- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
Friday night’s episode of ABC’s Shark Tank featured four businesses looking to try their hand at convincing the savvy Sharks to invest in their companies.
First up to the tank was Thomas Hill, an ex-NFL football player from Arizona with a business aimed to fight childhood obesity. His company, “Bounce Boot Camp,” features a fitness program for kids that use inflatable bouncy castles to create fun-filled, calorie-burning obstacle courses. Thomas is seeking 30K for 20% equity in his company. His pitch explains that his idea would be a way for kids to have fun while getting fit.
Investors Mark Cuban, Daymond John and Robert Herjavec are eager to try out the obstacle course first-hand. They have an absolute ball, smiling from ear-to-ear after completing the course. But now it was time to get down to business.
Investors want to know how long the class is, where the courses can be set up, and of course, what are his sales? Thomas explains that the classes are 60 minutes long, and that the courses could be set up in a variety of areas such as schools, playgrounds, and carnivals. However, when Thomas announces that his total sales in 16 months are a meager 43K, investors begin to worry.
Thomas is only spending one day a week with his business, while serving as a full-time pharmaceutical sales rep the rest of the week. Mark Cuban loves the idea, but feels that Thomas isn’t ready to fully commit to the business. Lori Greiner says the idea is clever, but would like to see a more solid business model before she would invest. Kevin O’ Leary (or Mr. Wonderful) believes that there is nothing proprietary about the business, and that anyone could do it. Sounds familiar, right?
In a last ditch effort, Thomas tries to persuade Robert to believe in him and his idea. However, Robert respectfully declines. Daymond feels that the cause for Thomas’ business is noble, but doesn’t believe the business works at this time. Thomas did not receive any offers for Bounce Boot Camp.
Next up was Jim, a forensic pathologist with an innovative way to fix holes in walls with his unique product. His business is aptly named, “The Wall Doctor RX.” His product makes repairing holes in drywall mess-free, and involves no prep work, tools or skills. He demonstrates his product to the Sharks and they seem very impressed. Simply a clear adhesive disk is applied over the hole, and an adhesive patch with a special compound goes over the disk and wala! In 24-48 hours, the hole is covered in spackle and simply needs to be sanded.
Jim is seeking 150K for a 10% equity stake in his business. In 3 years of being in business, he has sold 80,000 units, with gross sales of $600,000.
Robert immediately offers 150K for no equity, but wants exclusive international rights to the product. Mr. Wonderful jumps into the mix and offers 150K for 15% equity, but with a contingency clause. He wants to license the technology to a global company with distribution and manufacturing. Daymond offers 300K for 15% of the business, but wants to outsource manufacturing. Lori offers 300K for 20% and wants to take the product straight to QVC and infomercials. Doesn’t she always?
Jim is fortunate to receive four reasonable offers from the Sharks. He must now make a decision.
After giving it some thought, he counters by asking if Robert and Lori would go in on a deal together. Lori is reluctant to do so, saying that it would not be a smart business decision on her part. So Jim accepts Robert’s deal.
But it’s not that easy in the tank.
Since Jim countered, Robert says, “hold on.” His original offer may not stand now that Jim decided to counter-offer. After making Jim sweat it out, Robert eventually agrees to his original terms and they have a deal. Jim gets 150K with no equity lost in The Wall Doctor RX, but Robert gains exclusive international rights to the product.
Before a commercial break, there is an update from a business that appeared in Season 4 called “Nuts ‘N More.” Three guys from Rhode Island created a high protein peanut butter in which Robert invested. Seven months after their appearance on Shark Tank, they have exceed $1 million in sales. Their product was featured in 32 stores before the show, and is now in over 600 stores nationwide. They are projected to make a whopping 5-6 million dollars within the next year.
C.J. Isakow from Washington D.C. is next into the tank with his business “Eyebloc.” C.J. is seeking 50K for a 10% stake in his company. He starts his pitch by explaining that Americans are being watched and that hackers can take over your webcams and watch you. His product is a “privacy shield” that covers the webcam on a computer or tablet. It’s merely a small, triangular-shaped piece of rubber that slides on top of the device to cover the webcam. The Sharks don’t seem very impressed.
The Sharks ask about his sales, and his response draws some laughs: 45 total units in 2 months. He says he is averaging 1 sale a day. More chuckling ensues when C.J. tells the Sharks that he sells them for $9.99 apiece.
Lori believes the price is way too high, and that his product should only be $1. She’s out. Robert, being in IT security, believes there is a market for privacy protection, but that Eyebloc is not the solution. The remaining three investors follow suit and go out. Kevin believes the product is “absolute crap on a stick.” C.J. does not receive any offers.
The fourth and final business “Groovebook” is last, but certainly not least. Husband and wife Brian and Julie pitch their idea of a creative and affordable photobook that people can create using their cell phones photos. They are asking for 150K for 20% equity in their business.
For only $2.99 a month, the Groovebook app allows users to choose 100 photos that can be made into a photobook. 4x6 photos are bound into a charming photo album, and sent to the customer without any additional shipping fees.
Their proprietary groove created in the binding allows the photo book to bend and be flexible, which saves immensely on shipping charges. The cost to ship is only 82 cents, opposed to the $2-3 it would cost without the groove binding. Their pitch explains that their method saves customers time spent going to a store to print photos, and ink from their printers.
Lori believes the price is great, and wonders how much it costs Brian and Julie to make a photo album. Brian explains that it costs $2.30 to make book, so they’re only profiting 70 cents off of each unit. The Sharks are delighted to hear that Groovebook has recruited 18,000 paid subscribers in last 8 months.
Mark is the first Shark to show interest, and offers 150K for the rights to license Groovebook as a service to other popular photo sharing companies like Shutterfly and Flickr.
Robert thinks the idea is phenomenal, but is worried about the commercial printing business having issues. He goes out and Daymond follows suit.
Mr. Wonderful wants the entire business for himself, and offers 750K for 100% of business. This offer seems reasonable considering Brian and Julie valued their company at 750K with their initial offer of 150K for 20% of their business. However, Brian then reveals that he and Julie believe the company is worth 6 million dollars! The Sharks are dumbfounded at this evaluation and needless to say, Kevin refuses Brian’s counter-offer.
Mark and Kevin then step away from their seats and discuss terms on working together. Meanwhile, Lori and Robert decide to join forces and offer 375K for 50% of the business. They try to convince Brian and Julie why this would be a smart move for them.
Mark and Kevin return with an intriguing offer: 150K for 80% of the rights to license as a service to other companies. Each Shark would get 40% equity while Julie and Brian would keep 20% of their business. Brian and Julie accept their deal, and will now work with Kevin and Mark to grow their business.
Tune in to ABC this Friday, January 17th at 9PM ET to see who will test the waters on an all-new Shark Tank.
Photo Courtesy of ABC