Shark Tank episode aired March 10, 2019

First into the tank were Steve and Roger from Jolly Roger Telephone Co. They are a “pre-revenue company” that’s created robot voices that are designed to discourage telemarketers and scammers.

They had two strikes against them……the Sharks hate investing in pre-revenue companies. They want to hear about the track record of a company and make sure they are gaining traction in their marketplace before investing. The second strike (from an investor’s standpoint) is that they both have full-time jobs in addition to starting their company. Investors perceive them as being able to easily walk away from the new company if things don’t go as planned. No deal here.

Second up were Jenn and Ben from Toybox Labs. Their company makes 3D printers that are designed specifically to help kids create new toys. At $299 per unit, the Sharks were thinking that this was too much for most families to spend on a present for a kid.

Jenn and Ben were former Microsoft employees and had over $300K in sales.

The Sharks were concerned about potential safety issues of the printer and the short attention span of youngsters. Mr. Wonderful was intrigued, however, and ended up making a deal for $150K for 13% equity plus 2% advisory shares.

Tanya from Goalsetter was impressive and gave a great presentation. Her online service enables people to give kids real money (as gifts) that is automatically deposited in a savings account. The purpose is  to encourage kids to save rather than spend.

Tanya collects a transaction fee plus 1% of the money under management. She wanted the Sharks to invest $200K for 4% equity. Mr. Wonderful wanted 25% equity.

Despite the fact that they both had tremendous expertise in this type of business, they couldn’t get together. No Deal. (Guest Shark Jamie from Ring told her to prove Mr. W. wrong…..just like he did as a contestant on Shark Tank when he didn’t get a deal and later sold his company to Amazon for $1 BILLION).

Lucinda from Moink had created a business that can benefit owners of small farms. She had generated over $730K in online sales of boxes of meat and produce that she was selling for $159 per box. Although she had slim margins, Guest Shark Jamie made a deal for $400K for 20% equity. They will make an interesting partnership….one knows farming and the other knows technology and business.

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

 

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Shark Tank episode aired March 3, 2019

Home-baked dog cookies that people can eat, a product that makes curly hair curlier, goat yoga, and a product that allows people to shower in public highlighted this zany episode of Shark Tank.

First into the tank were Justin and Tom from Zookies Cookies. Their products are plant-based dog cookies. Their unofficial slogan could be “You can eat the treats with your dogs”. One drawback……you have to bake the treats before serving them. Who has time for that?

Guest Shark Alli Webb from Drybar thought it was a good idea and made an offer of $50K for 30% equity. There’s no question that people will do anything for their dogs.

The most fascinating entrepreneurs of the episode were Tim and Kim from CurlMix. Their product gives curly hair more definition. It is made with flax seed gel and the company was funded with a portion of the $100K that Tim had won on the TV show “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?”.

Despite the fact that they have great margins (one unit costs $3 to make and sells for $25), there is a lot of competition out there and this company will require several rounds of funding to be competitive in this space.

Shark Robert made the only offer……$400K for 20% equity. Tim and Kim countered at $400K for 15%. Robert reminded them that more funding would be required in the future and this means there is more risk to him as an early investor and that’s why he needed 20% instead of 15%. This all made perfect sense, and then the SHOCKER of the episode…..Tim and Kim turned down the offer! I had already put this in the deal column when they shocked the Sharks by turning down the offer. I think they will have to grow at a slower pace than planned without the investment from Robert.

Rachael and Trey from GOGA were next into the tank. They specialize in goat yoga. I never knew that was actually a thing. Apparently people are willing to pay money to do yoga with goats sitting on their backs. This was too much of a niche market to interest the Sharks. No deal here.

Kressa from Shower Toga is a force of nature. She is beyond passionate!  Her product allows people who have been surfing, running, riding, etc. to cover themselves up while changing clothes or even showering! Mr. Wonderful said he thought it could be replaced with a plastic garbage bag.

Ultimately, Kressa wants to use her product to help people in disaster relief efforts.

Mark Cuban and guest Shark Alli Webb agreed to invest $80K for 40% equity.

