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- 10/26/15--08:34: _Mark Cuban explains...
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- 10/31/15--11:38: _Chris Sacca's 'Shar...
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- 12/13/15--20:00: _The 7 worst 'Shark ...
- 12/15/15--07:49: _The 15 biggest 'Sha...
- 12/16/15--06:44: _Consumer and retail...
- 11/03/15--10:17: 14 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'
- 11/03/15--14:12: Canned hot coffee is coming to America
- Mark Cuban: Will give you the $500,000 for the 10%.
- Daymond John: Will give $500,000 for 15%, but will handle licensing and distribution deals. Interested in splitting deal with Cuban.
- Cuban: Wants to do deal alone.
- Lori Greiner: Will give $500,000 for 10%, and will be a valuable strategic partner for getting mass distribution.
- Robert Herjavec: You need more money. Will give $500,000 for 10%, if I split the deal with either Cuban or Greiner, for a total of $1 million for 20%.
- John: Will give $1 million of my own for $17.5%.
- Cuban: Prefer to do deal alone, but will do Herjavec's deal if necessary.
- 11/20/15--08:44: These are 'Shark Tank' star Daymond John’s favorite investments
- 11/27/15--09:05: Mark Cuban's 3 fundamental rules for running a business
- 12/13/15--20:00: The 7 worst 'Shark Tank' pitches of 2015
- 12/15/15--07:49: The 15 biggest 'Shark Tank' success stories of all time
- 12/16/15--06:44: Consumer and retail news: 10 things you need to know today
For the past seven seasons, hundreds of entrepreneurs have appeared on the "Shark Tank" set in hopes of scoring a deal with a celebrity investor like Mark Cuban.
Some of these businesses, like horror-entertainment company Ten Thirty One Productions, go on to approach or exceed $1 million in annual profits within just a couple years of appearing on the show.
Cuban explained to Business Insider why getting a Shark like him can be so valuable to a company, and what the process following a successful pitch on the show looks like.
First of all, the handshake deal that happens on the show isn't anything binding. Filming for each season is split over the start of the summer and the start of the fall. After each round, the Sharks and their teams do due diligence on each of the companies to ensure that everything within the company is how it was represented in the pitch room.
There are times when the numbers check out, but the entrepreneurs decide they no longer want to make a deal, such as when the founders of evREwares decided they weren't actually willing to sell 100% of their struggling company to Cuban for $200,000 as they agreed to in season six.
Ultimately, said Cuban's fellow Shark Daymond John, about 80% of season seven's deals made on camera closed, which is up from about 60% to 70% of past seasons.
Each of the six "Shark Tank" investors have different management styles, but the main reason they typically ask for high-equity deals is that they are more hands-on than a typical venture-capital firm or angel investor.
Cuban said he and the Dallas-based Mark Cuban Cos. team "often take over their accounting, website, packaging design, and more."
Mark Cuban Cos. also optimizes a company's online presence through free software deals with business partners. Cuban's "Shark Tank" companies host their sites on Rackspace's servers and use customer-relationship management software from Nimble to store communications and monitor site analytics.
Cuban boosts his new companies' sales by assigning them seasoned marketers from his team and arranging distribution deals with partners like Amazon Exclusives and Brookstone.
"We realize that by taking the back office off their hands, they can focus on core competencies," Cuban said.
At last week's Wall Street Journal WSJD Live conference, Cuban said, "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 told Business Insider that he has "a bunch" of companies making more than half a million in annual profits and a few that have surpassed a million. He mentioned that some of his best-performing companies, besides Ten Thirty One Productions, include Rugged Maniac, The Red Dress Boutique, Tower Paddle Boards, Gameday Couture, Simple Sugars, and Q-Flex.
We recently asked the other Sharks how they make deals on the show and what happens once the cameras stop rolling. You can find their answers below.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Kevin O'Leary has spent seven seasons of "Shark Tank" and eight seasons of its Canadian counterpart "Dragon's Den" playing the cold-blooded, shrewd capitalist not afraid to push people around.
There's no question that "Mr. Wonderful"enjoys embracing this persona for television, but it's still representative of the pragmatic business philosophy he's used to build his career.
