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- 09/25/15--06:19: Robert Herjavec on Ashton Kutcher's ‘Shark Tank' debut
- 09/26/15--11:34: Ashton Kutcher nailed his 'Shark Tank' debut
- 09/28/15--10:27: Ashton Kutcher explains his 3 rules of investing
- 10/01/15--12:11: I turned down 3 offers on 'Shark Tank' — here's what I learned
- 10/06/15--03:14: What 'Shark Tank' costar Daymond John learned from losing $6 million
- 10/17/15--09:04: Mark Cuban just made a $300,000 investment in wipes for guys’ butts
- 10/18/15--19:31: 'Shark Tank' star Daymond John on the advantages of being broke
- Daymond John: $1 million for 25%.
- Kevin O'Leary: $1 million for 25%, with the benefit of someone who's been deeply researching the drone industry lately.
- Lori Greiner: $1 million for 20%.
- O'Leary: $1 million for 20%.
- Robert Herjavec: Also interested. Maybe we can work out a group deal.
- John: Let's do it among the four of us. A "big moneybag vulture"— Cuban — is waiting for us to offer a deal before he bests it and seals a deal.
- Manning: We thought about a situation like this and decided we'd love to have all five of you invest as a syndicate.
- John, O'Leary, Herjavec, Greiner: We're in. What's your offer?
- Claridge: Invest at a valuation of $10 million.
- John: Up from a valuation of $2 million? "I smell greedy people now." I'm setting a ceiling at a $6 million valuation.
- O'Leary: I'm setting a ceiling at 5% equity per investor.
- Mark Cuban: I might be interested, but won't confirm until I hear their final offer.
In early 2013, Power Practical’s cofounder Caleb Light received a surprise email from the producer of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
The producer had come across Power Practical’s 2012 Kickstarter project called, “PowerPot,” and wanted his team to pitch the product on the show.
"We were like, ‘Holy hell, are you serious?” Light told us. “We were kind of skeptical that we would make it through and actually air because the possibility of that happening is insanely low.”
Two months later, Light’s team flew down to LA to film the show. Power Practical, founded in 2012, had already made over $500,000 at that point with PowerPot, a camping cooking pot that can generate electricity with boiling water. Light asked for $250,000 in exchange of 10% of his company, valuing Power Practical at $2.5 million.
But the investors, or the “Sharks,” weren’t so impressed. They said the market was too small and the product was just not that interesting. All the sharks ended up dropping out, leaving only Mark Cuban as Light’s last chance.
Cuban asked for 20% of the company at $250,000, cutting the company’s value in half. Light didn’t bulge. Instead, he countered with 12% of the company, on top of a board seat and 3% share from the advisor options pool, essentially diluting less of the company.
“We got a deal,” Cuban said, walking up to Light and his cofounder David Toledo.
Since then, Cuban has worked closely with Power Practical, sitting on its board and helping create a growing business that Light says is generating millions in revenue now. Its latest product, a portable USB lighting product called Luminoodle, has raised more than $125,000 in less than a week on Kickstarter.
You can watch Power Practical on "Shark Tank" below. Its segment starts at the 8:38 mark:
The Shark Tank experience
Light said what makes “Shark Tank” so interesting is that the whole process of pitching and closing a deal is in reverse order.
Typically, a startup would meet with investors multiple times before getting the actual term sheet, and the investors would get to do due diligence along the way. In “Shark Tank,” however, you set the terms of the deal first — and then do the diligence process after that.
“People go on the show thinking you make the deal, then you walk away and get the money immediately,” Light said. “Whereas you actually go in there, do the deal, and then they kind of do a bunch of fact-checking, looking at your financials, product development, and then the deal closes or not based on the diligence that happens post-the pitch.”
In fact, Light said he was only able to close the deal with Cuban six months after filming the show. The show itself didn’t even air until almost a year later, in the spring of 2014.
“It makes it much more challenging in the Tank because you have one opportunity. The purpose of the meeting is to get the deal done so you can progress to the diligence process,” he said.
But going on the show pays off in different ways as well. It’s a massive publicity event and could instantly boost your sales, as it did with Power Practical, too.
“We at least tripled our sales since going on the show,” Light said.
The Mark Cuban Company
Light says the best part about working with Cuban isn’t just about the knowledge and feedback you get from him.
It’s the access to his entire team that’s comprised of accountants, designers, and product managers, which is helpful to a lot of his portfolio companies that tend to be early startups. Also, portfolio companies get to talk to each other, and help in certain areas when possible.
