Shark Tank episode aired March 20, 2015

If there was a Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence for youngsters 10 and under, it would surely go to 9 year old Mikaila  (and her Dad, Theo). Mikaila started Bee Sweet Lemonade five years ago and has built it up to the point where YTD Sales are $25K ! Mikaila really knew her stuff, and with a helping hand from Mom and Dad, she has developed the business to the point where she could make an inspirational appearance on Shark Tank and land a deal with Shark Daymond John. Well played, Mikaila. You are the future of America!

In the big boy division, Kevin Connolly (Entourage) look-alike Pat from Brand Yourself has built a $2 million+ business with 60 employees after his graduation from Syracuse University. His service allows people and businesses to re-order or modify search engine results in order to let people put their best foot forward when looking for a job, trying to make a sale, get a loan, etc. He has over 300,000 free users and over 5,000 paying customers.

Sharky Award

Sharky Award
Brand Yourself
March 20, 2015

Even though Kevin, I mean Pat, left the tank without a deal, he showed great composure and a sense of ethics when he turned down an offer from Shark Robert Herjavec for $2 million at an $8 million company valuation . Pat was protecting his earlier investors who had just invested $3 million at a $15 million dollar valuation.

Even though Pat has a lot of competition, he is likely to get acquired down the road by one of the bigger players in the industry. Good luck to this week’s Sharky Award winner!

Best of the Rest…..Ryan from The Home.T sells Tee Shirts that feature the home state of the person wearing the shirt. Ryan is a very accomplished marketing professional. He has managed to build a successful online business selling unique tee shirts. He received three low ball offers from the Sharks but turned them all down. The Sharks believed this was a fad or transient business that was not sustainable. Ryan thought he could net more money this year than the overall valuation the Sharks were placing on his business. I believe Ryan made the right decision by turning them down.

James and Brooke from icPooch had only sold 115 of their “Facetime for dogs and their owners” platform. Mr. Wonderful thought the unit looked like a fire hydrant and might invite a dog to relieve himself while their master was away. James and Brooke need proof that their concept works, and that will only come through more robust sales.

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Shark Tank episode aired March 13, 2015

2013 Shark Tank contestant Dave from Echo Valley Meats returned to the Tank and got a deal from Mark Cuban for the mail order portion of his business. The great part of this story is that Dave learned so much from his earlier appearance. Two years ago he came across as a guy who knew his product but not much about how to grow a business. This time he knew his numbers and had taken the Sharks’ advice to start a mail order business in addition to his retail/wholesale business. The moral to the story…….great entrepreneurs learn from their mistakes and listen to input from customers, employees, and potential investors. GOOD JOB, DAVE!

Dave was inspirational, but Brian from Emazing Lights won the Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence tonite.

Sharky Award

Sharky Award
Emazing Lights
March 13, 2015

 

Brian has created something called “gloving”, which I would describe as Break Dancing 2.0. His sales were $8 million a year for his gloves with lights.  At first I thought it might be a hoax, but Brian ended up getting a deal from Mark and Daymond at a $13 million valuation. Assuming this deal makes it through due diligence, it could be a huge winner despite its transient nature.

Best of the Rest……. Rob, Jonathon, and Avin from Aqua Vault got a quick deal from Daymond for $75K from 25% of their company that makes small beach vaults that allow people to bring their phones, wallets, glasses, etc. to the beach without worrying about someone walking off with them. I couldn’t help but wondering…….what if they walk away with the vault?

Catalina from Naja is a perfect example of too much Venture Capital chasing too few high quality deals. Prior to her appearance on Shark Tank, she had raised $850K at a valuation of $5 million for her company the makes bra’s and lingerie. The investment was secured based on a couple of sketches of her products. Her sales were $145K in the last 6 months.

Granted, Catalina’s products are beautifully designed (per Daymond) and she has a great education (Stanford), but she was lucky to get a VC investment prior to Shark Tank at that valuation. This not to say that Catalina won’t be successful in the long run, but she’s got a lot to prove. She’s a little too early for her appearance on Shark Tank.

Update….. Congrats to Sharky Award Winner Pipcorn. They have had great success since their appearance earlier in Season 6 selling their gluten-free popcorn. Barbara is their investor/partner.

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Shark Tank episode aired March 6, 2015

The theme of  Friday’s Shark Tank episode was “Made in America”. It featured four businesses with Sales of less than $500K that manufactured their products in America. The winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is Sharon and Kate from Frill.

Sharky Award

Sharky Award
Frill
March 6, 2015

These two friends started a company that makes and sells dresses that allow sorority sisters to “dress in unison during rush week”.  As seniors, these two had Revenues of $149K…..not bad for a couple of college kids!

Besides their poise and knowledge of the marketplace (they knew there are 3,127 sorority chapters in the US and Canada), they had added a Bridal Division to sell dresses to bridesmaids. This accomplished several things. First, it took a highly seasonal business (sorority dresses) and smoothed their business with year-round demand (weddings). Second, this leverages their product expertise while increasing their revenues and profits. Third, it gives them a ready-made pipeline of demand once the sorority girls graduate. Great strategy!

Sharon and Kate ended up with a deal from Sharks Barbara and Kevin for $100K for 30% equity…..a fair valuation at 2X last year’s sales.

The Best of the Rest….Jason and Michelle from Twin Z Pillow were a close second to Frill. They had invented a pillow that could be used to feed twins simultaneously. The product and the company were started out of necessity…..Jason and Michelle recently had twins AND lost their corporate jobs at the same time. Many great companies were started when the founders had their backs against the wall…..it forces creativity and taking risks that you otherwise may not take. Shark Mark Cuban said it all, ” You put it all on the line. You are the American dream”.  They got a deal with Shark Lori for $75K for 15% equity.

Dave from Coco Jack took 12 years to bring his coconut cutting tool to market. He had very poor organizational skills and was into a million different things. Despite these drawbacks, Dave somehow got a deal from Mark Cuban.

The deal itself is worth some discussion. It was a “convertible debt” deal at 7% interest. It remains on Coco Jack’s books as debt until a pre-determined time. At that point, the amount Mark invested ($125K) is either converted to equity (25% of Dave’s company) or the debt must be paid with 7% annual interest. If things don’t go well for the entrepreneur or the timing is bad, and the $125K can’t be paid back, Dave’s patents and other assets go to Mark.

This is a high risk/reward situation for the entrepreneur. Our software company had a convertible debt deal that came due a week after 9/11/2001. The investors wanted their money back. We had enough cash to pay off the debt (with interest) and held on to the company, but it took us several years to climb out of the hole we found ourselves in.

Finally, there was George from BedRyder. He was a very good salesman but he couldn’t convince the Sharks to invest in “his” company…..low sales, high costs, and tremendous potential liabilities hurt him. But his biggest mistake was not bringing Cary, the company founder and 85% owner to the tank. No deal here.

 

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Shark Tank episode aired October 31, 2014

Shark Tank Ratings:

On February 27th, the episode originally aired on October 31, 2014 was re-broadcast.

Originally posted on TimMcEneny:

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…

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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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