I didn’t get a chance to watch the show live last night….I was watching my alma mater, Lehigh University beat the Duke Blue Devils in perhaps the greatest upset in NCAA history. There are many parallels between sports and business. Jeremy Lin and now LU prove that with the proper preparation and mindset, the little guy can be victorious. The same goes for entrepreneurs. With all due respect to Mr. Wonderful, money isn’t everything.
I watched the Shark Tank episode this morning and enjoyed it very much. Normally I give my Sharky Awards to the entrepreneurs who walk away with money, but in the spirit of March Madness and David beating Goliath, I am giving my top prize to an entrepreneur who did a great job, but left without an investment.
Platinum Sharky Award……..Gary DeJohn, The Vinamor
I think the Sharks missed the boat on this guy. Gary did all the right things during his presentation…..he gave a great product demo of his wine aerator, he showed first-hand knowledge of his marketplace (he is a waiter), and he showed passion but was very respectful of the Sharks. He differentiated his aerator from competitive products when he pointed out it can reduce over-pouring costs in restaurants.
Gary just needs a little help with his Marketing plan. He needs to better define his target market and consider different distribution models. I think he will be able to return to the Tank in due time and show those Dukies (I mean, Sharks) they underestimated him.
Gold Sharky Award……..Aviv Grill, Miso Media
This young man was awesome. He probably gave the coolest presentation I have ever seen on Shark Tank. His digital music education products help people learn how to play various instruments. When he called the popular Ingrid Michaelson to perform, Aviv gained instant credibility (it should be noted the Ingrid is also on his board). He also had previously received an investment from Google at a valuation of $3 million…..this also added to his credibility and gave him lots of negotiating leverage. This one case where very small actual sales (about $40K of sheet music) was trumped by a previous valuation. Interesting to note his app can be downloaded for free. Aviv will make money on upgrades and sheet music.
Mark Cuban invested $300K for 8% of the company. I expect big things from Aviv. So does Mark.
Shark Chum Awards…..Stephan Aarstol is brilliant. On that basis alone, Mark Cuban invested in him with the proviso that Mark gets first right of refusal on investments in any future companies he may start. Unfortunately Stephan became very emotional as he started his presentation. and forgot what he was going to say. I think he made the mistake of trying to memorize his presentation word for word instead of speaking from the heart.
Nick and Penelope from Instant Lifts had a killer product but made a strategic error. They separated one product from the rest of their product lines and wouldn’t include all of their products in the deal. No investor likes to have the successful products eliminated from the deal. Also, entrepreneurs ……don’t ever say something as silly as, “We can get that handled. Piece of cake” when asked if you can do something. No deal for this duo.