“We give weekly updates and talk to the team multiple times a week. But the greatest thing about the Mark Cuban Company is they facilitate conversations with multiple [portfolio] companies, creating this open communication channel that helps these people to grow together,” he said.
Power Practical has launched five Kickstarter projects so far, which generated roughly $700,000 in crowd funding in total. Its latest one, a portable LED light stick, is already showing signs of a big hit. Other Power Practical products are also available online or even at big box retail stores like Staples, Sam’s Club, and Brookstone.
So what does it all mean to go on Shark Tank, have Mark Cuban as a board member, and consistently churn out hot-selling outdoor products? Light says it's just a validation of his hard work.
"To go and tell our story, and be compelling enough to have someone like Mark, who's a billionaire, to be like, 'I want to back you guys and give you money, and try to help you be successful' — that’s a validation of all that blood, sweat, and tears have paid off at some point," Light said. "Not that it's our goal, but it’s kind of a means to achieving a larger goal of being a startup."
In 1973, Barbara Corcoran was a 22-year-old diner waitress from New Jersey with about 20 jobs under her belt. She borrowed $1,000 to start a real-estate company, selling apartments in Manhattan.
In the intervening years, Corcoran grew her tiny startup, The Corcoran Group, into a $5 billion real-estate empire, selling the business for $66 million in 2001.
We know her now as one of the savvy, high-powered investors on the hit ABC series "Shark Tank." But her tenure on the show almost didn't happen.
She had her contract in hand and was ready to get on a plane to California to start filming when she was told that the production team had decided to hire someone else. Undeterred, she wrote to executive producer Mark Burnett to let him know that she didn't view his dismissal as a failure, but rather a prelude to greater success. And the rest is history.
In the six years that "Shark Tank" has been on the air, she has invested in more than 30 companies. Last year, she launched Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, which gives people the chance to invest in businesses alongside the real-estate mogul. Corcoran is also a bestselling author, a motivational speaker and the real-estate contributor for "The Today Show."
We caught up with Corcoran to talk about the value of quick decision making, approaching opportunities and obstacles with the same confidence and turning rejection into fuel for motivation.
Q: Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first starting out?
A: I started my first business at the ripe old age of 22 because the boyfriend I met at the diner [where I worked as a waitress] told me I'd be great in real-estate sales. I liked my job fine but was ready for a change, so I quit my waitress job that day and got a job renting apartments in the big city. Turned out I liked the job and the city way more than I liked New Jersey.
I felt that I had the lucky break of a lifetime when the same boyfriend offered to loan me $1,000 to start my own brokerage business. I took the $1,000 and he took 51 percent of the stock and together we built a small company 14 men strong. He announced he was marrying my secretary 7 years later and sent my confidence in a tailspin I didn't pull out of for a full year. She was younger and prettier than me.
Here's what I wish I knew then that I know now. Building a business is little more than a series of quick opportunities followed by a big a series of big obstacles. The opportunities arrive and leave so quickly that they're way too easy to miss. If I hadn't quit my job on a stranger's suggestion the moment I heard it, I would have probably thought about it and not done it. Every great decision I've made in business since was made exactly that way — quickly without any thought. I've learned that thought gets in the way.
Related:Shark Tank's Barbara Corcoran: 4 Things Successful Entrepreneurs Do
Q: What do you think would have happened had you known this back then?
A: Obstacles move in and park themselves on your chest. They're there to kill your spirit and take your confidence, and you need to spot them coming through the door and shoot them [and] not let them hang out. I didn't know that back then and could have easily lost my business.
When my boyfriend left me, I gave it way too much thought, and as I analyzed what went wrong, what I lacked, how the business would not survive and what people would think, I lost my confidence. There were solutions all around as there always are, but I couldn't see them. I've since learned that you need to treat obstacles just like opportunity -- quickly without much thought and move on.
Q: What's one of the most valuable lessons you've learned in your career?
A: Six years ago a producer asked if I might want to invest my own money in businesses on a new TV show they were trying called "Shark Tank." I agreed immediately and got the spot after great effort. When the contract finally arrived, I signed it without reading it. I bought three new outfits, packed my bags and booked my flight for Hollywood.
When the producer called to announce they had hired someone else and they were sorry, I was devastated. But I had long ago learned how to move past obstacles fast instead of feeling sorry for myself and emailed the producer. I said that all the best things happened to me on the heels of rejection and I considered his rejection a lucky charm. I cited half dozen similar situations throughout my career where obstacles turned into my greatest opportunities and asked to come and compete for the job. Since then, I've enjoyed six great years on one of the most successful shows on TV.