And it's why, he told Business Insider, he only invests in entrepreneurs he believes will deliver results and not get "flighty or emotional" under fire.
"Any entrepreneur on my team needs to understand that the goal is always cash flow, and they must be willing to do anything to keep the money rolling in," he said. "I don't care if that means missing your kid's birthday party or your 25th anniversary for an important business meeting."
When we asked him earlier this year what he thinks of work-life balance, he said there's no such thing as true "balance." Instead of struggling to find an even share of career and family time, O'Leary said he and his wife decided to create a family rule where they spend time with each other and their two children on the weekends regardless of where work brings them. But when it's time to work, he said, they've accepted that his time will be consumed.
"The reason you pursue an entrepreneurial career is to one day provide financial freedom for yourself and your family," O'Leary said. The only way to achieve freedom in your career is by amassing wealth, he said, and the only way for entrepreneurs to reach this point is by giving their full devotion to growing their business, accepting all of the sacrifices that come with the approach.
We recently asked the other Sharks how they make deals on the show and what happens once the cameras stop rolling. You can find their answers below.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Mark Cuban made the biggest investment of his five seasons on "Shark Tank" in 2013 when he put down $2 million for a 20% stake in Melissa Carbone's horror attraction company Ten Thirty One Productions.
Carbone, the CEO and president, cofounded Ten Thirty One in 2009 with Alyson Richards for the purpose of launching the first large-scale haunted hayride in Los Angeles. After clearing out their bank accounts and scraping together investments from friends, they put down $365,000 to set up and "market the hell out of" the Los Angeles Haunted Hayride. By 2012, Ten Thirty One was selling out the Halloween season and bringing in $1.8 million in revenue in October.
Cuban saw the potential the company had for other markets and jumped at the opportunity, and recently told Business Insider that it's been one of his most profitable deals from the show, grouping it with others that are making at least half a million in profit annually. Last year Ten Thirty One hit its goal of $3 million in gross revenue.
This year, Carbone expanded her flagship hayride brand to New York City, and has experienced the advanced and unique challenges that come with scaling a company.
Carbone told us last year that "The ultimate long-term goal is to have a Ten Thirty One attraction in every major metropolitan area in the United States," so using Cuban's investment to bring the hayride out to the biggest city on the East Coast seemed an obvious choice.
The New York Haunted Hayride opened in September on Randall's Island, located on the East River between uptown Manhattan and Queens. Carbone said that while she can't reveal its revenues, it's done three times better than LA Haunted Hayride did in its first year, and 36% better than LA did in its second year. "So I think from that standpoint, the potential for that attraction is giant," Carbone said. "I think it's loud and clear that that ride has legs."
What she hadn't planned for, however, was a wave of rain and intense wind wreaking havoc on their setup and forcing them to close for several nights, losing significant amounts of money in the process. She also found the location to be less than ideal, since isolated Randall's Island is far from a visitor-friendly locale. Due to the unexpected closings, Ten Thirty One will miss its goal of $5 million in revenue this year.
But again, the project was not a failure. And despite her high levels of stress over it, she said that Cuban has been an invaluable source of reason throughout the chaos.
"I'm the type of person who, if something is not in my control, it makes my head explode," Carbone said. It's why Cuban has been repeating the mantra of "relax, relax, relax" on their biweekly phone calls this Halloween season. "Having anxiety about this isn't going to make it any better," he told her.
"This is a tough business to scale with a small team," Carbone said. While Ten Thirty One now employs around 500 people, up from around 300 last year, its central team comprises only six people. "I've learned a lot in the vein of scaling how to make these attractions more convertible or a little more transportable."
Last year, Carbone considered bringing the hayride to Atlanta and San Francisco, but she and Cuban decided that their next target market will be in Dallas. Not only does Cuban live there, but it will give Ten Thirty One a presence down south.
And though the New York Hayride gave Carbone some headaches, the year has been a positive one overall. She recently partnered with the seasoned horror film producer Sonny Mallhi ("The Strangers," Spike Lee's remake of "Oldboy") to launch a new film arm of Ten Thirty One called Shadow House Films. Carbone said films they develop will organically incorporate Ten Thirty One brands like the Haunted Hayride into the plot in a way that won't feel cheesy but rather be like "what Camp Crystal Lake was to 'Friday the 13th.'"
