Pitch #1: Baby’s Badass Burgers
Elevator Pitch: burgers sold by babes
The Ask: $250k for 30% equity
The Deal: no deal
- Ah yes – this business model. <blank> sold by hot babes. The possibilities are endless! Let’s see, what else – carpeting, lumber, cheese, children’s clothing, teapots, domain names – oh wait, GoDaddy already does that. Feel free to add more ideas in the comments!
- The Sharks faulted the entrepreneurs for abandoning a profitable, growing business – their food trucks – for an unproven brick & mortar restaurant. I agree. The entrepreneurs never really explained why a brick & mortar restaurant was better – sure they have experience building restaurants, and maybe there is value there, but all they kept saying was “Having a brick & mortar restaurant is our dream.” You gotta pitch better than that! If they instead said “Look, trucks make money. But I’ve opened X restaurants, and let me tell you why a B&M will be successful vs. trucks for this particular concept.” – maybe they would have had a fighting chance.
Pitch #2: Track Days
Elevator Pitch: action movie about motorcycle racing
The Ask: $5 million for 34% equity
The Deal: no deal
- I guess you can pitch anything in Shark Tank – including a full-length action movie. By the way – the trailer they showed was horrible. Looked like someone animated Microsoft Word’s WordArt.
- I hate it when the Sharks keep interrupting the pitch – it makes it hard to grasp what the actual idea is. In this case, I think the idea (if I’m guessing correctly) is sort of interesting – applying Lean Startup methods to movie making. Basically – validate market viability each step of the way – very early in the movie making process – before committing money to the next stage.
- Ultimately the pitch was too confusing, whether it was the entrepreneurs or the editing. Also, whenever an entrepreneur asks for $5 million and then says “Don’t worry, there’s virtually no risk!” – run. Or call me up, because boy do I have an opportunity for you!
Pitch #3: KaZam Bikes
Elevator Pitch: training bikes without pedals for kids
The Ask: $300k for 20% equity
The Deal: Mark Cuban and Barbara jointly offered $300k for 32% equity
- Pretty cool idea – I’d totally get one for my son! At first I didn’t get why these $100 bikes were better than inexpensive training wheels, but then my wife explained it to me. Training wheels don’t really teach you balance, they teach you how to pedal – learning to balance comes after you take off the training wheels. In comparison, KaZam pedal-less bikes flip this around and teach kids how to balance first (which is arguably the harder of the two skills to master). Apparently, these types of bikes are all the rage in Europe.
- The entrepreneur (Mary Beth Lugo) wanted to capitalize on her bikes’ success and build a normal, KaZam-branded bike for loyal customers. I agree with the Sharks – bad idea! She already identified a unique, growing niche (bikes without pedals) and was becoming one of the market leaders in the US. Why divert resources to compete in the already saturated world of children’s bikes? Just because customers are asking for a product, doesn’t mean it makes business sense for you to build that product. Why not pick an existing, “KaZam-approved” manufacturer of typical kiddie bikes and cross-sell on the KaZam website?
- Barbara’s whole “I’m not sure you have passion, because you appear so calm and collected” statement is bullpoop (note: still not sure if I’m going to swear on this blog, because kiddies love innovation, too!). Mary has made $1.4 million in sales and is quickly becoming the market leader in a new but competitive niche – yeah, I think she’s passionate.
Pitch #4: Pink Shutter Photobooths
Elevator Pitch: spacious, low cost photobooths
The Ask: $300k for 10% equity
The Deal: Barbara offers $300k for 33% and equal salary distribution
- I don’t know – I just didn’t get that excited about this one. Maybe its because I see so many Groupons for photobooths and I still remember talking to a bunch of photobooth companies for my wedding – just seems like a crowded space.
- Their differentiators seem to be lower manufacturing costs and bigger booths (basically, a giant sheet tent instead of a more self-contained unit). The lower manufacturing costs could be interesting (they could offer their service for cheaper and get access to events other than weddings and big parties). But I don’t know – still not convinced. Price as your main differentiator can quickly fade away. How about instead a booth that offers interesting Instagram-like filters, or let’s you post straight to Facebook in realtime?
- Both entrepreneurs had started drawing $100k salaries – some of the Sharks weren’t happy but I see nothing wrong with that. I get that you should continuously invest money back in your business, but if your business is your full-time job you should be able to make a living from it even while you grow it.
Past-Pitch Update: The Spatty
Elevator Pitch: tiny spatulas to get every last drop from bottles and jars
The Deal: no deal
- The miser in me loved this idea when I first saw it on Shark Tank a while back. E.g. when I’m making PB&Js and get to the bottom of the jelly jar, I know I could get another sandwich’s worth out if I just had a tiny spatula. That may sound like I’m joking but I’m not – I pity the fool who likes to waste jelly.
- Apparently, my wife tells me this is a big deal for cosmetics.
- Cheryl (the entrepreneur) didn’t get a deal, but she’s growing the business slowly on her own. She’s made a modest $32k in sales since appearing on Shark Tank, but that’s not bad for starting with just a prototype. Besides, she’s out there doing it – that’s more than most people can say.