"Shark Tank" co-star and Small Business Revolution spokesman Robert Herjavec gave us his assessment of Ashton Kutcher's debut appearance on the season premiere. In addition to acting, Kutcher also runs the media company A+.
To learn more about Small Business Revolution, visit them online.
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"Shark Tank" fans who know 37-year-old Ashton Kutcher from his comedic roles in films and sitcoms may have expected his appearance as a guest Shark on Friday's episode to be strictly for entertainment value.
But after watching the seventh season's premiere, they'd see he's a formidable investor.
Kutcher made a deal, imparted valuable insight to entrepreneurs, and even sparred with Kevin O'Leary.
We recently spoke with "Shark Tank" mainstay Robert Herjavec, who said he found Kutcher's time on set earlier this year to be very impressive.
"It was interesting," Herjavec said. "He came on and he filmed for the day. ... After the first pitch he looked at the rest of us and went, 'Whoa, what just happened?' But to his credit, by the third pitch, he was right in there. He's a very savvy business guy."
Kutcher explained in an article for his website A Plus that it was his friend, the outspoken Shark Mark Cuban, who convinced him to audition for a guest role this season. He was initially reluctant, wondering if he'd be able to add value to investors outside of his expertise in consumer-tech startups, and he had reservations about how authentic the deal-making would be. Cuban convinced him it was not only real but that he could introduce some of his fans to a new side of him.
Kutcher has been involved in business ventures since starting his production company, Katalyst, in 2003, and has been an investor through his venture capital firm A-Grade Investments and as an angel before that. He's made successful seed round and Series A investments in companies like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Soundcloud. His mentor has been the prominent Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway.
And while he hasn't previously invested in companies similar to those on "Shark Tank," Kutcher did go in on a deal with Lori Greiner for a product in a radically different space.
He and Greiner agreed to split a $200,000 investment for 15% each of Beebo, a shoulder strap that holds a baby bottle for optimal bottle-feeding. Kutcher and Greiner decided that Greiner could use her expertise to improve packaging and presentation, and Kutcher could use his name recognition, massive social-media outreach, and role as a new dad to get Beebo the customers it needs.
As Herjavec explained, Kutcher may have started a bit hesitant in the Tank, but after warming up, not even O'Leary's attacks fazed him. When O'Leary began dismissing the merit of entrepreneur Jess McClary's McClary Bros. drinking vinegars company and her ability to grow it, Kutcher stopped him to say, "You're belittling people, and that's not OK!" and made him stop talking so that he could speak.
And even though Kutcher, like O'Leary, was not interested in making an investment in McClary Bros., he used his time to explain to her how she has a great opportunity to expand beyond the world of cocktails into the health market with her products.
"Part of being [on 'Shark Tank'] is being able to have fun and being able to go after each other and at the end of it going 'it's just business,'"Kutcher told A Plus. "That being said, there are definitely times where you feel like you got burned, and you just gotta big boy up after that."
Ashton Kutcher built a fan base as a goofball character in sitcoms and movies, but he has been seriously focused on his investments over the past several years.
It's why his friend Mark Cuban, one of the regular investors on the show "Shark Tank," invited Kutcher to try out for a guest-investor role in the show's seventh season, which began Friday. After getting accustomed to the format, Kutcher dived right in, making a deal, offering entrepreneurs valuable insight, and even sparring with the brashest of the show's investors, Kevin O'Leary.
Rather than begin investing on a whim, Kutcher reached out to prominent Silicon Valley angel investor Ron Conway, who became his mentor in the late aughts.
Since 2010, Kutcher has been an investor through his venture-capital firm A-Grade Investments, which he founded with the entrepreneurs and investors Guy Oseary and Ronald Burke. He was an angel investor before that. He also connected with Marc Andreessen, one of the Valley's premier investors, and Andreessen wisely persuaded him to invest in Skype in 2009.
He has invested in seed and Series-A rounds for companies including Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, and Casper.
In an interview for his website A-Plus, Kutcher said he had three rules of investing, which are focused on what he sees in entrepreneurs:
1. They must intimately understand both their product and their industry.
Great ideas on their own are not sufficient.
2. They must have a personality that will allow them to withstand failure and setbacks.
"You can have the best idea in the world and absolute domain expertise and know how to do everything right, but if you want to do something great in the world, there are going to be obstacles; and you have to be a person who has ingenuity and sheer willpower to get through those times," he said.
3. They must get along well with him.
He's not willing to make a commitment of millions of dollars and years of being an adviser to someone he doesn't want to hang out with.