Carbone said she has realized that she can venture beyond a simple growth plan of adding identical attractions in each new market.
Ten Thirty One Productions now has six brands, including the two Hayrides, the film outlet, the haunted cruise Ghost Ship, a live action horror film experience during the summer called The Great Horror Campout, and Great Horror Movie Night outings scattered throughout the year.
There are many horror attraction franchises in different parts of the country, but Carbone is attempting to create a national presence. It will certainly not be easy, but Cuban is confident in Carbone and her team, and will help keep her on track to her dream of being the dominant horror attraction company in the United States.
Last year she told us that she wants "every teenager, whether they're in Miami, Atlanta, San Francisco, San Diego, or Chicago, to have access to a Ten Thirty One Production."
When you watch Chris Sacca spar with Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner on "Shark Tank" in his season seven debut, he seems like an old member of the cast.
But just a year ago, the billionaire Silicon Valley investor wrote in a blog post, he considered it a "dime-store version of my current job."
After catching a rerun last fall in which an investor demonstrated a puke bib for children by spilling soup through a papier-mache doll, he tweeted at his friends Mark Cuban and Daymond John to "Come back to the big boy game."
Several months later, Sacca found himself on the "Shark Tank" set to film a few episodes, making deals and loving it.
The path to his change of heart began when Cuban and John replied to him over Twitter and explained that his snark was misplaced, and that "Shark Tank" was part of a cultural movement that was inspiring a new generation of entrepreneurs in America.
Sacca warmed up to that idea but still found the whole process to be a "goofy" version of the process he had undergone with companies like Uber and Twitter.
Sacca told Business Insider that, by coincidence, he found himself at a friend's family Halloween party with Clay Newbill, a "Shark Tank" executive producer. They got to talking about the show, and when Sacca said he understood the appeal of the show but would never participate, Newbill told him he and his fellow producers would love to hear how the show would need to change in order for him to participate.
Sacca then found himself talking about the show with showrunner Mark Burnett and his "Shark Tank" executive producers, as well as Sony executives. He said that they actually considered his suggestions and began implementing them, including ideas on how to make the investor panel and batch of entrepreneurs more diverse and bringing on more tech companies.
Happy with his conversations, he decided he'd give the show a shot.
On set, he said he immediately liked how he was able to use the show's format to get more details from the entrepreneurs than he normally would in a pitch meeting, since "Shark Tank" pitches typically last an hour.
"For the most part I feel like I was really able to dive in and get a relatively deep understanding of these companies before making a bid," he said.
He was thrown off by figuring out deals without a calculator, but enjoyed the thrill of the competition with the other Sharks.
"You've got a panel of five really loud, aggressive talkers, and so you've got to just jump in and talk over them," he said. "That took me a few minutes on the first day to figure out and, once I got it, I had a blast."
Billionaire investor Chris Sacca made his "Shark Tank" debut Friday night in the sixth episode of season 7, splitting a deal with Mark Cuban and duking it out with Lori Greiner, all in his signature tacky cowboy shirt.
It was easy to imagine him as a permanent member of the cast, and it's why the show's producers should consider adding him as the seventh Shark next season.
It would give Sacca a platform to raise awareness of his deals and make new ones outside of the insular world of Silicon Valley, and give the show a fresh face who fits in perfectly with its progression toward bigger deals and savvier entrepreneurs.
Sacca left his job as head of special initiatives at Google in 2007 and became a successful angel investor before starting his venture capital firm Lowercase Capital.
He founded Lowercase on the philosophy that he and his partners would only invest in companies they truly believed in and would work closely with.
With early stage investments in companies like Twitter, Uber, and Instagram, Sacca and his partners got rich and became some of the most renowned investors in Silicon Valley.
At a Halloween party last year, Sacca ran into Clay Newbill, one of the "Shark Tank" executive producers. Sacca told Newbill he understood the show's appeal but wouldn't want to participate. It seemed like a watered down version of his real job, and featured too many goofy ideas for him to take it seriously.
