This was the weakest lineup of entrepreneurs in the history of Shark Tank. That said, the contestants were all very likeable people who had invested their time and money in their businesses. Ironically, the Sharks made three deals, a sure sign that the investment climate has dramatically improved and we are in a “bubble” which is about to burst.
What I did like about this episode was there were numerous lessons to be learned by future entrepreneurs. The common theme was a)numbers don’t lie and b) the market has spoken and they don’t want your product.
First up were Leah and Taya from Scratch & Grain Baking. They were very nice ladies who were neighbors. They had created a cookie kit which produced a small number of cookies that tasted great…..the Sharks loved them! Issue #1 was having only $52K in sales last years. As Shark Lori pointed out, this is a super competitive industry and there is too much risk for an investor. Shark Barbara took advantage of this fact and got 20% of their company for nothing by simply giving them a $150K line of credit.
Next up were Justin and Seth from Bottle Bright. They had an “episode-high” of $110K in sales last year. They had an all natural product that cleans drinking containers. They made a big mistake by saying they would spend the $75K they were asking for to build an administration function in their company. Investors don’t want to see their investment spent on admin…..product, sales, research, customer acquisition, and talent come WAY before admin. Alas, Lori invested in their company if they promised not to spend a penny on admin. She will get them on QVC and into Bed Bath and Beyond.
Michael and Arthur from Vestpakz had a cool kids’ backpack alternative that was invented by Michael’s daughter when she was 11 years old. The problem is that his daughter is now 27 and they have only sold a grand total of $10K since! Mark Cuban laughed so hard he was almost in tears (btw, I haven’t even mentioned all the crying that took place on this episode!). Mr. Wonderful had the one-liner of the night when he said, “When this product came out, “Mandy” was the Number 1 song”. Michael and Arthur suffered the same fate as Mandy…….they sent them away.
Ellie and Becca from EveryWares are sisters who had spent three years and $180K of their own money building a “premium sticker company”. Stick-on ties sell for $4.99. Despite the fact that Mr. Wonderful dubbed this company a “howling dog from hell”, Mark Cuban bought the entire company for $200K. It wasn’t clear why he did this, but Mark always has his reasons. It could be a product sold at Maverick games.
Summary: The person who selects the entrepreneurs appearing on Shark Tank should be fired. This group was a travesty. I hope this isn’t representative of the state of entrepreneurship and startups in this country!