Shark Tank episode 4-aired October 15, 2017

Very entertaining episode filled with lots of laughs and lessons-learned for all entrepreneurs. Alex Rodriguez (aka A-Rod) was the guest Shark and provided some insight into his investing style and his business background.

The Best Deal of the episode award went to Makenzie from “delighted by”.  She has developed a dessert hummus which the Sharks all agreed was delicious. She had sales of $1 million and had raised $400K  from family and friends and Makenzie had put $20K of her own money into the business.

Shark Barbara gave some good advice to Makenzie. She had just hired an employee that turned out to be “not perfect”. Barbara told her that when hiring and delegating, “80% is good enough”. You can’t expect perfection and that’s okay.

Mark Cuban ended up investing $600K for 25% equity. He recognized that this deal was a little out of the ordinary, but he said, “The deals that have made me the most money are always the craziest”.

Shark Tank

Makenzie from “delighted by”

Best of the Rest……….Chris Gronkowski from IceShaker has developed an insulated stainless steel shake bottle. He brought out his brothers to help promote his product……one of his brothers happened to be the best tight end in the NFL…..Rob Gronkowski. From that point on it was all fun and games.

The Sharks all suggested he change the name of his product to “Gronk Shaker”. As Mark Cuban said, when you’re an entrepreneur you have to take seize on every advantage you can in order to differentiate yourself from the competition. Mark and A-Rod ended up getting a deal for $150K for 15% equity. With backing from movers and shakers (pun intended) in the NFL, MLB, and NBA,  Chris and company should do very well.

17 year-old Ehan and his dad Vinyay from Solemender gave a great presentation but didn’t get a deal for their foot-soothing, massage therapy machine, but they did get some great advise from the Sharks. Ehan said he wouldn’t go to college if the business showed  promise in the next year. The Sharks encouraged him to go to college and “learn, learn, learn”. He can run his business from his dorm room or hire someone to help him, but he needs the education to help him succeed in the long run.

Robbie from BenjiLock has developed a prototype of an electronic lock that can work with the traditional key or thru fingerprint recognition. Even though Robbie had zero sales, he had just had his patent granted and that created value for the Sharks.

Robbie had put $87K of his own money into the business and he was feeling the stress. He broke down several times while pitching his product. Four of the Sharks made offers and Robbie took his time making a decision.

He then shocked the world (or at least me and the Sharks) when he took the offer made by Mr. Wonderful for $200K for 15% equity. Mr. W. had differentiated his offer by saying he would use a licensing strategy and get big companies to license Robbie’s technology.

Robbie confounded the Sharks, but I think he was hoping Mr. Wonderful could help produce an immediate financial return vs. growing the company slowly over time. If you’re in financial trouble, this is not a surprising decision. Since Robbie had lost his job, invested $87K of his own money, and had three young kids, he might have been feeling the heat.

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

 

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Shark Tank episode 3-aired October 8, 2017

Each of the four entrepreneurs appearing in episode 3 got a deal.

If this was a baseball game, I would describe the four deals as a bunt single, a base on balls, reached on an error, and a home run that bounced off the right fielder’s glove and fell into the stands. There were no strikeouts and everyone got at least to first base, but the Sharks were very generous tonite.

Let’s start with the home run. Brighton and Aaron from Enso Rings had $5 million in sales in the last year…..all online. These two are marketing geniuses ended up with a deal from Shark Robert Herjavec for $500K for 15% equity in their silicon ring company.

These guys have killer margins (their typical ring costs 70 cents to make and they sell it for $11.99). They spent $2 million on marketing last year.

So what’s the problem? Shark Robert shocked the other four Sharks when he made his initial offer. They couldn’t believe anyone would invest $500K in this company. In fact,  Robert wasn’t exactly sure who their market was or why people would buy a “rubber wedding ring”, but he said that the numbers don’t lie and he compared this deal to the one he made several years ago with Tipsy Elves who make ugly Christmas sweaters. They have since expanded their product line and currently have sales of $75 million a year! Robert said they didn’t completely understand their market either in the beginning.

Shark Tank

Best Deal of Shark Tank Season 9 episode 3.

It is very unusual for investors to invest in something they don’t completely understand. Brighton and Aaron were very fortunate that Robert took a flier on them. That said, I am giving them the Best Deal of the Episode Award.  Congrats!

