Shark Tank episode 11-aired November 12, 2017

Three small deals in this episode. No one stood out as a can’t-miss success.

Steve and James from Reely Hooked Fish Dip certainly had a good time presenting their product to the Sharks. They had a little “fishing dance” that made the Sharks laugh hysterically. Their product was different from other fish dips because it was made primarily from King Mackerel and contained no preservatives.

Mark Cuban laughed the loudest and said he was interested in making an offer. Steve and James continued talking (and selling) and had to be told that once someone says they want to make an offer, it’s time to stop talking.  They ended up getting a deal that called for an investment of $75K for 25% equity. The three did the “King Mackerel dance” together.

Shark Tank

Reely Hooked Fish Dip

Joshua from The Cut Buddy is originally from St. Lucia and recently came to the U.S. with his family. He’s developed a unique hair cutting tool that sells for $14.95. Joshua had sales of $700K last year. He has used social media to grow his business.

What I like about Joshua was he is a man who knows himself and knows his limitations. He stated that he is an inventor, not a knowledgeable businessman. He came to the tank seeking the Sharks business acumen and guidance. He ended up getting a good deal with Daymond…….$300K for 20% equity.

Callie and Kelly from Slumberkins started 18 months ago with $200 and have forecasted sales of $500K for their kids’ plush toys this year!

Callie and Kelly want to expand as quickly as possible and want to get their plush toys into retail channels in addition to selling online. Profit Margins are much lower in retail than they are online, however, and the Sharks questioned the wisdom of this strategy. They felt Callie and Kelly could continue to grow profitably in online channels rather than enter the cut-throat world of plush toys/retail.

Callie and Kelly said they didn’t care about profits, they just wanted to get their plush toys into as many hands as possible. This was their mission, but it didn’t make good business sense to the Sharks. No deal here.

Alexander from Pronto Concepts has invented a product that chills a bottle of white wine in 30 seconds. This is a great product (I might buy one), but I think the price is a bit high at $139 and may have to be reduced to be successful. Alexander got a deal from Mark Cuban of $100K for 25% equity, contingent on Alexander raising an additional $100K from another source.

                              OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE……………………..C

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Shark Tank episode 10-aired November 12, 2017

This episode had it all! Everyday people solving everyday problems, an immigrant Phd with a DNA testing service, a Harvard MBA who is disrupting the lawn care industry using robots, and an educational toy to encourage young girls to become coders.  There was a lot to think about and a lot to learn.

The Update segment was also fascinating. Jamie from Ring (previously named Doorbot) never got a deal from the Sharks when he appeared on the show in 2014. He was one of seven entrepreneurs who got my season ending Sharky Award to entrepreneurs who deserved to get an investment that didn’t (see “The Best and Worst of Shark Tank” blog). Guest Shark Richard Branson must have read my blog because he recently invested in Ring. The latest company valuation is $1 billion!!!! That’s billion with a B……and to think the Sharks didn’t like his $7 million valuation in 2014!!!!

Tom from Grypmat is a private jet mechanic who has developed silicon trays for tools. He’s had sales of $400K in 10 months. The trays cost $29 to $69 and have a margins of $50%. Although he has targeted the aircraft industry as his primary market, the Sharks thought there were many other markets he could penetrate. All five Sharks were interested. Shark Robert asked Tom how he would like to see an offer if two or three Sharks came in together. I loved Tom’s response…..”It depends on which Sharks”.

In the end, Tom chose Mark, Lori, and Sir Richard and asked if they would invest $360K for 30% equity. They quickly said YES! Well done, Tom!

Next up was Olivier from DNA Simple. Olivier seeks DNA samples for various Research Studies and pays donors $50 when their saliva sample is paired with a Research Study at a university, lab, hospital, etc.  He’s at the very early stages of building his donor/study database, but he’s was very impressive and the Sharks were intrigued. He ended up with a deal from Mark calling for a $200K investment for 15% equity.