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

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired January 27, 2019-Part 2

Part 2 of 2

Best Deal of the Episode…….Levi and Tim from Life Lift Systems are from Oklahoma where there are 60 tornadoes per year. They have designed and built a telescoping private shelter that act as a “safe room” during severe weather events. The shelters can be installed inside the customer’s house and initially looks like a bed. Upon activation, the shelter rises up to accommodate several people.  The retail price is $6,000 per unit. They have sold over 100 in their first three months of operation. They’ve invested $250K of their own money to launch the business.

Life Lift Systems

Best Deal of the Episode-Life Lift Systems

Currently, the gross margins are thin. The cost to build one unit is $3,600. Levi and Tim’s plan is to wholesale the unit to companies who can provide sales, installation, and service. The wholesale price is about $4,600, leaving them with a net profit of just $1,000 per unit. The Shark all thought there would be an opportunity to raise prices significantly (both wholesale and retail) to grow gross margins and net profits.

Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner were both very interested in Life Lift Systems. Because of his location (Texas), Mark convinced Levi and Tim that he would be able to help them more than Lori. He will invest $550K for a 25% equity stake.

A close second for Best Deal of the Episode was Taylor and Sierra from Zorpads. They met at the Harvard Business School. They make shoe inserts that prevent foot odor. They ended up getting a deal with Guest Shark Charles Barkley and Lori for $150K for 22 1/2 percent equity.

Charles Barkley, the NBA Hall of Famer, has a size 17 shoe and will appear in ads for Zorpad. As he pointed out, “I charge a lot to endorse a product. This is a great deal for you”. He makes a good point. His fame and foot size will bring this company to the next level.

Adam and Desiree from SubSafe make a plastic container that holds sub sandwiches or personal belongings you might bring with you on a fishing or boating excursion. Their product is useful, but with limited capital, it will be difficult to scale.

Fortunately for Adam and Desiree, Charles and Mark took an interest in them and made an offer of $100K for 25% equity. Desiree was smart not to make a counter offer and risk losing the deal. She quickly accepted a great deal.

Saskia from Fresh Bellies makes healthy baby food that targets babies 4 to 7 months old. Her goal is to combat childhood obesity. She raised $1.6 million prior to entering the tank. I thought her presentation fell flat. She tried to be clever, but she missed the mark.

Saskia valued her company at $5.6 million which the Sharks thought was excessive considering she only had sales of $100K in the last 6 months. No deal here.

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

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired January 27, 2019

Part 1 of 2

Best Deal of the Episode…..Noel from Twist it Up has developed a comb for Afrocentric hair. It competes with the old-school hair pick. Men use the Twist it Up comb as well as women (including TWA’s….. Tiny With Afro’s) according to Noel.

Noel and his two associates put on a great show. The dance routines were very impressive as well as Noel’s command of the numbers. The comb sells for $29.95 and costs $3.50 to make…..great margins! He estimates sales of $500K this year.

twist-it-up

Best Deal of the Episode-Twist it Up

Noel got a great deal from Sharks Daymond and Mark Cuban.  Daymond wants to License the product to a larger company who would take over all manufacturing and distribution. If that doesn’t work out, Mark will partner with Noel. The deal called for $225K for 25% equity. It’s like getting a deal with a guaranteed back-up deal. Two deals in one…..very unusual, but great for Noel.

Juls and Carolyn from ZuGoPet makes a harness-like device that protects dogs while in the car (picture a car seat for pets). When they demo’d the product, the Sharks laughed and laughed. I can honestly I have never seen the Sharks laugh so hard. The dogs looked like they were suspended in mid-air and velcro-ed to the car seat. It wasn’t intended to be funny, but missed the mark!

The product was very complicated to use and the Marketing efforts had been weak. As Mark Cuban pointed out, people often buy products based on Fear, Uncertainty, or Doubt (FUD). The fear aspect of your pet getting killed or injured without a “Rocketeer Pack” (the ZuGoPet product name) should be the focus of their Marketing efforts going forward. No deal here.

Brice from Obvious Wines has created wine labels that help their customers easily understand what’s in the bottle without knowing any fancy wine jargon. The labels were attractive and accomplished the objective…..to demistify wine. The wine tasted great according to all the Sharks.

Brice ended up getting a deal from Shark Lori for $160K for 12 1/2 percent equity. They can now compete with Mr. Wonderful in the wine business!

