Great episode! Many lessons-learned can benefit current and future entrepreneurs.
The winner of tonite’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is Katherine from Betterback.
Katherine has created and developed a sling-like device that helps people with back pain. Since 8 out of 10 people will have some degree of back pain in their lifetime, this is a huge addressable market (something investors love).
In fact, Katherine exceeded her Kickstarter goal (crowd-funding site) by 100 times and pre-sold $1.2 million of her device. The biggest risk for the Sharks was that no actual customers have tried the product. There was no question Katherine can develop and promote products, the question was, “How will people like the product”.
Shark Lori ended up making a deal with Katherine for $750K (a 3 year term loan) for 8% equity. This is a great product for QVC. Lori and Katherine will make a great team. Katherine said after she left the tank that Lori was a “Badass business woman” (I’m not sure, but I think that was meant as a compliment!).
Best of the Rest……Brittney and Skyler from Glace Cryothereapy had a Spa Therapy machine that uses extremely low temperatures to make people feel invigorated. Mark Cuban gave this idea some legitimacy when he said his Mav players started using cryotherapy five years ago.
The only Shark that got really excited about this opportunity was Barbara. Even though Brittney and Skyler came into the tank with a very limited vision (they just wanted to add one more store), Barbara was convinced she could make this a national brand. She offered them $100K for a 30% interest. Mr. W said that if they didn’t take the deal, they should freeze themselves. They took the deal, but they would have generated much more interest (and a better deal) if they entered the Tank with a plan that showed THEY understood how to make this a national brand.
Mohamed Mohamed from Linka had a great personal story. His parents immigrated from Egypt and he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering from CCNY. The product he created was designed to reduce bicycle theft. It had an alarm and used smart phone technology to alert the owner that their bike was being stolen. The Sharks felt like his product didn’t offer enough of a deterrent to a would-be thief.
I was glad to see Mohamed is going to Amsterdam to try and sell his product. In Amsterdam, they have a 1:1 ratio of people to bicycles (about 800,000 of each)! They love technology in Holland, and Mohamed stands a much better chance of selling it there.
Last up was Allison from Teaspressa. She had limited sales history and it wasn’t clear to the Sharks what her product really was. Was it a machine? Was it the tea? Did she want to go retail? She didn’t have a Business Plan and it became obvious pretty quickly that she was “too early to The Tank”.
Lori summarized Allison’s situation very well when she said, ” First you have to crawl, then walk, and then run”.
Would-be entrepreneurs can’t learn about their target market, create their product(s), and learn all about business at the same time. That’s why investors love serial entrepreneurs (like Katherine from Betterback) and stay away from newbies like Allison.
OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………A-