Best of the Rest.……….Jason “The Fidget Man” from Fidgetland  has created a little gizmo that people with A.D.D. can play with to calm themselves down. Jason himself had the disorder and had a learning disability in school. Shark Barbara connected with Jason because she’s had two kids with learning disabilities and the majority of her successful Shark Tank deals have had founders with learning disabilities. They know how to work hard to overcome challenges. Barbara made a deal with Jason for $50K for 20%.

Charles and Taylor from Third Wave Water have developed a packet of minerals which, when added to distilled water, dramatically improve the taste of coffee. As Shark Lori pointed out it, it is most effective with distilled water which makes it inconvenient for most people. That didn’t deter Barbara from making another deal. She will invest $100K for 25% equity.

Liz from TanglePets was a “force of nature”  with incredible energy and passion for her kid’s hair brush with a plush toy on top. This was a “made for Shark Lori” deal and will be a big hit on QVC. Accordingly, she will become a 50-50 partner with Liz and make a $75K investment in TanglePets.

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

 

 

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Shark Tank Season 9 Premiere (Part 2)-Aired October 1, 2017

Following the first hour of the Shark Tank Premier (see below for Part 1), a new panel of Sharks was assembled and the guest Shark was Rohan Oza. He is a global pioneer in celebrity equity deals, and is known for transforming new consumer products into household names.

Hopefully he can do the same for Sharky Award winner Megan and Scott Reamer from Jackson’s Honest. Their healthy potato and tortilla chips are made with all natural ingredients and coconut oil.  The Reamers created the snack while experimenting with food to help lessen the symptoms of a rare and incurable auto-immune disease afflicting their son Jackson.

Their sales were over $10 million dollars last year and they valued their company at $25 million dollars. They had raised approximately $3 million from family and friends prior to coming into the Tank. In order to get shelf space, they had to give away almost $2 million worth of product. This caused the company to lose money, although they were coming close to breaking-even.

Guest Shark Rohan cited his involvement in Vitamin Water which had sales of $25 million when he joined the company and ended up with sales approaching $1 billion when they sold the company to Coca-Cola for $4.1 billion! Rohan and Megan & Scott ended up making a deal which called for an investment of $1.25 million for 15% equity. This should be a win-win deal even though the company valuation was dramatically beaten-down from $25 million (ask) to $8 million.

Sharky Award

Sharky Award-Jackson’s Honest

Best of the Rest…….I loved Shane from Qball. He had a fun but useful product that was easy to understand with upside sales potential.

Simply put, the product was a microphone in a blue ball that can be used to facilitate learning and communication. You simply speak into the ball (mic) and then toss it to the next person who would like to speak. Shane had targeted schools as his primary market, but the Sharks thought there was a much bigger potential market in Corporate sales and I agree. As a former CEO, I could have used one to liven up my presentations to customers and employees!

Three Sharks went in on a deal that called for $300K for 30% equity. Shane almost blew it when he tried to get Mark, Lori, and Rohan to lower the equity to 25%. With three Sharks involved this wasn’t going to happen. Thankfully, Shane came to his senses and he took their offer.

Christian and Mike from The Seventy2 sold a nicely packaged assortment of emergency/survival products for $350. They sold $700K in the first 6 months of their business! They did a nice job presenting and got a nice deal from Shark Robert for $200K for 10% equity. With all the natural disasters we’ve experienced recently, they should do very well.

Ryan from Trippie had developed a mobile app that helps you locate restaurants in airports. The fact that Ryan only had 169 active daily users in three large airports says it all. The app struck me as solving a problem that doesn’t really exist. This might have been okay as a college project, but Ryan was clearly not ready for prime time.

When Ryan started to breakdown, Shark Robert tried to help him out by saying,”Look at what you have, not what you don’t have”. The other Sharks weren’t as kind. No deal here.

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

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Shark Tank Season 9 Premiere (Part 1) – Aired October 1, 2017

The two hour Shark Tank Season 9 Premiere was comprised of two separate one-hour Shark Tank episodes with a different panel of Sharks for each. Part 1 featured guest Shark Richard Branson of Virgin Group fame and fortune.

This episode could be re-titled “The Richard Branson” Show”. The companies presenting were right up his alley (leisure/lifestyle companies),  he made two deals, and was the center of attention throughout the show.

Perhaps his most creative deal was with Richard and Juli from Sierra Madre Research. They had created a hammock that had both rain and insect protection. With sales of $208K last year and expected sales of $430 to $500K this year, and tons of passion for their product, Mr. Branson made an offer of $175K for 15% equity, with profits going to charity. This placed the company valuation at approximately 2X to 3X Sales…..a reasonable valuation for a company with this type of growth trajectory.

