In this episode, the Sharks paid tribute to the men and women of the United States armed forces. As part of Veterans Small Business Week, the tank welcomed vets who have recently served in Middle East and and returned home to start new businesses.
The Sharks were impressed with each of the vets. It was obvious that the lessons learned in the military were being carried over to their lives as civilians and entrepreneurs. Each of these vets/entrepreneurs deserve credit for their accomplishments and service.
I will therefore alter my usual Sharky rating system for this episode. Here are the Sharky Awards for entrepreneurial excellence……
The 4 Star Sharky Award winner is Ashley from The Natural Grip.
Wow, you talk about high energy and passion! Ashley had invented customizable hand grips that are worn while exercising. Competitive grips and gloves are bulky and can’t be customized.
Ashley had a great sense of humor. When she handed a sample of her product to Mr. Wonderful, she said, “Yours is the color of your soul……black”. Good zinger!
Ashley had sold $178K of her product in Year 1 and was forecasting $400K in Year 2, and $1 million in Year 3. I liked her forecast…..it showed dramatic growth but it sounded achievable. This is what investors are looking for.
Robert Herjavec , the self-proclaimed “Sporty Shark”, did a deal with Ashley for $125K for 25% equity. Robert was also passionate about this product and will be a great partner for Ashley.
The 3 Star Sharky Award winner is Eli and Jen with Bottle Breacher.
Although I wasn’t crazy about their product name (what’s a breacher? Military people may know, but not too many civilians know what this term means), these two made a good team and had created a nice business. Eli was a Navy Seal. He and Jen modified large caliber bullets to become bottle openers (breachers). Pretty unique I’d say.
They had sold over $500K of their product so far this year….all online. Most of the breachers were engraved. This created an upsell opportunity (that’s the good news). But the bad news is more engravers would be needed to scale the business.
Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban teamed up on this one and got a deal done for $150K for 20% equity.
The 2 Star Sharky Award winner is Aaron from Man-Pack
Aaron had created a backpack/carry bag and was expecting to sell $145K this year….his second year in business.
I like Aaron. He started his business with just $5,000. and was very passionate about his product. Wouldn’t it be great if all returning vets could do what Aaron did?
Aaron did not do a good job, however, in his company valuation. When the Sharks found out he placed a value on the youtube videos he had created and then tacked on an additional $200K of “goodwill”, the Sharks lost interest. Goodwill is something large companies carry on their balance sheets after an acquisition, but is not appropriate for a small company like Man-Pack.
1 Star Sharky Award winner is Wade and Lori from Priority One Canine
Despite giving a really cool demonstration of how their attack dogs can protect you, Wade and Lori did not get an investment from the Sharks. Their service was simply not investable. Why? The business is not easily scaled into something really big.
The Sharks look for unlimited scalability, and this wasn’t it. That said, Wade and Lori can make a really nice living doing something they know and love.