Kutcher told The Telegraph in 2013 that he was drawn to consumer technologies. "The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness," he said. "If you find a way to help people find love, or health, or friendship, the dollar will chase that."
Hundreds of businesses have now been featured on the hit reality show "Shark Tank." Some have survived the tank; others have been eaten.
The survivors either left with a deal or left confident in their decision to turn down any offers presented.
The businesses who get eaten often walk out without an offer or lose sleep at night after taking the wrong deal.
My company, The Home T, was recently featured on the show. The sharks were as intense as ever, and I ended up receiving offers from Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner, and Daymond John.
It was great to receive offers, but I eventually declined all three because I felt that none of them appropriately valued my company. I walked out without a deal.
Turning down three individuals who have made enormous fortunes is no easy task, and the experience as a whole will challenge even the best small-business owner.
Here are three tips that helped us survive "Shark Tank" and not get eaten alive:
1. Know your numbers
The Sharks are masterful financial tacticians. They use their supreme command of business finances to either decide your company isn't worthy of an investment or try to get the best possible deal they can on a company they think has value.
The only way to go toe to toe with experienced predators in the tank is to know your numbers. You don't have to be an accountant or a financial adviser, but knowing the ins and outs of revenue, costs, customer acquisition, and other relevant metrics is the key to staying alive.
2. Manage (or at least try to manage) the sharks
When you see "Shark Tank" on TV it's nicely edited so viewers can digest what they are seeing and hearing. In reality, the entrepreneur is getting hit with questions left and right, and sometimes they get asked multiple questions at once. When this happens it is so easy to get thrown off track.
You have to listen to the questions and, in some cases, quickly select the questions that follow the story you want to convey. If you don't manage the Sharks, and their questions, you'll quickly find yourself off track and leaving out major parts of your story.
3. Don't be scared to push back
Confidence is important. No, I do not mean you should be overly rude, though my "you're not in the circle" comment to Kevin may have been right on the line. When someone says something you are certain isn't true or disagree with, it's OK to speak up for yourself.
For instance, John kept questioning whether I was truly there for a deal, and after several mentions I finally said: "I don't know how else to say it. I'm here for a deal." Sharks don't have feet, so don't let them walk all over you.
Ultimately, every business' experience in the tank will be unique and there isn't a one-size-fits-all strategy for staying alive on the show. But knowing your numbers, (trying to) manage the sharks, and being confident enough to push back when needed gave me a fighting chance.
Ryan Shell lives in New York City and is the CEO and founder of The Home T. He is an avid cycler, amateur photographer and is dedicated to raising money and awareness for multiple sclerosis research.
Entrepreneurs crying on "Shark Tank" is nothing new. And whether the tears are spilled over the heightened emotion of being in such a high-stakes environment or the retelling of a moving story, they make for great television — but not for great deal-making.
In the latest episode of the seventh season, investor Barbara Corcoran told Mikki Bey Eyelash Extensions founder and CEO Mikki Bey that her crying was going to get her in trouble as a woman. In making her case for how passionate she was about her company, Bey started sobbing.
"I love the emotion, but you've got to give up this crying stuff," Corcoran told her. "The minute a woman cries, you're giving away your power. You have to cry privately."
Bey countered by saying she thinks it takes "a type of strength to show this vulnerability."
"No, no, no," Corcoran said. "Not in business. I'm sorry — not in business. I have hired men, women my whole life. When I get a woman who's crying, I re-file her in my head in terms of potential because I don't trust her in terms of keeping a cap on her emotion."
The only other female Shark, Lori Greiner, defended Bey, saying that Bey was caught in the moment and being genuine, which she appreciated. After Bey left the Tank, Kevin O'Leary added, "Don't cry for money. It never cries for you."
Last season, Corcoran invested in the founders of Scratch & Grain Baking Co., who she said cried for 30 minutes on the set after one of the founders told the story of her difficult childhood. Corcoran insisted that it was an anomaly, however, and that she made an exception because the business interested her enough.
Corcoran told us that as she built the Corcoran Group into one of New York's premier real estate firms earlier in her career, she learned how to stand out in a male-dominated industry.
"I could usually manipulate a man much more easily than I could a woman, because they're more vulnerable to manipulation from a female," she said. "They're not expecting it."
It's why she told Bey that, even though she doesn't want to see anyone cry in a pitch because she finds it embarrassing, she thinks that women need to be especially careful due to lingering gender biases.
After the pitch, Bey said she disagreed with Corcoran because she was being her true self when she cried. "I left it all out there," she said.
"Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary cares most about making money, and that starts with getting customers to open their wallets.