Newbill proposed having Sacca meet with showrunner Mark Burnett and the production team — as well as Sony executives responsible for the show — to discuss ways to make it better.
Sacca told Business Insider that he was so impressed with their conversations that he agreed to film an episode as a guest Shark. The producers liked what they saw and invited him back to shoot a few more, which is what happened with Cuban in season 2, before Cuban joined full-time the next year.
And in the same way that the full-time addition of Cuban in season 3 and Greiner in season 4 added new life and another dimension of expertise to the show, the addition of Sacca could help it evolve to the next stage.
Sacca can't be faulted for once considering "Shark Tank" to be like a "dime-store version" of the investment world, as he wrote in a blog post, because the show did once rely on companies that were either quite small or objectively ridiculous.
Season 1, for example, featured both a man wanting to start implanting Bluetooth ear pieces into people's ear canals as well as a woman who invented a way to store more Post-It notes on your laptop screen.
But like the startups it features, "Shark Tank" had to start small and grow up. The latest episode is actually a perfect example of how far the show has come:
The deal Sacca lost to Greiner was for a piece of a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) learning center for children that was founded by two sisters, Lavanya and Melissa Jawaharlal.
Sacca told us the two women "were some of the best pitchers I have ever seen anywhere ... I would have hired them on the spot for any job in [Lowercase Capital's] portfolio."
And Sacca says he's very excited about the deal he and Cuban partnered up on — a 10% equity split for Rent Like A Champion in exchange for a $200,000 investment.
The company is essentially Airbnb for college towns that host large sporting events. The company has done $6.1 million in total sales in the past five years. It was a "no-brainer" deal for Sacca, who infamously missed out on an early investment in Airbnb. "That's been super fun and they've continued to grow like a weed."
Sacca said on Twitter after the show that he's made more deals on "Shark Tank" that will be featured in future episodes, and that all of them have closed after due diligence.
Sacca said that back when he had a snarky view of the show, he imagined his peers in Silicon Valley and Wall Street would share it, and then later expected them to roll their eyes when he told them he was going to appear on it. But instead, he found that plenty of big-time investors he knows are fans of the show and have been very supportive of his decision to appear in a few episodes this season.
He told us that he's certainly open to filming more episodes if the producers asked him.
"'Shark Tank' takes me back to all of the reasons of why I got into this business in the first place," he said. "There's none of the politics of the late-stage deals. Instead it's just entrepreneurs, their product, and seeing if they can make something that people are really going to use and want. And that's thrilling for me."
Over the past seven seasons, "Shark Tank" has grown into a phenomenon.
Not only is it an Emmy-winning reality show, but it has created recognizable brands like Scrub Daddy, which Shark Lori Greiner has helped take to $75 million in total sales over the past three years.
The show is an entertainment product and a launchpad for hundreds of American startups, requiring a careful combination of high-level production and management.
Through several interviews with the Sharks, we've learned some interesting behind-the-scenes details hidden from viewers. We've collected them below.
A typical pitch lasts about an hour.
A televised segment lasts about 10 minutes, but it uses footage from a pitch that, on average, lasts an hour. In Season 4, Plate Topper founder Michael Tseng was in the Tank for 2 1/2 hours, the longest of any entrepreneur.
Unlike a typical pitch, the investors know nothing about the entrepreneurs or their products before they enter the room. It's a technique that allows viewers to learn about the people and their companies along with the Sharks.
The footage editors take out contains the "unsexy" material, where the Sharks and entrepreneurs get into financial minutiae that the typical viewer would either not understand or care much about.
An entire season is shot in 17 days, split across two marathon sessions.
The production process is efficient and demanding.
The past few seasons have had 29 episodes each, and shooting was split over a week and a half in early summer and another stretch in early fall. The investors see six to eight pitches per day, and days can last up to 12 hours.
Robert Herjavec said that when he and the Sharks are in their chairs, "We're cold, we're hungry, we're miserable." It's why, he explained, it's necessary that entrepreneurs grab their attention and excite them as quickly as possible.
Pitches start with 30 seconds of silence.
