March Madness and the Shark Tank-episode 309 aired 3/16/2012

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.




About Shark Tank Ratings

Author of "Unlocking Your Entrpreneurial Potential: Marketing, Money, and Management Strategies for the Self-Funded Entrepreneur"
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One Response to March Madness and the Shark Tank-episode 309 aired 3/16/2012

  1. vinamor says:

    Today is the Day we Kick off our St. Judes Fundraiser! Thank you all Please Copy, Post, Tweet, Etc, and help me raise money for st judes!

    Shark Tank Entrepreneur Gary DeJohn says Vinamor to give 50% of proceeds to St.Judes

    Gary DeJohn got his 15 minutes of fame in March 2012 on ABC’s The Shark Tank with his wine aerator, The Vinamor. Now, he wants shine the limelight on St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The 29-year-old CEO announced today that the company will be giving 50% of all proceeds made online between October 1st and November 15th of this year to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Additionally, 50 cents will be donated for every new ‘Like’ the Vinamor Facebook page receives, and 50 cents for every new Twitter follower (@garydejohn).

    The Vinamor is unique to the wine industry. It’s a hands-free, single-glass wine aerator that is easy to use, effective and enhances the overall experience of anyone who enjoys wine. He wanted to create something that would be convenient for home and restaurant use, purposeful, and unique. Although none of the “Sharks” picked up his product, DeJohn feels thankful for the opportunity. “Being on the Shark Tank was an absolute blessing. It inspired me to want to give back to those in need.”

    Gary DeJohn Shares the Wealth

    Being a father himself, DeJohn has always had a special connection with St. Judes hospital. In 2009 and 2010, DeJohn got the opportunity to visit St Judes where he witnessed the heartbreaking faces of childhood cancer first hand. “I couldn’t even imagine if that was my child. Having her definitely puts things into perspective. I am lucky to have a healthy daughter, others are not. These kids, and their parents, need all the help they can get.”

    Consumers who purchase their Vinamor online during the next month and a half can take pride in that next glass of wine, knowing half of the purchase went to supporting cancer research for children. That’s cause for celebration – pat yourself on the back and have a second glass.

    In case you are not familiar with St.Jude, here are some astonishing facts:

    -No family ever pays St. Jude for anything.

    -St. Jude has developed protocols that have helped push overall survival rates for childhood cancers from less than 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to 80 percent today.

    -During the past five years, 81 cents of every dollar received has supported the research and treatment at St. Jude.


    To order a Vinamor and to be a part of this amazing cause, please log onto and order today! You can also contact Gary DeJohn himself if you would like more information:

    Gary DeJohn, CEO
    Vinamor, LLC

    Additional info:

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