Shark Tank episode aired February 20, 2015

This episode featured businesses started while the contestants were still in college. This was the strongest group of future entrepreneurs EVER to appear on Shark Tank!!!!! I loved their confidence, vision, and knowledge. They were all very impressive and gave great presentations.

Since it’s almost NCAA March Madness time, I have assigned the four young companies to the colleges their founders attended, and am staging a simulated “Final Four” to determine the winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence.

Based on “Last 12 months Sales”, I am slotting the four companies into two divisions. They are:

The  Big Apple Division

Columbia University (Anna and Andrea from LuminAID)

vs.

New York University (Ryan and Nayeem from Keen Home)

LuminAID has invented Solar-Powered Inflatable Lights that are sold to campers/hikers and to first responders at various disasters.  Their sales were $1 million during the past 12 months. They received offers from all five Sharks and ended up accepting Mark Cuban’s offer of $200K for 15% equity. As part of his offer, Mark has the option to be the lead investor in their next round of financing(Note: It is very important for an entrepreneur seeking third-party funding to have a “big name” investor lead the investment round. This attracts other investors who normally might not invest).

Keen Home makes air flow controllers that are controlled by smart phones that  help reduce heating and cooling bills in any house or hotel. They had pre-sold 35,000 units to Lowes, and had a post-money valuation of over $5 million from their last round of financing. (They had recently raised $1.5 million in their “seed round” prior to their appearance on Shark Tank).

Columbia vs. NYU is a great match-up of very skilled entrepreneurs. They both exuded confidence and had all the answers to the Sharks’ questions.

From a Product standpoint, I believe Columbia has the edge and are further along as evidenced by their $1 million in sales in the last 12 months. Anna and Andrea were knowledgeable and passionate about their product. They had built the prototype themselves and used their product themselves when they were traveling to an area without electricity.

NYU had an edge in two areas. I believe they had a larger potential market and they were further along in their funding efforts. Ryan and  Nayeem were two polished MBA grads who seemed a little stronger and better connected on the Finance side of the business. They calculated a two-year ROI for customers who buy their products.

This game is almost too close to call, but I’ll go out on a limb and pick the Columbia Lions (LuminAid) because of their passion for their product and their market. I think with Mark Cuban, they will succeed.

Note: It’s good to see there are so many new sources of funding for young entrepreneurs including crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc.) and college Business Plan contests.  Of course most entrepreneurs still need to self fund to launch their new businesses and show other potential investors that they have skin in the game.

The Bootstrapping Division   

Drexel University (Christopher from Scholly)

vs.

Virginia Tech  (Jack and Alley from TaaLuma)

Scholly had developed a mobile app that searches a database for college scholarship opportunities based on a prospective student’s characteristics. They’ve had 92,000 downloads at 99 cents each. Christopher created this database when he, himself, was looking for a college scholarship. He has two other partners who provide technical expertise.

TaaLuma makes backpacks unique to various countries around the world. They use 10% of their gross sales to provide micro loans to entrepreneurs in the “country of origin”. They also use adults with disabilities in the U.S. to manufacture the bags. So far they’ve generated $60K in Sales. The Sharks thought they were too early for an investment and they still had a lot to learn about their business.

I’ll pick Drexel (Scholly)to win this division. After Christopher accepted an offer from Lori and Daymond ($20K each for 7.5% each) and after he had left the stage, the Sharks had a “discussion” about whether the investment was driven by charity or potential financial return. The producers of Shark Tank had hyped the hell out of the “three Sharks leaving the set” in their pre-show promotion prior to the show, but it was much ado about nothing…..strictly a made for TV moment. The fact is, the last contestant had left, the show was over, and the Sharks were leaving anyway.

I understand why Lori and Daymond made a pre-emptive offer to Scholly without having a complete understanding of how his business works. Christopher has accomplished so much in a short amount of time and has a great future as an entrepreneur. Why not take a shot for $20K? Besides, neither Lori nor Daymond would have won this deal once the other three “technology oriented Sharks” got involved in the bidding.

The message from this episode of Shark Tank for all future students and entrepreneurs……there is money out there that can help you achieve your dreams. You just have to know where to find it and then work hard to get it! 

Posted in Crowd Funding, Daymond John, Entrepreneur, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, patents, Robert Herjavec, Shark Tank, Sharktank, Sharky Award, start-up, Uncategorized, Venture Capital | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Shark Tank episode aired February 13, 2015

The winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is C. C. Conrad from Boobypack.

Sharky Award

Sharky Award
Boobypack
February 13, 2015

I love Boobypack’s tag line…..”A fanny pack for your rack”. That pretty much says it all.  C.C. has created a sports bra with pockets for money, credit cards, etc. She raised $32K on Kickstarter.com. She was inspired by her Dad to start a business. He has since passed away and left C.C. some money to go to grad school. He was an entrepreneur, so she didn’t think he would have minded if she used the money to fund her own start-up.