Last weekend, ABC aired a 20/20 special in which O'Leary (a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderful") taught aspiring entrepreneurs the tricks of the trade.
Three college seniors were selected to hit the New York City streets and sell "Wicked Good Cupcakes," a product that recently secured funding on "Shark Tank."
Before they set off, O'Leary schooled them on his five most important principles of effective salesmanship:
1. Walk the walk.
"Good salesmen and [sales]women understand it's their destiny to be a salesperson and to be great," O'Leary said. "It has to be there, all the time, 24/7, no chink in that argument."
2. Feel the love.
"You have to love the product you're selling," he said. "You have to have an emotional bond to it. It has to be oozing from every pore: This is the greatest product you have ever sold."
3. Make the perfect pitch.
"Don't dribble on; capture your audience immediately," O'Leary counseled. "Communicate your vision for why the product belongs in their hands — that's the perfect pitch."
4. Be kind, not nice.
"I don't trust nice people. I don't believe that someone can be nice all the time," he said. "Every product has its merits and its downsides. Don't lie about a product as if there are no problems at all. Create that bond, trust. That's paramount."
5. Be sticky, not gummy.
"Gummy people just keep going after the sale and wasting everybody's time," O'Leary said. "You have to make a decision, whether they're ultimately gonna' buy from you or not. As soon as you understand that they're not, don't waste your time. Cut them loose."
O'Leary speaks from experience: He launched SoftKey Software Products from his basement, eventually acquiring The Learning Company and selling to the Mattel Toy Company for $4.2 billion in 1999. In 2008 he founded a mutual fund company, O'Leary Funds.
As O'Leary told his pupils, if your pitch isn't working, you've got to go back to the five principles of effective salesmanship and figure out which one you're not using. "Because if you're doing all of these, it works 100% of the time."
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The new season of reality pitch show "Shark Tank" is chock full of celebrity guest investors, from actor Ashton Kutcher's debut on the season premiere to music-industry big shot Troy Carter, who will appear on Friday night's episode.
Carter has spent most of his career behind the scenes. He's managed artists like John Legend, Meghan Trainor, and Lady Gaga through his agency Atom Factory.
In 2011, a friend introduced him to Palantir cofounder Joe Lonsdale as an initiation into Silicon Valley. Soon Google Ventures founder Bill Maris became Carter's investing mentor.
Carter has made smart early-stage investments in companies like Lyft, Warby Parker, and Wish and is operating a tech accelerator called SMASHD.
Despite his background, Carter told Business Insider he got cold feet before his "Shark Tank" appearance because, as a fan of the show, he was familiar with each of the Sharks' uniquely aggressive styles and wondered if he'd feel comfortable in that setting.
He was pleasantly surprised. "Off-camera, the Sharks were like really cute little guppies," he said. "They weren't sharks at all!"
Carter said he was most surprised by how Mark Cuban carried himself. Despite having a tendency to be exceptionally aggressive when it comes to making deals, Carter found him to be the most warm and inviting on set, allowing him to feel comfortable.
Some time after the shoot, Carter ran into investor Lori Greiner at a restaurant in Martha's Vineyard. Even though she was a fierce competitor in the Tank, they hit it off. Now they're good friends, Carter said.
The "Shark Tank" experience served as a reminder that every great investor has two sides. While you need to be practical, blunt, and competitive, Carter said, you also "have to be empathetic, you have to be open minded, and you do have to be a bit of a people person as well."
You need to find ways to make money, but through genuine relationships.
"It's balance," Carter said.
"Shark Tank" guest investor Troy Carter wasted no time in making a deal on Friday night.
The talent agency owner and venture capitalist immediately accepted an offer from Mark Cuban to co-invest $250,000 for a 20% ownership stake in sock subscription service Foot Cardigan.
Foot Cardigan delivers a new pair of socks right to your door for $9 per month. Customers can choose from one, three, six, and nine-month prepaid subscriptions.
Foot Cardigan cofounders Bryan DeLuca and Matt McClard entered the tank hoping to raise $250,000 for a 10% share.
The company earned $1.36 million in the past three years and currently services 6,000 monthly customers with seasonal increases to approximately 12,000 subscribers.
Foot Cardigan earned $900,000 in the last 12 months and projects $1.5 million for 2015.
Daymond John liked the quality of the socks and asked the cofounders if they would consider domestic production.
John also questioned if buyers could pick their own socks. The company doesn't currently allow users to pick their own footwear because of distribution concerns. The cofounders countered by telling the sharks that people tell them all the time, "I cannot wait to open my mailbox and the socks are just there."
