I am giving two Sharky Awards for Entrepreneurial Excellence tonite……..One in the “Adult Division” and one in the “Youth Division”.
Sharky, Adult Division……Ben and Greg from Sworkit gave a great presentation and displayed all kinds of knowledge, experience, and credibility. These two met at Wharton and have been in business together for over 5 years. They have developed and are selling an app to help people exercise based on their time availability, exercise type, etc.
They have a great business model. They have a version of their app that can be downloaded for free (with advertising), a pro-version that can be downloaded for $3.99, and a subscription model that includes premium content for $9.99 per month.
Mark Cuban made a very clever deal with Ben and Greg. He gave them $1.5 million for 10% of their company with the understanding that Mark would get a $1.5 million credit for unused advertising space on their platform. Mark can use this space to promote a couple of other properties he has invested in that are related in some way to the exercise space.
Sharky, Youth Division…..Benjamin from NOHBO is a 16 year old that has the knowledge and maturity of a much older person. He has developed “shampoo balls” that ultimately can become a delivery system for a variety of health and beauty products. The intent here is to eliminate plastic shampoo packaging in order to help improve the environment.
Mark Cuban liked the product and he LOVED Benjamin. He reminded Mark of himself at that age. Benjamin went out and got a job to raise money to pay for his start-up. Mark gave him a round of applause when he heard that.
Benjamin brought his best friend, his grandma Bubby, to help him with the product demo. I think the advice she must have given him previously was NOT “Plastics, Benjamin”, but rather “Shampoo Balls, Benjamin” (apologies to those not old enough to remember “The Graduate”).
Best of the Rest…..I really liked Michael from Clean Sleep! He has developed a piece of equipment that deep cleans mattresses. Michael came up with a great quote during his presentation, “I believe there are people that watch something happen and those that make something happen. I am the one that makes something happen”.
Michael’s product can be sold to hotels, hospitals, and the military…..all huge markets. The issue here was that these would be very long sales cycles requiring educating potential buyers (this is very expensive and time-consuming). The Sharks didn’t want to wait that long for a return, so they passed on this opportunity.
Sarah from Tutublue was a delight, but was a little too early in the process to get an investment from the Sharks. Her product was a one-piece, full-body bathing suit that protects the skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Sarah developed this product as a result of her own experience with skin cancer. Based on her passion and personality, I think Sarah will be successful in the long run. Good luck!