Zahra from Monti Kids sells educational toys for kids age 5 months to 3 years. The toys  are based on Montesorri school methods. Zahra presented herself well. She’s a Harvard graduate who is passionate and knowledgeable. She’s raised $2.8 million from investors prior to Shark Tank and now has just $200K left in the bank. Shark Robert told her that “she’s missing discipline”. She ended up accepting a $200K “venture debt” deal (aka….a $200K loan) with hefty royalties going to Mr. Wonderful. I think this showed how desperate she was for a short-term cash infusion to keep the business going.

                                  OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………………B

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired January 20, 2019

Great episode with two fabulous, can’t-miss entrepreneurs. Both of them earned deals with their Shark of choice.

Best Deal of the Episode……Whitney from Sonnet James crushed it! She checked all the boxes. Her product was the “Mom Play Dress” which she described as the new “Mom uniform”. Her dresses were designed with two things in mind. First, they could be worn all day and night. They were stylish, yet comfortable. The Sharks loved the design and product quality. Second, she wanted the dresses to be a reminder every day for Moms to “get on the floor and play with your kids”…….something she loves doing with her two sons.

sonnet james

Sonnet James-Best Deal of The Episode

After answering all of the quantitative questions ($1,2 million in sales last year, $34 cost to make one dress, selling price of $138, 10% net profit) Whitney told a very personal, emotional story about her childhood and how she always wished her Mother could have played with her more.  She had the Sharks in tears (me too). Whitney told the story with passion and purpose. It explained why she started the company five years ago, and how she has overcome a difficult childhood to get to this point. She was genuine, passionate, and charming as she told her story.

She ended up getting a deal with guest Shark Sara Blakely (Spanx founder) for $350K for 25% equity. These two will make a great team.

PS….. Whitney does all of her manufacturing in America. Yes, it can be done!

The runner-up for the Best Deal Award was Meredith from Make-up Junkie Bags. Her product is a make-up bag that lays flat and eliminates breakage and spills. She’s sold $1.1 million of them in the first  18 months.

make-up junkie bags

Make-up Junkie Bags

Meredith is a force of nature. Her tremendous energy and passion is never-ending. She’s managed to get her product into 1200 stores. Her biggest problem is meeting all of the demand. That’s where the Sharks come in.

Shark Lori ended up getting the deal with a $200K loan at 5% interest. In return, Lori will get 5% equity and a royalty of $.75 per bag in perpetuity. As Yogi Berra might say, perpetuity can be a long time. I would have preferred to see Meredith put a limit on the total amount of royalty, like maybe 2X the amount drawn down from a line of credit.

Nikki and Rusty from Kitt Kasas make plastic shelter cubes for cats. They’ve sold $600K in the last two years.  Lori made a deal calling for a $200K investment for a 30% equity interest.

Iska and Brian from Angel Shave Club make razors and blades strictly for women. Apparently, some women like shavers that are pink or with some feminine designs, but basically they are functionally just like men’s razors.

Despite having 9000 customers and $700K in sales, Iska and Brian didn’t get any offers from the Sharks. Reason: There are several large would-be competitors who can easily start making women’s razors and blades. Also, the company is not profitable and will need to gain significant scale in order to become profitable.

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

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Shark Tank episode aired January 13, 2019

This was the weakest episode of Season 10 thus far. The entrepreneurs gave decent presentations, but they had flawed business models or had not gained enough traction in their markets to get the Sharks excited. Only two small deals were made.

The Best Deal of the Episode Award goes to Sean and Jared from Adventure Hunt. They have used Facebook and Instagram marketing to help grow their Treasure Hunt business and had sales of $767K last year. They have developed an app to help their customers find the “buried treasure”. The app gives clues and activities that guide participants to the prize.

adventure hunt

Best Deal of the Episode-Adventure Hunt

Shark Robert loved the idea and will invest $150K for 20% equity.  He will help them expand into the Corporate market, where the app can be used for team building and entertainment events.

Adam and Chid from Uniform had been victims of some bad luck. They make various clothing items in Africa. They had a successful launch but were then shut down for 9 months when the Ebola virus hit. Their plan was to donate kids’ school uniforms when sales were made. This would increase school attendance, increase literacy, etc. 70% of their sales have been retail and 30% online.

The Sharks knew from previous experience that this is a very tough, competitive  business and so no offers were made. Despite their bad luck, Adam and Chid remain passionate and positive about their prospects.

