This was the best Shark Tank episode so far in Season 8. It featured four technology-based companies with great potential. There was a lot to absorb and several big lessons learned.
Chris Sacca re-joined the Sharks, which was only appropriate considering he has been a big investor in many successful technology companies such as Instagram, Uber, and Twitter. Chris’s net worth is reported to be over $1 billion.
First into the tank was Guari from Toymail. Her plush toys allow young children to send and receive voice mails to and from family members . She gave a flawless presentation, answered all of the Sharks’ questions with ease, and remained very calm thru a solid negotiation. She is the winner of this week’s Sharky Award given for entrepreneurial excellence.
Guari gained instant credibility with the Sharks when she talked about the first product she created when attending MIT graduate school. She had sold $10 million of them out of her dorm room! Investors love successful serial entrepreneurs and she was no exception. She also impressed the Sharks when she said her early investors included Verizon and Amazon. Once again, investors are impressed when seed and early stage investments come from big-name sources.
Guari can add two more big names to her list of investors…..Lori Greiner and Chris Sacca teamed up to invest $600K for a 5% stake in Toymail. They will make a great team!
Ryan from EDN Wallgarden has created software to help grow house plants with minimal human intervention. He sold the wall “flower boxes” for $499….a price way too high for the masses. The consensus was that the product had to be cost and price reduced by at least 50% to gain traction in the marketplace.
Ryan had two offers on the table but lost them both when he took too long to make a decision. Mr. Wonderful increased his equity requirements from 15% to 25% for a $150K investment and Ryan declined the offer. He later said he would have taken Kevin’s original offer of 15% if he would have been willing to put it back on the table….of course Mr. W. refused.
Brian and Yannis from Hotels by Day have a great concept…..renting hotel rooms during the day in 6 hour blocks at an average price of $90. This would increase room utilization at hotels and provide a place for business travelers to freshen up, rest up, etc. prior to meetings. Brian and Yannis receive a 14% commission with every booking. With only 6500 bookings, this wasn’t generating enough revenue to get the Sharks excited.
The Sharks also thought the big hotel chains could start offering a similar product if the idea proved profitable. Brian and Yannis couldn’t effectively articulate how their technology worked and what made it so unique that the big boys couldn’t do the same. No deal here.
Scott and Aidan from Bitsbox had a product that helps teach kids ages 6 to 14 how to write computer code. They gave a very entertaining presentation and this is a very important cause. According to Mr. Wonderful, the United States graduates only 50,000 engineers per year while China graduates 260,000 per year.
I’ve got to give a shoutout to 10 year old Grace, who uses the Bitsbox product. She came into the tank to help demonstrate how it works. She was so impressive, Chris Sacca said he wanted to hire her. She was a great spokesperson for Bitsbox, although she admitted she had done a little C++ coding prior to ordering the product!
Chris was very interested in Bitsbox, but the deal fell apart when Scott and Aiden quibbled over 1/4% of a percent of equity (they wanted to give 4.75% vs.the 5% offered). This turned Chris off and he took his offer off the table. No deal.
OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………………..A+