After taking a break for March Madness, Shark Tank returned with a strong new episode featuring four high quality entrepreneurs.
The winner of this week’s Sharky Award for entrepreneurial excellence is Rick from Under the Weather. Rick has invented a small, portable “tent” that protects spectators at outdoor events from the wind, rain, snow, and sun. He had Sharks Daymond and Lori participate in a great demo to show how it works. It was fun and showed the benefit of using his product.
Rick defined the potential marketplace with one simple statistic…..there are 70 million soccer parents in the U.S. alone! If you’ve ever been to a kids soccer game in November you can appreciate the value of this product. Naturally there are many other potential uses. I couldn’t help but picture a spectator at the (British) Open sitting in one.
Rick sold his first business in 2012 and used the proceeds to launch Under the Weather. Investors love to invest in serial entrepreneurs as it reduces their risk. Rick sells each “tent” for $99 and had sales of $2 million last year, mostly from online sales.
He ended up making a deal with Mark Cuban for $600K for 15% equity. Part of Mark’s deal was an option to buy an additional $600K of equity within the next 12 months. If the business grows like I think it will, the option will surely be exercised.
Best of the Rest……..Cam from SeedSheet has developed a way to quickly plant seeds that are “built into” sheets. He is targeting millennials and new gardeners as potential customers. He had Mark Cuban participate in a hokey demo that broke a “world record” for planting 7000 seeds (14.15 seconds).
Cam’s product is perfect for the gardening segments on QVC, so Lori was extremely interested. They did a deal at $500K for 20% equity. I thought the company valuation of $2.5 million was a bit rich considering he had sold only $156K of product. But with Lori’s help, future hyper growth may justify the valuation. Good deal, Cam.
When Brandon from Apollo Peak started pitching his product……wine for cats, I thought it was a joke. But the deeper he got into the presentation, the more interest he generated. He had sold $192K of his non-alcoholic wine (catnip only!) in just three months. I kept wondering if this is something people buy for laughs (Pinot Meow!) and leave it on the shelf, or if cats really drink this stuff. Will there be any re-orders? Too soon to tell.
The company received multiple offers and Mr. Wonderful ended up making a deal for $100K for 20%
Mylen from Cropsticks was a college professor who taught entrepreneurship. She left her job to go out and start her own company. She developed Cropsticks to be an improvement over the chopsticks used in restaurants today. They are made of bamboo (more sustainable) and had a built-in rest.
I believe it’s not wise to create a product that has to compete with an entrenched, high-volume, inexpensive commodity while selling at a premium price. Mylen’s plan is to charge a premium price because of the product improvements and sustainability angle, but restaurants aren’t likely to bite. I don’t think they will be willing to pay more for these enhancements. Ultimately, Cropsticks will need to improve the customer experience.
OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………….A