When it's time for entrepreneurs to give their pitches, they walk down a corridor and stop on an "X" on the floor of the Tank for the ideal shot. They are then required to stand silently for 30 seconds so that the camera crew can gather footage of the entrepreneurs and the Sharks smiling back at them, edited together to set the scene of a new segment on the show.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Canned hot coffee is coming to America.
Danny Grossfeld decided to bring the idea to the US after discovering it is a $14 billion industry in Japan.
Grossfeld took this idea to Kickstarter, where producers from ABC's Shark Tank discovered his invention and invited him on the show.
Grossfeld didn't get a deal after appearing on Shark Tank on October 30.
But private investors who saw the show offered to fund the concept. Shark Tank host Mark Cuban will also offer a test placement of Hotshot coffee in his movie theaters.
The can stays hot without burning your hands thanks to an insulated label that claims to "keep your coffee hot and your hands cool."
The invention has two parts: the coffee can (Hotshot) and the heating device (Hotbox).
The Hotbox is like a mini fridge that keeps beverages hot and acts as a heating and storage unit for the cans. It applies 140 degree heat to each can.
The initial coffee flavors available are: espresso, caramel, vanilla frappe, and hot chocolate. More flavors will be added in the future.
The coffee is made from 100% Arabica beans grown in Sumatra and is served in aluminum cans made of 70% recycled content.
While Hotshot is not available for purchase yet, you can pre-order a starter kit, which includes a heating box and 12 cans of assorted flavors for $69.99. The product will be delivered in January.
The motivation behind this invention is to be able to grab a hot coffee quickly, without waiting in line at a coffee shop.
Fans of the idea expressed their excitement after seeing it on Shark Tank:
I think the Hotshot Coffee on #SharkTank is a great idea. I want one— Austin Johnson (@AustinJ40) October 31, 2015
I don't drink coffee. Lots of people do. I see HotShot selling like Hot cakes #SharkTank— annie leonardi (@torispears) October 31, 2015
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By its fourth season in 2012, "Shark Tank"had become a pop culture sensation. With a viewership between six and seven million, producers ramped up the episode count from 15 to 26, and then to 29 the next season.
Because the investors each have multiple companies to run and even more to consult with, the shooting schedule needs to be as efficient as possible, which means a lot of action crammed into a short period.
Investor Robert Herjavec told Business Insider that this past season, the seventh, took 17 days to shoot, split over two stretches, one in early summer and the other in early fall. The Sharks were required to be on set for around 12 hours each day, and see about eight pitches, each averaging an hour in length.
In post production, editors create 43-minute-long episodes with several pitches cut into roughly 10-minute segments. About 80% of the pitches the Sharks see make it into the final product.
Guest Sharks like Ashton Kutcher, who spend just one day on set, can ride a wave of nervous energy, but for cast members like Herjavec, it gets exhausting. "We're cold, we're hungry, we're miserable," he said.
Barbara Corcoran told us that she and Lori Greiner, as the two female Sharks, have the additional burdens of having to wear high heels and keep their legs crossed — Corcoran said viewers of the show should keep an eye out for times when she squeezes her leg, which she does to keep it from falling asleep, because it means she's ready to seal a deal with an entrepreneur and jump up to hug them.
The physical discomfort of the process is why the Sharks are always looking for an entrepreneur to grab their interest within the pitch's first couple of minutes. If they start thinking about whether they want to let go of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even millions of dollars of their own money, adrenaline kicks in.
"Knowing you can lose a hell of a lot of money fast keeps you focused," Corcoran said. She considers "Shark Tank" shoots to be "by far" the hardest work she's done in her career, which included turning $1,000 into the Corcoran Group, one of New York's premiere real estate firms.
Corcoran said the challenge of a "Shark Tank" shoot is that she and the Sharks need to constantly be conscious of how they look on camera, how to compete with each other to get what they want, whether they want to make a deal with the entrepreneurs in front of them, and then how to structure that possible deal without making a costly mistake.
Once the investors arrive on set in the morning, "You don't have time for anything else," she said. "So it's not like I can tend to my other stuff when I get there. Once you're in that seat, it's like you're in a war zone ... You can't come up for air."