Sir Richard’s second deal was with 12 year-old Carson from Locker Board. As the name suggests, the product was a small skateboard that could fit inside a typical school locker. Carson was a dynamic young man that knew his numbers. He actually turned down an offer from Mark Cuban and accepted Branson’s deal of $65K for 20% equity.

Aaron from Wyp Aviation created a “wingboard” which allowed dare devils to to stand on top of the wings’ of airplanes. How many people are crazy enough to do this? Fortunately, Aaron had also created an indoor simulator that can be used to experience the same sensation without risking life and limb. The problem was that each of these facilities cost approximately $6 million to build. Once the Sharks heard that, they all went out very quickly.

The most controversial entrepreneur of the night was Yunha from Simple Habit who had created a mobile phone app that gave the user access to a marketplace of meditation products and services.

Yunha is an amazing lady. She has a background in investment banking and software, and has an MBA from Stanford. Her business currently has 5000 subscribers and has annual revenue of $750K. She had already raised $2.8 million at a company valuation of $12 million. She still has most of that money in the bank.

And therein lies the problem.  The Sharks don’t like people coming to the Tank and asking for money that, in their opinion, isn’t REALLY needed by the entrepreneur. When Yunha said she wanted to partner with “celebrities and influencers” the Sharks became irate. They felt she wanted the Sharks to pay her AND do work to grow her company. Mark Cuban called her a “gold digger”and thought she just came on the show for publicity and didn’t really need the money.

It was all downhill from there. Richard Branson for some inexplicable reason, threw a glass of water in Mark Cuban’s face. Maybe he wanted more attention for himself and tried this childish stunt. No deal here.

OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE (Part 1)……… C    

 

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Shark Tank episode aired May 11, 2017

The last episode of Season 8 featured two guys in space suits who used a microwave oven to erase handwritten graphics in a notebook, a married couple who brought a nude male model into the Tank with them, and a lady who pulled up her dress and sat on a toilet. It was hysterical! This episode provided some great TV.

But the winner of the Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence was Heather from Bridal Buddy. She got a relatively small deal for her “bridal slip” that allows brides to “take a pee”without assistance from a bridesmaid. It may have been a small deal, but Heather embodies many of the qualities of successful entrepreneurs.

Sharky Award

Sharky-Bridal Buddy

Heather had the idea for the Bridal Buddy over a decade ago but then “life got in the way” and she had to put in on the shelf while she had two kids, went through a divorce, and moved to a different place. She had dealt with some negative people and has learned that to succeed, you need to surround yourself with positive, encouraging people.

Her product was ingenious, but her friend Marissa (her “model”/ salesperson who demonstrated how the Bridal Buddy works) was even more impressive. She told the Sharks that Heather was an amazing person who has overcome many significant obstacles. She was instrumental in getting Heather a deal with Shark Lori and Mr. Wonderful ($75K for 30%).

Shark Lori Greiner told the story of how she has used people’s negativity to motivate her to succeed. “It created a fire inside of me to prove them wrong”, she said. Lori’s other great quote was, “Look back to learn. Look forward to succeed”.

I too felt the same negativity during my entrepreneurial journey. Some people weren’t supportive and took “a wait and see attitude”. But my main source of motivation came from my father, who was full of negativity and seemed to want me to fail. That lit a fire inside of me that burned for over 25 years as our company grew from 1 employee to 40 employees. I refused to let him see me fail. Alas, I lost that fire after he passed away and we then sold our internet software company a year later. I guess I should have thanked him.

Best of the Rest………Harriet and Patrick from Wine & Design have successfully franchised  their concept of combining art classes with drinking wine. They brought out a nude male model to simulate a bachelorette party with the Sharks. Harriet and Patrick knew their numbers, and have built a successful company that has sold 74 franchises. They receive a royalty of 6% on all sales. They got a deal with Mr. Wonderful (the “wine guru”) that included some equity and a Line of Credit.

I swear I thought Jake and Joe from Rocket Book were very entertaining con men. Their product was a system that included the ability to create and file an electronic document (which can be done by any of today’s smart phones) and then erased by putting a special $27 spiral notebook and a cup of water in a microwave oven. This is perhaps the worst value proposition in the history of computing. I thought the only potential customer for this product would be a magician. Very entertaining, but no deal.

