Shark Tank recaps are back! I took a brief hiatus when ABC changed the format of their own episode recaps, requiring me to pause every 5 seconds to take even more extensive notes than I already was. But it’s hard to have a blog about loving ideas and not talk about Shark Tank. That, and it gets me great organic long-tail search traffic. So – I’m back!
Pitch #1: Moberi Smoothies
Elevator Pitch: bicycle-powered smoothies
The Entrepreneur(s): Ryan Carpenter
The Ask: $50k for 15% equity
The Deal: no deal
- The first thing out of Kevin’s mouth was – wait for it – an insightful observation! He couldn’t believe that Ryan’s smoothie shop would only make smoothies using people-powered bicycles – no backup blenders in the back! I have to agree.
- Ryan needs to figure out – is he primarily a unique bicycling experience with smoothies as the draw, or primarily a smoothie shop with a unique bicycling experience as the draw? All the Sharks seemed to emphatically love the taste of his smoothies – so why would Ryan choose to artificially limit his production capacity? He even said himself – a majority of his repeat customers just let the store staff do the bicycling.
- Robert said “…the idea might just be crazy enough to work!” Or, perhaps, just crazy.
Pitch #2: Spy Escape & Evasion
Elevator Pitch: spy-themed safety and survival course
The Entrepreneur(s): Jason Hanson
The Ask: $100k for 15% equity
The Deal: Daymond offered $150k for 45%
- A course that teaches people how to be a spy? Uh, brilliant. Everyone loves the world of espionage & intrigue – kids & adults alike.
- Robert, Mark, and Daymond all had different suggestions on how to grow the business.
- Robert – his comment was “Someone takes the course – then what?” Robert envisioned treating Jason’s survival course as a launching pad into capturing the niche market with compelling content, products, and subscription services. I personally love this vision, but perhaps I’m biased from my experience with the 30-Day Challenge.
- Mark – he envisioned scaling down the 2-day course into a compact 4-hour experience to fit the latest trend of “experiences as gifts”. Smart. It’s easier for more people to participate, its simpler to franchise and train instructors, and it keeps operating costs low. Viral marketing is even easy – Groupon, anyone?
- Daymond – he made the worst suggestion of all (and yet somehow ended up with the deal). His comment – before bullying Jason into accepting his offer – was that he envisioned moving this course closer to where moms live. I’m sorry – but moms are just not going to take a spy course, no matter how hard you try to pitch it as “self-defense”. For goodness sakes – Day 2 of Jason’s course has people running through forests trying to evade capture! I’m pretty sure most moms will be okay not preparing for that scenario. Not to mention – your mission, should you choose to accept it – is to find me a mom who has 2 days to spare to learn spy techniques.
- I’m going to offer a 4th perspective. According to Jason, he was weeks away from signing a lease on a huge property in the middle of Utah. It would be his “Espionage Ranch” where he held his courses. The Sharks quickly told him that was a bad idea – but was it? I say skip the ranch – instead, I think an espionage-themed amusement park would be a huge draw for kids & adults! So much so, that if I were Utah I would partner with Jason to create what could be a big tourist draw in a state that doesn’t have much today. Done right, and you can create huge opportunities in the state as new hotels, restaurants, and other services spring up around the anchor tourist attraction.
Pitch #3: DDP Yoga
Elevator Pitch: new style of yoga
The Entrepreneur(s): Diamond Dallas Page (the wrestler) & Steve Yu
The Ask: $200k for 5% equity
The Deal: no deal
- “DDP Yoga ain’t your mama’s yoga!”
- Apparently, these guys are already doing well (in the last year, they made $800k in profit after paying themselves!). I’m not sure why they need $200k from the Sharks, though I’m guessing they want a strategic partner.
- Barbara made an interesting point – yeah they are doing well financially and have a great story behind them (Arthur, the handicapped soldier who defied odds and can now do the splits on live television!). But what if they already had their “viral moment” and peaked?
- Here’s my advice – stop focusing on making a mobile app in order to grow. Instead, their angle should be “making yoga cool for men”. Yoga is heavily female-dominated, yet men are huge spenders when it comes to fitness. DDT Yoga has a pro wrestler as its founder, a retired ex-soldier as its biggest success story, and the financial assets to go after an untapped yet lucrative market segment.
Pitch #4: Southern Culture Artisan Foods
Elevator Pitch: all natural breakfast lifestyle brand
The Entrepreneur(s): Erica Barrett
The Ask: $100k for 25% equity
The Deal: Barbara offered $100k for 38% equity
- Love Erica’s passion! You can tell she knows her market, believes in her product, and has the tenacity to overcome any problem. It’s amazing to see how much success everyday people can have with a business they care about but no real prior experience.
- Big props to Barbara on how she handled this deal. Kevin did his usual “Hail Mary offer” that was completely one-sided and a horrible deal (he wanted an upfront $1 royalty on a product that cost $1 to make – effectively doubling Erica’s costs!). Barbara, on the other hand, understands the advantage of making an offer that appeals to both sides – and it has nothing to do with altruism, and everything to do with aligning incentives and motivating people to give you their best.
Past-Pitch Update: The GameFace Company
Elevator Pitch: easy-to-use face paint alternative for sports fans
The Entrepreneur(s): Doug Marshall
The Deal: Lori and Mark agreed to $450k for 35% equity, a temporary 10% royalty to recoup their investment, and guaranteed Doug a 5-year $80k salary
- I remember watching this episode last year and thinking “This is going to be huge!”. It looks like they grew from $6700 in sales their first month, to $200k in sales in the 6 months right after Shark Tank, to a projected $2M – $20M in sales next year.
- On a side note – if you are “projected to make between $2M – $20M” next year, should we call a spade a spade and just admit you really have no idea?