Justin and Bart from Robin could be the next Doorbot. They didn’t get a deal, but their company has tremendous potential. They currently describe themselves as the “Uber of lawn care” and have sales of $3 million per year. Their next move is to offer a subscription service for grass cutting robots and provide the edging and clean up service customers expect. There are currently a million grass cutting robots in Europe so this isn’t a pie-in-the-sky scheme. Mark Cuban pointed out that this will be an expensive business to get into and scale. He’s right, this is a high risk, high reward opportunity that the Sharks missed.

Sharmi from SmartGurlz has created a “toy” that helps young girls learn how to code. She uses small dolls on a Segway as the vehicle to show the power of computer programming. There is a touch screen language that generates Java Script code that allows the dolls on Segways to go forward, backward, in circles, etc. Sharmi has sold $250K in 6 months.  She sold Daymond on her product and he invested $200K for 25% equity. It’s a very clever product that will have to compete in a very tough industry.

                                 OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………..A   

 

 

 

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Shark Tank episode 9-aired November 5, 2017

In the promo for this episode, Mark Cuban made one of my all-time favorite statements…..”Perfection is the enemy of profitability”. This is something every new entrepreneur needs to know…….if you try to make something perfect, you’ll spend too much time and money trying to reach perfection. At the same time, you’ll be detracting from the ultimate goal of becoming a profitable enterprise.

Alan from BrilliantPad was the first into the tank and did a very good job convincing the Sharks that his company was investable even with very light sales numbers. His product automatically rolls up dog “pee/poop pads” in such a way that their is very little odor.

He had only sold $100K of his product in 30 days on Indigogo. So how did he convince Shark Lori to invest/loan him half a million dollars? First, Alan was the inventor of the self-cleaning litterbox, so he has a track record in the industry. Second, people will pay almost anything for pet related products. Third, this product would be ideal for infomercials…..one of Lori’s specialties.

The deal calls for Alan to pay Lori $5/unit sold until she recoups her $500K. She will retain a 2.5% equity stake in the company. This wins the Best Deal of the Episode Award.

Shark Tank

BrilliantPad

Next up were Hector and Maria from Bravo. This husband and wife team, originally from Puerto Rico, has an amazing backround. Hector is an MD who does liver transplants and is COO of Bravo. Maria is a force of nature who is 100% committed to the business. She has an MBA and started her career with Nabisco.

They have created a mobile app that facilitates tipping (gratuities) when you don’t have cash. They started their business in Arizona and claim they have 25% market share. They charge a fee of 2%. They ended up getting an investment of $150K from Mark and Lori for 10% equity plus 4% advisory shares.

Twins Donte and Dominic from Hoopmaps developed a fun mobile app that allows people to locate pick-up basketball games. Despite the fact that they have 10K active users, none of them have upgraded to the premium subscription which costs $100 per year. Alas, no deal for the twins, but they did get to play 2 on 2 with Arod and Mark Cuban!

Krista from Glove Stix and Shoe Stix has developed a patented product that absorbs and eliminates odors. Krista had sold $506K over 18 months. She placed a valuation on her business of $1.5 million….a good starting point. That got cut in half when Lori and Arod teamed up to invest $150K for 20% equity.

                             OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE………….B  

 

 

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Shark Tank episode 8-aired November 6, 2017

Three small deals got done in this amusing episode. A big potential deal didn’t get done because of an inflated valuation. More on that later.

First the three little deals.

Jennifer and Gita from No Mo-Stache has developed a discreet mustache waxing strip for women. Initially guest Shark Bethenny Frankel called it a gimmick but then did some “thinking out loud” and saw this as a component of a Skinny Girl kit for women. (I learned that Bethenny sold her rights to a company that distributes her Skinny Girl Vodka and other alcoholic beverages, but she retains the rights to any other Skinny Girl product).

Shark Lori then teamed up and with Bethenny and expanded the vision to include a No Mo brand of women’s products (including nipple covers).  These two made a $100K offer and it was quickly accepted.

(Gita used an epic mixed metaphor in her pitch…..”We’re pushing the pedal to the metal to not have all our eggs in one basket”).