John offered $250,000 for 22.5% under the contingency that his Bombas partners would work with the company.
Kevin O'Leary joined the feeding frenzy with a $250,000 offer for 15% and quarterly distributions paid out to himself and the company's cofounders.
Carter initially offered $250,000 for 15% before agreeing to join Cuban's deal of 20% at $250,000.
During an interview with Business Insider, Carter explained that his investing style is largely based around "feel."
"I'm a simple guy," Carter said. "I know a lot of investors use a lot of analytics in their diligence process, and for me it's about feel. It's how do I feel about the idea, how do I feel about the entrepreneur. It's the same thing that gave me an advantage to being an artist manager. Because it's all feel. You're not operating with a lot of data, so you get to feel out people."
Carter said "asking about the people" makes all the difference.
"I want to know your background; I want to know your dynamic; I want to know how long you guys have known each other," he said. "If you're partners on the show, I want to know how long you guys have known each other. I want to know how you guys make decisions together — that tells me a lot about how the business is going to be run."
Two Guys Bow Ties launched in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2012 and now the company has landed a partnership with "Shark Tank" investor and fashion mogul Daymond John.
Designers Adam Teague and Tim Paslay created the product to combine old-school craftsmanship with modern design.
The company sells wooden bow ties, lapels, and fedoras to a customer base that exists almost solely online.
The company has earned $1 million in two years.
"Shark Tank" investor Kevin O'Leary told the cofounders that their product would fit perfectly in his Platform of Love wedding services. O'Leary offered $150,000 for 15%.
Out of respect for the other investors, the company's cofounders asked to hear other deals from the tank.
Daymond John offered the men $150,000 for 20%, and Mark Cuban immediately went out. Lori Greiner exited, saying O'Leary and John would be better partners for this type of product.
The Two Guys Bow Ties team asked Carter and John if they would be willing to partner. Carter agreed but asked for an equity bump to 30%.
Carter said he wasn't interested in working with the company after they countered with 20% equity for $150,000 and a 5% royalty until the original investment was returned.
John proceeded on his own with a $150,000 investment offer for 20% equity and a 10% royalty until his money is paid back.
The Fubu founder agreed to a counter offer for $150,000 at 17.5% and a 10% royalty until his money is returned.
"Shark Tank" co-star and Herjavec Group CEO Robert Herjavec shares his top cybersecurity tips.
The Herjavec Group is one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies and the country's largest IT security provider.
Produced by Joe Avella
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Over the past seven seasons, the "Shark Tank" investors have seen hundreds of pitches from entrepreneurs and invested their own money into the ones that grabbed their attention.
The long hours and countless deals have resulted in the investors developing unique investing styles suited for the show's format, as well as methods for turning their companies into massive successes.
We asked the six Sharks what they prefer to invest in, how they structure their deals, what they look for in entrepreneurs and how they work with them, what their most profitable deals have been, and what they like most about being on the show.
Here's what they had to say.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Like many great ideas, the inspiration for Dude Wipes struck in the bathroom.
Three recent college grads were living together in a Chicago apartment, where they used baby wipes to supplement toilet paper. What if, they wondered, there was a similar hygiene product specifically geared toward adult men?
In 2012, they launched that product, which they named Dude Wipes.
On Friday, the company's founders — Sean Reily, Ryan Meegan, and Jeff Klimkowsi — appeared on "Shark Tank" requesting a $300,000 investment for 10% of their company, Dude Products.
They walked out with Mark Cuban as a partner, after he invested $300,000 for a 25% stake in their company.
Cuban initially declared that he was out of the running for a deal. "I just don't see me as a wipes kind of guy," he told them.
Dude Products nearly secured a deal instead with investors Robert Herjavec and Kevin O'Leary. The founders and the investors went back and forth and had almost settled on a $300,000 investment ($150,000 from each investor) for 27.5% of the company.
But when Cuban jumped back in with his offer, Dude Products promptly accepted.
The founders explained that Dude Wipes are designed for multiple roles.
Men can use them as an adjunct to toilet paper in the bathroom ("the second to last wipe," Klimkowsi said) or as a wipe for faces, armpits, or any other area of the body. They're made with aloe and are flushable and biodegradable.
So far, the company has sales of $300,000 — but they anticipate that they'll raise $1.5 million this year, now that they've secured a contract to go nationwide with retail food chain Kroger. Each pack costs $6.49 at Kroger; the product is also sold online.
The founders said they needed a $300,000 investment to land deals with more major retailers.