It's why tempers flare in the Tank at times. Sure, investors angrily yelling at each other makes for great television, but all the Sharks insist it's not staged. Rather, they say, it's the natural byproduct of on-edge people dealing with substantial amounts of money. The investors have spent so much time with each other at this point that their relationships are familial, whether that's expressed in fun or in frustration.
"It's all in the moment,"Daymond John told us. "And in the moment, it does get personal here and there. None of it is for the camera. Listen, I don't care if you're my brother — if we go play football I'm gonna try to crack your head open. It doesn't mean that I don't love you. It doesn't mean that I don't respect you. But I'm going to try to crack your head open!"
During filming for the seventh season of "Shark Tank" this past June, an entrepreneur became so overwhelmed that he fainted, collapsing in front of the Sharks.
Investor Barbara Corcoran shared this story with Business Insider, and said that even though she wasn't on the set that day, news of it spread throughout the cast instantaneously.
The entrepreneur was revived and uninjured, but the segment won't air.
It's an extreme reminder of a basic fact about the show: The entrepreneurs are regular people, typically with minimal to no media experience, getting in front of a panel full of millionaire or billionaire celebrities to give a presentation that potentially millions of people will see.
It's why the producers mandate that all entrepreneurs meet with a psychiatrist after giving their pitch, regardless of the outcome.
A typical pitch lasts about an hour, and the entrepreneurs are told that there's a chance their pitch will never air (about 20% of pitches get left out). Whether the entrepreneurs are leaving the Tank jubilant, heartbroken, or angry, the psychiatric consultation is meant to ensure that they are able to come down from the emotional rush and deal with the possibility of appearing in front of seven million Americans.
Rent Like A Champion business partners Drew Mitchell and Mike Doyle secured a great deal with Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca for $200,000 in exchange for 10% of their business, but still spent 10 minutes with the on-set psychiatrist.
"The conversation is pretty casual, and she asks you to be reflective on the experience," Mitchell told us, "but I think what's going on is they're trying to assess that you don't have any post-Tank trauma."
"It's a good idea," Corcoran said.
Multimillionaire and "Shark Tank" cohost Robert Herjavec shares his thoughts on American business opportunities.
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When 26-year-old PolarPro founder and CEO Jeff Overall walked into the pitch room in the latest episode of "Shark Tank" Season 7, he played up his heavy Southern California accent and surfer slang for the investors' amusement.
But not long into his pitch, it became clear that he was one of the more successful and astute entrepreneurs they've had on the show.
And after a bidding fight among the Sharks, Overall walked away with a $1 million deal with Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec for a 20% stake in his high-end camera accessories company.
Overall founded PolarPro in 2011 as a student at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He was a member of the school's ski team and was frustrated by the low quality of the GoPro videos of his ski runs. After doing some research, he bought a DSLR polarized lens, which cuts glare from the sun, and taped it over his GoPro.
Satisfied with the difference and figuring other GoPro users would be, too, he bought some polarized film and started selling Ziploc bags of amateur lenses for $10 each, he told the Orange County Register this month. Eight months in, he decided to turn his hobby into a business and hired his best friend Austen Butler to help him.
Overall took out $2,000 of his student loan money and got to work building his business. Though GoPro was once interested in making a deal with him, he told the Register, they ended up producing their own line of filters. Overall found that offering a cheaper but high-quality alternative maintained a customer base for PolarPro. He decided to start producing new camera accessories primarily for the extreme sports crowd to stay ahead of the competition. Today, PolarPro has more than 30 products.
After the first year of business, the company brought in $8,000 in revenue, Overall said. In 2014, that number was $2.8 million. For 2015, that number is projected to hit $5.6 million.
Back in the Tank, for a segment that was filmed in June, the investors were very impressed with the numbers. Overall explained that across much of the explosive growth has come from owning the drone camera filter market.
The Sharks were impressed with Overall's demo. Kevin O'Leary, however, was concerned that of the projected $5.6 million in revenue for 2015, only $300,000 is projected to be profit. Overall explained that it is only because so much money, over $1 million annually at this point, is being put into research and development to keep PolarPro inventive and ahead of the pack. O'Leary understood but decided the sector wasn't for him and pulled out of a deal.