Adam and Derek from Laid Brand have created a hair care product containing pheromones which make hair smell good. They had done a three-month test and sold $27K worth followed by none thereafter. It wasn’t clear why they stopped, but zero sales is a real turn-off to any potential investor. There’s way too much competition in this market to back a company with no sales.

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

                          (A for entertainment value and C for content) 

 

 

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired May 5, 2017

The runaway winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is Billy and Randy from Thompson Tee. They make undershirts that block perspiration. As one of the Sharks put it, they make “armpit diapers”. The product is patented.

Sharky Award

Sharky-Thompson Tee

Approximately 35% of the adult population suffer from hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating. That’s a large addressable market and Billy and Randy are making a dent in that market…..they have shown steady growth over the last few years and currently have sales of over $2 million. Investors love to see steady predictable growth.

These two made a great team…..one has suffered from hyperhidrosis and the other had lots of experience in the clothing industry. They had asked for $700K to bring manufacturing in-house to save a couple of bucks per tee-shirt. The Sharks questioned their strategy and urged them to continue to focus on sales and marketing rather than deal with the management challenges of manufacturing and distribution. But Shark Robert remained very interested in the two of them and said he would help them grow but wouldn’t dictate strategy. Robert offered $700K for 25% and they gladly accepted his offer.

The Best of the Rest……..Tyler from People Design has developed a unique multi-use “scooping bowl”  that costs $5.80 to make and sells for $24.95. Even though he had very limited sales history, this is a made-to-order deal for Shark Lori who scooped it up and will invest $75K for 33.33% equity. This product will do very well on QVC.

Kim, Emily, and Keith from Rumi Spice are marketing premium saffron from Afghanistan. These three served in the U.S. military  in Afghanistan and Kim and Emily had an MBA from Harvard….indeed a very impressive group. They did, however, show a bit of arrogance and were rattled by Mr. Wonderful when they didn’t know “the net profit numbers”. Mark Cuban wasn’t put off and he offered $250K for 15% equity. The group happily accepted.

Trevor and Justin from Wallet Buckle had a little too much fun in their presentation. They cracked each other up a few too many times and the Sharks took note (although it was a very amusing presentation). Their belt buckles hold up to 5 cards and they are selling well at various events, but the market size was too small to interest the Sharks.

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

 

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Shark Tank episode aired April 21, 2017

Four solid entrepreneurs were featured in this episode. Each fell just a bit short of winning a Sharky Award, but they each had numerous strengths. Their businesses have potential, but it’s a little early to predict any of them will be a runaway success.

Shannon and Regan from Goverre have created “an adult sippy cup” for wine. Their Year-to-Date sales are $384K and their margins are about 75%…quite good. Mr. Wonderful, being the self-proclaimed wine guru, was very interested in doing a deal with Shannon and Regan but Sharks Lori, Robert, and Mark aced Mr. W by offering the same deal and promoting the fact that Shannon and Regan would get three Sharks instead of one for the same price…….$200K for 33.33% equity.

Next up was Dr. Rob from See Rescue Streamer. He has invented a rescue alert system that is lightweight (13 ounces) and can be used by boaters, hikers, campers, military personnel, etc.  It requires no external power source. It has already saved the lives of four people. The problem here was that selling to the military is a lengthy and expensive process and  the consumer markets aren’t big enough to get the Sharks interested. The Sharks passed on this opportunity.

Amanda and Steve from BootyQueen Apparel gave a great presentation and came close to winning a Sharky Award. Amanda is internationally known for her glutes and her booty. They have leveraged Amanda’s attributes by capturing over 1 million followers on social media. In the funniest line of the episode, Steve unwittingly said he “did a lot of the back-end stuff” in the business.  They’ve sold over $355K in 18 months of their booty-enhancing leggings. They got a deal from Daymond for $250K for 33.33% equity. I think this has potential, if it proves not to be a short-term fad.

Adam and Don from LocTote Industrial Bag Company have developed a bag that can replace a backpack and cannot be cut by a knife. Apparently, bag slashing is a big problem outside the U.S. They had previously raised over $800K on Kickstarter followed by $500K on Indiegogo to launch their business. Don is fighting cancer while growing the business and his passion and strength generated interest from Mr. Wonderful. The two had a lengthy negotiation where Mr. W. offered a “take it or leave it” $150K for 10% equity and a royalty of $10 a bag until he was paid $450K. Don countered with the same deal except paying a maximum of $150K instead of $450K. Mr. W was about to decline the counter-offer when Shark Robert jumped in and said “I’ll take that deal”. Don accepted and Mr. W. got aced again.

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

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