Jessica and Brandon from Pristine make a spray that is applied to toilet paper that improves the wiping experience. With only $11K in sales, it was hard to get excited about this product. Lori ended up making a deal for $50K for 20%. Her plan was to have them partner with Squatty Potty (one of her portfolio companies with sales of over $100 million). Squatty Potty would sell the product under their name as an add-on sale). The deal was contingent on Squatty Potty consenting with this plan. Jessica and Brandon took the offer despite the fact that the Pristine brand would no longer exist.

Tom and Daniel from Aquapaw have developed a tool to clean dogs. Despite limited sales history, they actually got three identical offers from the Sharks…..$200K for 30%.

Tom and Daniel made a couple of poorly received counter-offers but the Sharks wouldn’t bite. Tom and Daniel wouldn’t accept $200K for 30% equity (I would have taken Shark Daymond’s offer….he’s a dog lover and has connections in the industry), but they said they would have accepted $200K for 20%.  No such offer was made and they left the tank without a  deal. As an entrepreneur, I understand not wanting to “give away” equity, but I think they were a little short sighted on this opportunity.

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

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Shark Tank episode aired January 6, 2019

Solid episode which included a very rare 100% company acquisition and a young entrepreneur who Mark Cuban described as a “Mini-Me”.

The Best Deal of the Episode occured when Zach and Alyssa from Moki Door Step sold their entire company to Shark Daymond John for $3 million.

Their product was a simple but useful portable step which allows the user to gain easier access to the roof of a car or SUV when transporting kayaks, skis, etc.  Like most great entrepreneurial companies, the idea for their product solved a real-life problem the founders were having (Alyyssa is very short and has trouble reaching the roof of their vehicle) while leveraging the experience and expertise of the founders (Zach is a fire fighter who works with the jaws of life and realized how the Moki Step could be “hooked” to most car door latches). The product is patent pending.

moki

Shark Lori trying out the Moki Door Step

Zack and Alyssa came into the tank with a signed distribution deal that guaranteed them a minimum of $3 million in royalties. Shark Daymond liked what he heard and offered to buy the entire company for, you guessed it, $3 million, which also happened to be the company valuation the entrepreneurs came into the tank with. Daymond saw this as a no-brainer for him because the positive cash flow would cover his investment.

One potential issue……The company had originally been funded by their uncle who would receive a dollar per unit sold for 18 years! I’m sure Daymond will re-negotiate this arrangement to minimize the ongoing cost of sales.

The reason this was a great deal for Zach and Alyssa was not only did it make them millionaires (even in a high tax state like Connecticut), it will allow them to return to their jobs and spend more time with their family. This is what they really wanted.

A close second for Best Deal was Max from Bruw.  Max has been watching Shark Tank since he was 8 years old. He started his company when he was 15 and is now 18. His company’s product is a mason jar cold brew filter which makes cold brew coffee.

If there is ever a biopic movie made on Mark Cuban, Max should be cast as Mark as a teenager. Even Mark referred to him as mini-me! Once again Max’s product solves a personal problem (Max loves great cold brew coffee).

bruw

Mark Cuban’s “Mini-me”, Max

Max is a student at Babson College in Boston, which just happens to be the #1 college for entrepreneurs. This education together with his Cuban-like drive will make Max very successful.

It was only fitting that Mark Cuban made a deal with Max calling for 30% equity for a $50K investment. Mark encouraged him to use the money to increase advertising and marketing programs and not worry about cost reducing the product right now.

Best of the Rest…………………Tammy from Tush Baby came into the tank hoping to get a deal with Shark Lori for her baby hip seat. Somehow she accomplished her goal despite having sold and shipped only 25 units. Tammy had virtually no “real customer” feedback. It seemed like she willed this deal to happen. She will get $200K  for 20% equity.  Lori has a great track record so this will probably work.

Paul and Steve from Sproing had invented a piece of gym equipment that provides a great workout but cost much more than traditional gym equipment ($6,400). It will be hard to penetrate the fitness market with a product that expensive. No deal here.

Update……..Cycloramic, who appeared on Shark Tank in Season 5 in 2014, was just sold for $22 million. They had raised $500K for 15% from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner back in 2014 . Congrats to all.

PS…..I had ranked the original Cycloramic Shark Tank presentation the 8th best of 2014. See my Best and Worst of Shark Tank blog for further details.

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

 

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