Mike and Amy from SnoofyBee have created a patent pending “unique portable baby changing table-type product” that has generated $700K in sales over two years. Lori won the bidding at $125K for 20% equity. They had previously raised $120K on Kickstarter.

Jenni-Lyn from Snarky Tea is targeting women tea drinkers for her teas. I think she’s picked a terrible company/brand name (Snarky??!!). However, it did draw the snarkiest  of the Sharks, Mr. Wonderful and Bethenny, who will invest $150K for 50% equity. These three will be perfect together.

The entrepreneur and the company with the most potential was Randall from Dreampad. He had invented a pillow that plays music (10 different songs using vibration) generated by an app and paired with a smartphone. This makes it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep. The Sharks all liked the product.

Randall is forecasting sales of $1.2 million this year. He sells the pillow for $159 each. If this helps stop or reduce tinnitus (ringing of the ears), he could sell millions…… starting with me.

Randall came into the tank asking for $800K for 10% equity. That translates to a company valuation of $8 million which was quite a bit on the high side and turned the Sharks off. A more reasonable valuation might have been 2X to 3X this years forecasted sales or $2.4 to $3.6 million. Randall eventually lowered his valuation to a little over $5 million, but it was too late. No deal.

I couldn’t help but think this would be a great product for the “My Pillow” guy. He’s been selling his pillows using infomercials and TV advertising very successfully for years. Randall should give him a call! This would be a great specialty/premium product for the “My Pillow” guy.

                         OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………C+ 

 

 

 

 

 

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Shark Tank episode 7-aired October 29, 2017

This episode featured guest Shark Chris Sacca and was a big improvement over the previous episode. Both episodes airing tonite shared the evening with game 5 of the World Series (one of the most exciting games ever). This episode had much more of a “high-tech” emphasis and held my interest much more than episode 6 (although I did sneak a few peeks at the World Series).

First up was Isaac and Zoli from WaiveCar. They had a very clever business model that was similar to ZipCar except it allowed customers to drive their cars up to two hours for free. The difference is that the car has vinyl wrap advertising on it along with a cool message board on the roof.

The Sharks were concerned that someone (like Uber) could easily duplicate their business model. Chris Sacca  pointed out that they were an integrator that didn’t control “any leg of the stool”. Despite the mixed metaphor, Mr. Wonderful agreed to loan them $500K at 12% for a 2% kicker (equity). As a fan of Uber, I will be interested to see where this one goes.

Desiree from Pearachute, was a fast talking serial entrepreneur. She had developed an app which allowed parents to book their kids in local classes/activities in the Chicago area. Her premise was that millennials would rather experience activities with their kids than have things for themselves (as a father of a 30 year old, I haven’t seen this yet). Desiree grew up with a single Mom and went to Yale. She was taught to work hard in order to succeed. She ended up getting a deal with Mark Cuban for $500K for 15% of her business. The fact that her expansion plan called for Dallas to be her next target market was a fortuitous coincidence as Mark lives in Dallas and owns the Dallas NBA franchise.

Next up were Michael and Dakota from Geo Orbital. They have developed a conversion kit that converts any bicycle to an electric bike. They also have created a “mini-bike” which is electric which the Sharks agreed has more business potential in the long run. The current retrofit conversion wheel is very cool and is easy to install, but costs $950. The Sharks all thought this cost was too high and passed on this opportunity.

Jeff from Qeepsake created a text messaging baby journal which will have the capability to generate a hard copy baby photo album. So far they’ve generated $255K in sales in 4 months.  Jeff received  an offer from Mr. Wonderful and Chris Sacca but turned them both down. I think this guy is a real talent and this may be a missed opportunity for the Sharks.

                            OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………….B 

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Shark Tank episode 6-aired October 29, 2017

Whenever the stock market gets hot, the number of questionable deals on Shark Tank tends to increase. This episode was a prime example of that trend……too much money chasing too few quality deals.

The lesson to be learned here is that when seeking an investment in an entrepreneurial startup, timing is everything. When capital is plentiful, deals get made. When the market is heading south, very few new investments in start-ups are made.