Cuban initially told the founders they were underestimating the amount of money it would take to market a new product category. By the end of the episode, he'd apparently changed his mind.
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Daymond John got a call from Mark Burnett at the perfect time in his career.
It was 2008 and John was 39 years old. He had established a career on the success of his clothing brand FUBU, which he started from nothing out of his mom's house in Hollis, Queens in 1992. Though the brand was bringing in over $300 million in revenue in the late '90s, its popularity faded in the early 2000s.
John acquired stakes in about 10 other clothing companies and served as a marketing adviser. When the Great Recession hit, he told Business Insider, only two or three were making him money. John needed a way to grow beyond the fashion industry.
Burnett, the executive producer behind the massively successful reality television shows "Survivor" and "The Apprentice," told John over the phone that he was creating an American spinoff of Sony's business reality series "Dragon's Den," which started in Japan and spread to the United Kingdom and Canada. It would be called "Shark Tank" and he wanted John to be one of the investors.
"I decided that absolutely, I wanted to do it," John said. It would not only provide a spotlight for John and his brands, but would give him an opportunity to diversify his portfolio. He was 40 when the show began the next year.
"What I am is a manufacturer and a producer and somebody that likes to brand products and companies," he said. "And I was only getting pitched clothing companies. If I was going to sell to one of the big amazing stores that I deal with, I don't want to only just sell and be in Aisle No. 1 with clothing, I want to be in Aisle No. 3 with soft drinks, I want to be there with electronics. I want to diversify my portfolio. So I took on this new journey to do a show called 'Shark Tank.'"
The show's first season was a moderate success for ABC, averaging about four million viewers for each new episode, but it was renewed for a second season and John was all in.
He built his show persona as the brand expert with a signature classy-yet-subtly flashy fashion sense, and used this as the fuel behind a new company intrinsically linked to the show: Shark Branding. This new company used John's heightened profile and increasingly diverse investments, direct results of the show, as a way to market himself to major global corporations.
Shark Branding has developed relationships with clients ranging from Home Shopping Network to Reebok CrossFit, from Jamba Juice to Shopify. John has used these relationships for the benefit of his "Shark Tank" investments, which then provides him with more ammunition for pitching himself to entrepreneurs who appear on the show.
"Shark Tank" is now in its seventh season. Last year was its strongest season yet, with an overall viewership of 9.137 million viewers, according to Deadline Hollywood.
John said his most profitable deals over the past seven seasons have been, relative to size, Bubba-Q's Boneless Ribs, Bomba's socks, and the TITIN training vest. He thinks he's going to help bring Bubba-Q's past $200 million in total sales soon. "Now I'm making more money than ever with boneless ribs!" he said.
FUBU will always have a special place in John's heart and will always be associated with his name. But he was able to, in his 40s, take a risk on a reality show in the depths of a recession and reinvent himself for the public.
His reputation and public presence has benefited so greatly that President Barack Obama appointed him as one of the White House's Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, which makes him as a White House representative for entrepreneurship initiatives across the country and abroad.
John said his 40s have proven to him that his passion is spreading a love for entrepreneurship and growing businesses the right way. He's been most moved by stories of kids, like Mo's Bows' 13-year-old founder and CEO Moziah Bridges, who grow up idolizing entrepreneurs they same way some do musicians and athletes. He feels similarly fulfilled by helping small business owners avoid the same mistakes he already made in his career.
"That, I think, is more fulfilling than anything else when it comes to this amazing journey with 'Shark Tank,'" he said.
Overall, a solid chunk of those businesses have returned his investment.
"Of the 71 startups that I've invested in through Shark Tank, two have gone out of business, three are so stupid they don't know they're out of business, and then probably 50, give or take, are in growth," he said on stage at The Wall Street Journal's WSJD Live conference.
Cuban admits that some of the early deals on the show were "kinda silly," but that overall he's pleased with his portfolio.
"Out of the 71, I would say ten or 11 are netting a minimum of half-a-million dollars a year, doing $8 million to $15 or in some cases, $20+ million revenue," he said. "I would say about 30% of my companies have returned all of my investment and then some. To me, the more important thing is the '80/20 Rule.' So if I have the 20% that I think can really take off, that's what I really care about."
Cuban also promised that he'll continue to appear on the show for the foreseeable future:
"I'll stay on as long as they'll keep me on, as long as I think the show impacts people and they enjoy watching it."
The Haunted Hayride has been a popular Halloween attraction in Los Angeles for seven years. Taking place in Griffith Park, it typically brings in about 65,000 people over its 17-night run, and tickets almost always sell out.
