This episode featured an impressive line-up of entrepreneurs. Alas, not all of them had impressive businesses. The runaway hit of the show was Max from Lumio, who wins the Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence.
Max had developed a beautiful, unique lighting system that he had been selling online and to MOMA’s (Museum of Modern Art) around the world. He had raised over a half million dollars on KickStarter (a crowd-funding website), and he was projecting $2 million in sales this year. The Sharks loved the book-like/accordion-like product and each Shark ended up making an offer to invest.
One of the impressive things Max had done was going to China to “live” in the factory that manufactured his product. He did this to help figure out ways to cost-reduce his product, and he succeeded! This kind of dedication and focus impressed the hell out of the Sharks. They know how important it is to have Design people working with Manufacturing people to improve their products. It is crucial to long-term success.
Shark Robert got the nod from Max when he made a pre-emptive offer of $350K for 10% of his business. They will make great partners. Their interests, expertise, and passions are perfectly aligned.
Best of the Rest…….Neil and Justin from Napwell met when they were attending a “nerd camp” in 7th grade. These two guys were extremely smart and well-educated (MIT, Stanford, Harvard, etc.) but didn’t really explain why the world wants/needs their product (a “napping mask” that costs $50-$100). As one of them said afterwards, the Sharks probably think this is “a product in search of a market”.
In fairness to Neil and Justin, they admitted that they had no business experience. I think they viewed this as somewhat of an academic exercise where KickStarter was their “laboratory” and was used to get customer feedback and test different pricing strategies. This was a clever idea, but Napwell’s market size was just too small for the Sharks. No deal here.
Kristina from Turbopup graduated from the Air Force Academy and had three tours of duty in the Middle East. When she returned to civilian life her passion became hiking and her dogs. Her product is a complete meal for a dog (it looks like an energy bar). Based on her sales ($7K) she never should have gotten a deal, but Shark Daymond thanked her for her service with an offer of $100K for 35% of her business. I hope they succeed.
Joe from Bello Verde was a high energy hustler…..and I mean that in a good way. He brought a couple of his customers with him. One was Dean Cain (former Superman, Brooke Shields’ boyfriend, Princeton football player, etc.). Dean had purchased a number of Joe’s custom suits and was a very satisfied customers.
Joe had made a previous deal to buy custom suit maker Astor & Black out of bankruptcy for $405K. He got a million dollars in inventory and a good ordering/tracking system as part of the deal. Joe’s “take-no-prisoners” style of negotiating with the Sharks was not successful as his valuation was unrealistically high and he showed little flexibility.