The Sharks were back together again for Season 3. For some reason, the producers of the show decided to turn Mark Cuban into a heavy-handed bad guy and Kevin O’Leary (Mr. Wonderful) into a cuddly, loveable underdog. When compared to Season 2, this was somewhat puzzling and changed the dynamic of the show and how the sharks interacted.
Regardless, my objective is to evaluate the performances of the entrepreneurs and give Sharky Awards to the best and shark chum to the rest.
Platinum Sharky………Alashe Nelson, EZ VIP
This young man struck a great balance between being confident (and knowledgeable) and humble at the same time. His business model was somewhat similar to Open Table’s but geared toward clubs, not restaurants. He said, very convincingly, that “this is a market I understand”. It is critical to any potential investor that the founder/CEO understands and is passionate about his/her market. Alashe passed both of these tests with flying colors.
In the final analysis, he accepted an offer from Daymond and Mark Cuban, even though he could have gotten a better financial deal from the other sharks. This was a great move because he chose investors who understood him and his business and could truly add more value than just money they invested.
Gold Sharky Award……..Dave Mayer, Clean Bottle
This former Goldman Sachs employee started a company that made water bottles that could be opened on both ends and therefore could be easily cleaned. He was looking to sell 5% of his company. Generally, this is too low of a percentage to get any investor interested (it usually takes at least 40% to get them excited).
He had actually sold 150,000 bottles and generated $750,000 in revenue. Having sales history is a necessity these days to excite an investor.
After some negotiating (“Mark, the difference is only one bottle of wine for you”…..a little too patronizing for my taste), he made a deal with Mark Cuban.
Shark Chum…….Nancy and Sue had a very interesting business called “My Wonderful Life”. It helped people prepare for their own funerals! They had 7,000 members who had joined online but hadn’t generated one cent in sales revenue. This presentation was DOA.
Michael Levin started a business named Business Ghost which provided ghost writing and book publishing services for entrepreneurs. Having just been thru the process of writing and publishing a book, I thoroughly understood his value proposition. Alas, the sharks didn’t see how Mike could make any money and didn’t think he had a ghost of a chance to survive.