Shark Barbara swooped in at the last minute to steal the deal from Shark Robert. She got the deal for $80K for 25% equity. C.C. accepted her offer immediately as Barbara was the partner she was hoping for. Considering the fact that the rest of the Sharks thought she was “too early” for their investment , she made out very well.

Best of the Rest…..Jesse from Lumi was dynamic and would have won the Sharky if she would have had a little more flexibility in her valuation. She had developed a great DIY business selling photo printing kits and dye that will do $2.5 million in sales next year. Her valuation of $5 million was a little too rich for the Sharks. At a multiple of 2 times last year’s sales, her valuation would have been half of that. You’ve got to be willing to give something to get an offer from any investor. I give Jesse credit, however, she turned down a couple of loan offers from the Sharks that would have required her to payback the loan AND give away some equity.

Mark from the Gold Rush Nugget Bucket had created a gold mining toy for kids. Mark was a very likeable guy who had invested $192K of his own money to build his company. He ended up getting a deal from Shark Robert for $60K for 25% equity. At a retail price of $99.95, I think they will have to do some significant cost reduction to make this deal work.

Liz and Ben from Sseko Designs make interchangeable sandals in Uganda which they sell for $65 per pair. The have used part of the proceeds to send women to college in Uganda. So far 47 have gone to college thanks to their efforts. They valued their company at almost 3 times sales even though they aren’t profitable, and won’t be for at least two years. No deal here.

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired February 6, 2015

 

That old saying about not judging a book by its cover certainly applied to the first contestant appearing on Shark Tank tonight.

When I heard Yak milk, Nepal, and Himalayan dog treats, I rolled my eyes as I looked at three young guys in tee shirts getting ready to pitch the Sharks.

Suman, Sujan, and Nishes from Himalayan Dog Chew have developed a hard cheese, 100% natural dog treat. They got everyone’s attention when they told the Sharks they had $5.6 million in sales last year and were forecasting $8 million in sales this year! They netted over $1 million in profits last year. Actual sales numbers like that will get any investor’s attention.

This led to the question, “Why do they need the Sharks?” They were looking for $750K for 5% equity. They ended up getting a couple of debt offers (in return for equity) and turned them down. They didn’t want to give up equity for the “privilege” of borrowing and repaying money.  Good decision.

The one mistake they made was telling the Sharks they wanted to use their money to pay themselves. Even though they had never taken any compensation and were certainly entitled to take some compensation,  no investor wants entrepreneurs to use their money that way. That may have been the reason they didn’t get any straight equity offers.

Melissa and Rosco from Lip Bar were up next. They made different color lipsticks such as green, blue, and other unique colors. The Sharks all believed there was too much competition in the lipstick market, and their branding (name and logo) did not reflect their desire to empower women. No deal here.

Kevin from Beverage Boy was a hoot! His product (Bev Boy) allows people to bring their cups, cans, and other beverages into the pool.  They float and will never spill. Despite not bringing any order forms to a recent trade show, and having only about $10K in sales, Kevin got a deal from Shark Daymond. The reason….Daymond had recently invested in 360 Cup, a complementary product that was selling well in Party City.

Bobbie from FunBites has created several products that cut food into different shapes so that kids will be more likely to try those foods. Shark Lori was really excited about this opportunity and she made a deal for $75K for 25% of the company. She and Bobbie will make great partners.

Frankly, I didn’t really get it. As Shark Robert put it, “I don’t like investing in a product that can be replaced by a knife”.

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired February 3, 2015

Excellent episode last night! The “Update” segment featured Tom + Chee, my overall Sharky Award winner for Season 4. In the last two years, since their appearance on Shark Tank, they have done $14 million in business and now have 19 locations with 500 employees……not bad for a company that was started with $2,400 five years ago!

My Sharky Award winner for entrepreneurial excellence on last night’s show was Naushad from Drain Strain.

This product is a sink drain cleaner that eliminates clogs.  In 2008, Naushad was the Number 10 Realtor in the State of Washington but was put out of business by the great recession. He wanted to show his kids that you never give up and can always come back from adversity. He was inspirational.

Although he is in the prototype phase, he received a $110K investment for 10% equity from Shark Robert.  I think they will make great partners and will work well together. Robert can help Naushad get a licensing deal with a large manufacturer.

In this episode, the Most Intriguing Entrepreneur was Mark A. from BEDJET. His product warms/cools beds and has a dual control option for bedmates that have different preferences. The Sharks missed out on this opportunity. They should have fed the Sharks a few Snickers bars before they taped this presentation. The Sharks were REALLY CRANKY and unreasonably critical during this segment.

I thought Mark (the contestant) gave a very solid initial presentation and demonstration. Mark had a background at NASA as an engineer involved in developing heating and cooling of space suits. In my mind, this gave him instant credibility. He was adapting the space suit technology to solve a common household problem with a huge market potential. He was just about to go into production (this was my main concern because it brings with it a high degree of risk and uncertainty).