After Overall explained that PolarPro is only in 1,200 independent retailers and that he expects to get up to $40 million to $50 million in revenue within the next few years after landing deals with major retailers like Best Buy and REI. He wanted $500,000 for 10% equity in order to get to that next stage.
A bidding war ensued:
After Cuban's concession, Overall decides to close the deal with Cuban and Herjavec, giving each 10% equity in exchange for $500,000 from each of them.
As the two investors walked up to Overall, he told them, "This is how we shake hands at PolarPro!" giving them fist bumps with his pinky and thumb outstretched. "Hang loose!"
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What if you never had to wash your sheets again?
Maxwell Cohen, founder of Afresheet, came up with an invention that he believes is essential in every college dorm room — a bed sheet that peels away in layers and never needs to be washed.
Afresheet consists of seven layers. When one layer gets dirty, you peel it back for a fresh, new sheet.
It's available for a twin XL and regular twin-size mattresses and costs $29.95.
Cohen is marketing to college students because he believes they have a history of not changing sheets for several months at a time.
Cohen appeared Shark Tank, a competition show where entrepreneurs compete for funding from business experts, on November 13. He didn't secure an investment because judges on the show felt he was marketing to the wrong audience.
His pitch included an example where a person literally spilled liquid on the sheet and it didn't seep through the layers.But what about the softness of the sheet?
"We aren't comparing to Egyptian cotton," Cohen said on the show. "We're here for practicality and convenience."
The sharks also didn't think the sheets were comfortable enough.
"It's sort of like paper because I just poked my finger through it..." said Lori Greiner when feeling the product on the show.
Yet on the brand's website, there's a quote from Martha Stewart saying "The Afresheet is Super Soft".
So who do we believe?
While it seems like a practical idea, viewers of the show seemed be on board.
I definitely think afresheet has potential. He just needs to make some changes to become more successful #SharkTank— Robert (@rws91) November 14, 2015
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Mark Cuban is the billionaire investor best known for his roles as a "Shark" and the owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
Throughout his career, he's made over 120 investments, from large companies like Landmark Theatres to startups on "Shark Tank."
For all of the businesses he's been a part of, he's developed a set of "rules that have been almost infallible," he writes in his 2013 book "How to Win at the Sport of Business."
We've summarized the three he's used "religiously."
1. Understand the difference between adding value and benefiting from a bull market.
In the same way that some stock market investors think they're geniuses when they keep picking stocks that go up, failing to acknowledge that all stocks are doing the same thing, Cuban says entrepreneurs can fail to recognize that a good deal of their success is due to a fad or trend.
"There is nothing wrong with going along for the ride and making money at it, but it will catch up with you if you lie to yourself and give yourself credit for the ride," he writes.
Cuban says that he saw this happen with professional sports leagues in the aughts. He says that many team owners became enamored with rising revenues from television rights deals, crediting it to their own "brilliance." He says, however, that he and his Mavericks partners recognized that revenues were actually rising due to competition among cable and satellite providers. Cuban couldn't become complacent.
"It's a bigger challenge to recognize that the bull market may end and our programming needs to be of sufficient value to our customers and viewers for it to maintain or continue to increase in value," he writes.
2. Win the battles you're in before moving onto new ones.
Cuban writes that he had a chance to take Landmark Theatres international but that any time spent on developing a global presence was time not spent growing its national presence, and so he decided against it.
"You do not have unlimited time and/or attention," he writes. "You may work 24 hours a day, but those 24 hours spent winning your core business will pay off far more. It might cost you some longer-term upside, but it will allow you to be the best business you can be."
3. Don't drown in opportunity.
"If you are adding new things when your core businesses are struggling rather than facing the challenge, you are either running away or giving up," Cuban writes. "Rarely is either good for a business."
Melissa Carbone, president of horror attraction company Ten Thirty One Productions, tells Business Insider that after the $2 million deal she made with Cuban on "Shark Tank" went public, she was flooded with partnership and investment offers, some of which were quite attractive.
