr. Wonderful “look alike”, Steven, from Flip-It, got off to a good start, but struck out with the Sharks. Strike 1 was having a “down year” (this year’s sales were lower than last year’s). Having a down year is the kiss of death for investors. They tend to believe that the business has peaked and is headed in the wrong direction.

Strike 2 was Steven was only spending half his time on the business. The Sharks want you to be “all in”. Strike 3 was that Steven had $500K in inventory…..over a one year supply of his bottle attachment that allows people to pour the last of their condiments, shampoos, etc.

Jim from Luma Soda is a good guy who was “all in”. He had spent $1.75 million of his own money to start the business, but only had $30K left in the bank. He too had an inventory problem with $600K of his honey-based, low sugar soda on-hand. Jim was very forthright and open about the mistakes he had made with the business. Shark Barbara was impressed with Jim and said she would make an offer if Rohan Oza would go in, but he felt this opportunity was not investable. No deal here.

                           OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………………….B+   

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired April 7, 2019

Very good episode. It featured a nice mix of brand new businesses, businesses with a long track record, profitable businesses, businesses losing money, etc.

Best Deal of the Episode………………Jamie and Brian from CertifiKID have been in business eight years. Their business can best be described as  Groupon for Kids and Moms.  It offers discount coupons for kids’ activities in local communities.

certifiKid

Best Deal of the Episode

They had sales of $700K (on gross sales of $5 million) last year. They have been profitable every year since their launch.

Three Sharks were interested and made offers. Shark Barbara offered $600K for 25% equity. She wanted them to sell franchises around the country, but that didn’t resonate with Jamie and Brian. Shark Daymond  offered $600K for 17 1/2%. Mr. Wonderful’s opening offer was $600K for 20% and a guarantee of getting 3X  his investment back upon his exit. Mr. W. saw this as an opportunity to do Data Mining and perhaps work with some of his other portfolio companies.

Jamie and Brian shared that vision and began negotiating with Mr. W.

After some tough, but fair negotiating, Brian got Mr. W. to drop the 3X exit guarantee and lowered his equity stake to 19%. Together they can grow the company and (probably) sell it within a couple of years. Well done!

Best of the Rest

Ariel from Nuchas came into the tank asking for $2 million for an 8% equity stake in his Argentinian food company.  His sales this year will be $5 million and he’s forecasting sales of $12 million next year. He has several retail locations in New York City as well as a rapidly growing wholesale business.

I loved one of Ariel sayings, “It’s easy to start a business but it’s hard to make a business successful”. I would add to that statement……”for more than a few years”.

Ariel got a couple of offers but wanted too much equity to satisfy the Sharks. He moved from 8% to 12% equity but that still represented a $18 million company valuation which was over 3X annual sales…..a bit on the high side. 1X-2X would have been more reasonable. No deal here.

Logan, Teddy, and Austin from Kanga attended Clemson University and created their product based on a class project. They were tasked with identifying a real problem and then creating a product or service that solved the problem. Being from a Top 20 party school,  they came up with a way to keep beer (and soda) colder for a longer period of time (7 hours without ice). They each put $833 of their own money into the company and they started manufacturing their “cooler”.

But these weren’t your typical fraternity party boys. They had been inspired by Shark Tank to become entrepreneurs and they knew their stuff! They had $103K in sales and had a P.O. from Anheuser Busch for $16K of their product. They got a deal with Mark Cuban calling for $100K for 20% equity.

Alex and Clay from Haven had created a doorstop/locking system that can stop anyone from breaking into a house, classroom, etc. I felt sorry for them because they had set up a side-by-side demo of a door that was dead-bolted vs. a door with their product. They then tried to show how easy it was to break into the door with the dead bolt.  It took about 10 kicks from an Army Special Ops agent to break in…..they were thinking it would take one. The Sharks thought this was very funny, but as an entrepreneur who had to do live demo’s of our product, I felt for these two good guys. No deal here.

The moral of the story….rehearse your demo to the point where you are 100% confident it will be successful.

                  OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE……………………………A-

 

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired March 24, 2019

Best Deal of the Episode…………………Bryan and Caleb from Press Waffle Company discovered how good belgian waffles can taste during a trip to Europe. Upon their return, they decided to open a store in Texas that would offer some unique belgian waffle recipes. That store sold $900K last year and was cash flow positive. They forecast company sales of $3.5 million with $500K in net profits from three stores next year.

Press Waffle Company

Best Deal of the Episode-March 24, 2019

 

I found their rent/utilities arrangement most fascinating. They paid 25.5 percent of their top-line sales to the landlord of the food hall. If they sold zero, they paid zero.

Four of the five Sharks were very interested and a lively bidding war ensued. Based on Barbara’s prior experience with Cousins Maine Lobster, Tom+Chee, and other food companies, Bryan and Caleb accepted her final offer of $300K for 15% equity (roughly a $2 million company valuation). I watched the final minute four times….it was very confusing, and I think the Shark Tank editors could have done a better job clarifying the end result.

Janet and Erin from Silkroll have developed an interesting concept for a women’s used clothing exchange marketplace. They came into the tank with a company valuation of $8.3 million. Considering their actual sales were a minuscule $35K, their valuation was laughable.

The Sharks were unanimous on one thing……this was one of the worst presentations in Shark Tank history. Why? Crazy valuation, confusing presentation, making simple concepts complicated by introducing AI (artificial intelligence) and machine learning,  a confusing revenue model, poor company name,  etc.

I immediately liked Tommy from Pick-up Pools. He’s an Air Force pilot who has created a product that looks like a swimming pool liner and fits into the bed of a pick-up truck. It can also be used to create a giant beer cooler! Despite the fact that he’s only sold $12K of his pools, I think its got potential. Just put one in a pick-up in a Luke Bryan video and this sucker will take off!

pick-up pools

Is it a pool or a large beer cooler?

Tommy made a deal with Mark Cuban for $100K for 33% equity.  Good luck Tommy!

Lisa from Dare-U-Go has created a bib with a built-in food container system for little kids. She has sold $300K worth of product in her first three months of operation. Her background is in modeling.

Mr. Wonderful suggested a debt and equity deal structure and Shark Barbara followed up with an offer of $150K in equity financing and $200K in debt financing (a loan) for a 35% equity stake for Barbara. Lisa quickly accepted the deal.

                         OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………………………..B-

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