Very strong group of entrepreneurs featured on this episode of Shark Tank. Anyone of the four entrepreneurs would be deserving of the Sharky Award, and I could easily see a four- way tie, but I thought Mai Lieu from CreaProducts was the most impressive and had the greatest upside.
Her parents came to the U.S. from Vietnam with very little money. They now live in Hawaii and have raised a great daughter/entrepreneur who started a company that has created beauty products for hair and nails. She even demonstrated a product that allows people to cut their own hair (she cut her own hair!). She ended up with a deal with Shark Lori. She got the perfect partner and negotiated a deal for $200K for 22.5% equity.
The Best of the Rest…….Heather from dollop has created gluten-free, all-natural frosting for cakes and cupcakes. She had failed at her first business and lost $20K, but has bounced back nicely. Heather is a real hustler (that’s a compliment!). She had already secured deals from Wegmans and Meijers, and has written a book to promote her business. She ended up getting a deal with Barbara after rejecting Mr. Wonderful’s offer to somehow combine her business with Wicked Good Cupcakes, the crown jewel of his Shark Tank portfolio.
In the Youth Division, Shelby (age 15) and her brother Gordy (age 10) from Yourself Expressions were awesome! They had been selling over $1,000 A DAY of their custom jewelry. The Sharks loved them but made no offers. I was thinking one of them would make an offer just to have access to these two potential superstar entrepreneurs in the future.
Randy, Bernie, and Reuben from Spooner created a spoon-like, mini-surfboard that looks like a lot of fun. With sales of $1.8 million last year, they ended up getting a deal from Mark Cuban and Shark Barbara for $400K for 16% equity…..a valuation of about 1.3X last years sales. Mark has a related business close-by in San Diego that can help Spooner.
The impact of taking on an outside investor was mentioned a couple of times by the Sharks. It can truly change the dynamic of a business. Outside investors require you to update your financials on a quarterly basis, use generally accepted accounting principles, have annual audits or reviews done by 3rd parties, etc. More important, investors require you to keep them in the loop. You need to explain, defend, and sometimes debate many of the decisions that self-funded entrepreneurs make on their own. Of course many of these changes are good for the business, but the dynamic is not the same. Caveat Emptor (let the buyer beware…..in this case, let the entrepreneur beware).
OVERALL RATING FOR THIS EPISODE………..A