The Sharks were initially very interested in BEDJET, but then the cranky Sharks came out to circle and all hell broke loose. Mr. Wonderful actually said, “You’re a pig!”, because he thought the retail price was too high. He continually brought up the same objection over and over. Mark (the contestant) addressed this comment by saying he was going after the premium mattress market and he had already received a Purchase Order for $1.1 million worth of product. Besides, I’m guessing Mr. W. has never had a hot flash, and my wife tells me she definitely would have paid $500 to make them go away!

Next up was Shark Lori who was deeply offended by the fact that Mark didn’t take her question immediately. The fact is that Mark A. was engaged with Mr. W. at that moment. Lori repeated her question five times and was upset because Mark didn’t circle back until later. She said later that he should have responded immediately  because, “I shouted”.

Shark Mark Cuban went out because Mark A. didn’t initially answer his questions with technical explanations of how the product worked. Mark Cuban  said he “didn’t like the vibe”.

Shark Robert went out because Mark A. was too much in “sales mode” (I think this is what good entrepreneurs do!).

The only constructive criticism came from Shark Barbara who said the high-end of the bed market was “upholstered beds” and they couldn’t use BEDJET.

You don’t always get the true picture on TV. The only thing I can think of that might have explained the Sharks bad behavior was thinking Mark A. (the contestant) wasn’t who he said he was, and they were trying to rattle him to see if he cracked. Assuming he checks out, I think the Sharks blew it!

Best of the Rest……Andrew from Fresh Patch had sold over $1 million of his natural grass sod for pets. Despite the fact that only 25% of his customers have re-ordered (I would have expected this to be something north of 50%), he got a deal from Mark and Barbara.

Liz and Abby from Balm Chicky Balm Balm had a fun name but didn’t articulate why having  “sharable lip balm” is such a great idea.  The market seems very small. They had sold only $17K of product, but looked like they were having fun. No deal here.

 

 

 

 

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Shark Tank episode aired January 30, 2015

 

 

Good show last night! The “Update” segment of the show featured Season 5 Sharky Award winner GrooveBook. They had recently been acquired by Shutterfly for $14.5 million….the largest acquisition in Shark Tank history. Mr. Wonderful was all smiles as he was the smart Shark who invested in GrooveBook.

A Shutterfly Press Release indicated that a portion of the $14.5 million is dependent on an “earn out” which requires the owners to stay with the acquiring company for a period of time and hit certain targets….usually Revenue goals that have been agreed to in the contract. The advantages of this type of deal (to the acquiring company) are they conserve cash for a period of time while reducing their risk that the acquisition didn’t work out.

The danger to the entrepreneur is that the acquirer can change their priorities and make changes that effect the seller’s ability to hit their targets. In short, from the seller’s standpoint, cash is usually always preferable to an earn-out.

The four contestants appearing on last night’s show were quite entertaining. The most impressive entrepreneur team was Dan and Wes from PhoneSoap. They are the winners of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence.

Shark Tank

Sharky Award
January 30, 2015
PhoneSoap

These two had invented a combination phone charger and sanitizer. They did a great job explaining why their product is so desired. They quoted one study that showed that smart phones are 18 times dirtier than a public restroom! I don’t know who did the study and how they came to this conclusion, but it got the Sharks talking about how this can happen.

Mark Cuban thought that hospitals would be a great target market, but Shark Lori disagreed and thought this would be a better consumer product. She prevailed and ended up making a deal for 10% equity for $300K.

Best of the Rest…..Ned and Jen from Greenbox made a pizza box with recycled materials. Even though it cost slightly more than a regular pizza box, Mr. Wonderful thought enough of the company to offer them a loan of $300K which, even after Ned and Jen pay the $300K back, they will give up $10% of their company.

Deborah and David from Victoria’s Kitchen made and sold almond water. David wanted to sell more products (SKU’s) to stores that already carried their almond water. He felt that he and Deborah could respond to any customer desire and wanted the customer to tell him what they wanted.

Although it’s good to listen to customers, David carried it a little too far. Shark Robert warned them, “When you’re this small, you can’t listen to what customers want”.  Mark Cuban thought they looked desperate.  No deal here.

Aaron from Tycoon had developed an online way to let people invest in Real Estate projects. Aaron got an “I’m out” from Mark before he finished his pitch. Shark Barbara, who is a real estate deal guru,  agreed with Mark when she said that the lead investor in a real estate deal is critical, and Aaron had no track record as a lead investor.  No deal here.

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Shark Tank episode aired October 10, 2014

Shark Tank Ratings:

This episode was re-broadcast on January 27, 2015.

Originally posted on TimMcEneny:

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…

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Shark Tank episode aired October 3, 2014

Shark Tank Ratings:

This episode was re-broadcast on January 23, 2015.

Originally posted on TimMcEneny:

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 fromSoapsox. 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…

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