This was a very weak group of start-ups. Despite the line-up, three deals got made.

Matt and Melissa from Novel Effect have created an app that has added sound effects to 75 kids’ books. Novel Effect is a pre-revenue company (zero sales) that is going to rely on placing their stickers on the covers of books to generate sales. They would like to license their platform to authors and book publishers. Mark Cuban told them, “That’s not going to work”.

Inexplicably, Shark Lori made an offer of $500K for 15% of the company. Naturally it was quickly accepted. Lori said she loved the idea, but had no idea what her role would be. She said that she just wanted to to be along for the ride. The only rationale for this deal was that Lori wanted to have access to her own patent attorney. Matt just happens to be a patent attorney.

Andrew from Father Figure had created shirts specifically for new Dads. The idea was to fully equip and protect Dads who feed and burp their babies. What ever happened to putting a towel on your shoulder? No deal here.

Jennifer and Gifford from Drainwig sell a little chain-like device that is designed to prevent drain clogs in bathtubs, showers, and sinks. They previously made a 5 year deal with an infomercial company that called for them getting a tiny royalty. The gross sales during that time were $14.2 million of which only $800K was paid to Jennifer and Gifford. After paying back an early investor and paying Uncle Sam, they were left with very little. They had made a VERY BAD deal.

Mr. Wonderful to the rescue! In a first ever “reverse licensing” deal, he will attempt to get them out of their bad deal. Even with his deal-making and legal prowess, I don’t think this will be easy to do. Mr. Wonderful also agreed to invest $300K for 15% of the company.

Former NFL player Nate and Tom from Brazin developed a patent pending portable foam roller and were forecasting $2.4 million in sales this year. Despite serving a small niche market (gyms and crossfit), Lori and guest Shark Sarah Blakely, inventor of Spanx, did a deal calling for $225K for 20% equity. Given their combined talents, this could work.

OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………….C-

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Shark Tank episode 5-aired October 22, 2017

This was an amusing episode featuring four small companies who ended up getting three deals.

First into the Tank was Eric and Steven from Ash & Anvil who sell “shirts for shorter guys'”. There were a couple of problems with their plan. As they pointed out, one out of every three men in the US are 5’8″ or smaller. This makes for a large potential market (over 40 million men), but how are you going to find them? Unless there is a National Directory of Vertically Challenged Men, I don’t know how you market to them.

Second, there is already a company with national advertising called UntuckIt, that sells similar shirts to all sized men. They will be a very tough competitor. However, none of the Sharks asked about the competition and Mark Cuban made a deal with Eric and Steve for $150K for 25% equity.

Second into the Tank, were Sean and Ryan from Mirmir, a company that takes studio quality photographs in photo booths at weddings and other celebrations. These two are very talented and gave a nice pitch and demonstration of their product. But my experience is that by the time wedding attendees go to the photo booths, they’re three sheets to the wind, are wearing funny disguises, and don’t really care about the quality of the photo.

Shark Robert Herjavec ended up making a $700K investment for 20% equity. PS….Robert had just used them at his recent wedding. Just saying.

Third up, Derrek from Kwik-hang had an easy to install curtain rod brackets that only take two taps on each side to install. He gave a great demo that showed how easy his product was to use. His father started the business but had recently passed away. He had secured four patents on his product. Derrek wanted to continue the business to pay tribute to his Dad, but had very low sales ($42K last year). The Sharks loved his passion but no offers. I’m surprised Mr. Wonderful didn’t make his standard license deal pitch and let a large company do the manufacturing and distribution.

Finally, Justin and Doug from Human Bobber showed their “personal flotation device”. They sell them for $65 to $90 each. It seemed to me that they would be competing with many flotation products that have wide distribution today. Despite that, Mr. Wonderful shocked me by making a deal for $120K for 33% of the company. What’s he up to?

Mark Cuban made a very clever move by offering the use of his Amazon page in return for 10% of the company for ZERO financial investment. Justin and Doug basically gave away 10% of their company for use of Mark Cuban’s name and Amazon page.

OVERALL RATING OF THIS EPISODE…………B- 

 

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