CEO Melissa Carbone wants the Haunted Hayride to become a household name and a new Halloween tradition for people across the country.
"The ultimate long-term goal is to have a Ten Thirty One attraction in every major metropolitan area in the United States," she told Business Insider in a 2014 interview.
This year, they checked a big goal off that list by bringing the experience to New York City. We went to see how scary it really was.
The Haunted Hayride is being held on Randall's Island, just across the Harlem River from Manhattan. The setting is fitting — between 1852 and 1900, the island was home to a number of different institutions, including an insane asylum and a center for juvenile delinquents.
This is the Haunted Hayride's first year in New York City, though it's had years of success in Los Angeles.
As soon as you walked in, there were several people dressed up in costume, roaming around the grounds as part of the experience.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
The business partners behind the xCraft drone company out of Idaho have the ideal "Shark Tank" appearance in episode 5 of season 7.
Founder, president, and CEO JD Claridge and board member Charles Manning step into the Tank seeking $500,000 for 20% equity and walk out with $1.5 million for 25% and Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec as investors.
Claridge, an aerospace engineer, founded xCraft in 2014 and recruited Manning, CEO of mobile analytics firm Kochava, to help him build the business-end of the company, VentureBeat reports.
Claridge and Manning impressed the Sharks with a video demonstration of the X PlusOne drone, which can be programmed to follow a flight plan, takes off and lands vertically, can climb to 10,000 feet, and can shift into "airplane mode," where it can fly at 60 mph.
Each X PlusOne costs $400 to make and retails for $1,800.
They launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign for it last December and raised $143,000, locking down an additional $30,000 in sales on their website.
The guys also showed the Sharks a product still in development, the Phone Drone, a device that turns a smartphone into a drone. As Claridge explains, the expensive components of a drone — sensors, GPS, a camera — are already in the phone, and so they can keep production costs below $100 and retail it for around $300.
Because of its high price point and the legal restriction of being unable to recreationally fly a drone above 400 feet, the X Plus One is more suited to either enthusiasts or consumers using it for a professional purpose, such as landscaping. The Phone Drone can be a product for a more casual drone fan, who may want to use it on runs or climbs.
Herjavec asks Claridge and Manning to explain what their "secret sauce" is that makes them worthy of an investment over any other drone company.
Manning says that it's the intellectual property of the designs, and that the patent pending on the Phone Drone will make it a completely unique product.
John then asks the business partners why they went on the show. In an interview with local Idaho station KXLY that took place several months after their pitch, Claridge and Manning explain that a "Shark Tank" producer had sought them out, and they were excited to audition for a chance in the Tank. Back in the Tank itself, Claridge tells the investors that they would use $250,000 for inventory and $250,000 to finish the Phone Drone, under the guidance of a Shark.
"I think you need more money," O'Leary says, and then offers $750,000 for 25%, an uncharacteristically straightforward and generous deal for "Mr. Wonderful."
"You know what I smell?" John asks. "I smell a nasty, nasty Shark fight that's about to happen."
Here's how the bidding war goes down:
After having a private discussion in the hallway leading into the Tank, Claridge and Manning return to ask for $1.5 million for 25% equity, in which the five investors each invest $300,000 for 5% equity. The deal takes into account both John's and O'Leary's ceilings, giving the company a valuation of $6 million.
Cuban, who has been quiet during the entire deal-making process, has said in many interviews and past "Shark Tank" episodes that he is always skeptical of entrepreneurs' true intentions for appearing on the show. That they're pushing to invest with all five Sharks shows they're willing to make a deal rather than just seek publicity, but Cuban still wants to know if they're legitimate before he joins the group excitement of the other four Sharks.
"You guys are smart," he says. "Did anyone else offer you money before this?"
Manning explains that yes, they have, but a traditional venture capital seed round doesn't really interest them. They're excited by the opportunity to have the unique operational expertise of the Sharks.
"I deal with a lot of VCs, like we all do," Herjavec says. "They're super smart. But they don't get their hands dirty like we do." He believes Claridge and Manning, and O'Leary does, too. They communicate to Cuban that he shouldn't worry.
"That works," Cuban says, smiling. The five Sharks get up to seal the deal with a handshake and hug.
While the Sharks were certainly impressed by the xCraft products, they were most impressed by Claridge and Manning's confidence, knowledge of the subject and industry, lack of hesitation when answering, and ability to negotiate hard while knowing when to back off.
It worked perfectly.
"We have not only gotten a valuation that's greater than what we asked, we got more money than what we asked for (three times as much), and we got all five Sharks on board," Claridge says outside of the Tank.