Cuban told her to take a step back and not let emotions make her impulsive. She says she still hears Cuban's voice in her head reminding her, "Don't drown in opportunity."
As the caliber of entrepreneurs and their companies appearing on "Shark Tank" has gone up with each new season, the investors have gotten more eager to fiercely compete for a deal.
Sometimes, though, the prospect of getting in on a potentially huge company is so appealing that the Sharks decide to split an investment.
Daymond John usually hates when that happens.
"I don't want to team up with any Shark at any given time, ever,"he told LinkedIn executive editor Dan Roth in a recent interview.
The show is appealing to a certain type of entrepreneur because, while a traditional angel or venture capital deal may involve handing over a board seat or advisory role to the investor, a "Shark Tank" deal is essentially for a new business partner who typically takes a decent chunk of equity but promises to be as hands-on as necessary.
Therefore, when multiple Sharks get involved in a single deal, things can get complicated, John told Roth.
"First of all, those other Sharks, they all have egos, they all think that they know everything ... So teaming up with them, you have, 'Who's the chef, who's the cook?'" John said. "Also, it's a little confusing for the entrepreneur."
He does have an exception: "Instead of becoming a Shark, I can become a leech and get a free ride."
When he decides to split a deal, he is conceding the driver's seat, but will happily take a shot at making a profit for less work rather than losing the deal entirely.
He gave Roth an example: He and Mark Cuban are both very interested in a tech company. Cuban, the show's only billionaire, has had a long career in the tech sector and would not only help the entrepreneur with his wisdom but help John, as well. Rather than drive up the price of a deal, John can concede and say, "Hey Mark, come on, why don't you let me in, let me get a free ride on that tech mind of yours."
John told Roth that when he does decide to join a Shark in a deal, "I learn so much from them in their area of expertise."
But as he explained to Business Insider earlier this year, calling a truce with an investor is his last resort; it's not as fun, and it doesn't make him as much money.
"Think about this," he said, "if you ever beat another Shark, these are filthy rich people that not only do you get to embarrass on national television, but you're also making a profit at the same time."
You can watch John's full interview with Roth at LinkedIn's New York office below:
In a typical "Shark Tank" pitch, a collective "Wow" from the investors after the entrepreneurs ask for a significant amount of money at a high valuation is foreshadowing that the entrepreneurs will either walk away without a deal or agree to settle for much less.
But after some careful negotiation in the latest episode of the show's seventh season, Trunkster founders Jesse Potash and Gaston Blanchard made a deal with Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner for $1.4 million in exchange for 5% equity, giving the company the $28 million valuation the founders initially proposed.
Potash and Blanchard are two close friends who each dabbled in the corporate world as well as entrepreneurial ventures. Last year they began developing a "smart" luggage prototype they believed would appeal especially to young professionals.
Their Trunkster luggage, in both carry-on and check-in sizes, uses an easy-access retractable front instead of zippers, has a scale built into the handle to avoid overweight carry-on fees, an easy-access charger for devices, and a GPS tracking system in case the airport loses your luggage. Prices start at $395.
When they put it on crowdfunding site Kickstarter late last year, they exceeded their goal of $50,000 in about an hour and by the time the campaign ended on January 16 they had raised $1.4 million. During their "Shark Tank" shoot this past summer, they told the investors they were about a month away from sending out their first batch. As of now, their first mass-produced batch is due next month.
All of the investors except Barbara Corcoran were intrigued by the product but found the $28 million valuation for a pre-sales company to be ridiculous. "It's worth $5 to $8 million at this point," Robert Herjavec said. "At most," Cuban added.
Potash and Blanchard explained that they're already seeing interest within the industry and want to be like what the direct-to-consumer disrupter Casper has been to the mattress industry, and think they can become a billion-dollar company.
Herjavec explained that he was definitely interested, but he wanted to be a true business partner. He offered $1.4 million for 30% equity. "This is not an investment; we're going on a trip together!"
Kevin O'Leary offered to split the deal with Herjavec, but when he was denied, he weakly offered $1.4 million for 37%.
Greiner, the Shark with a retail empire that specializes in items you'd find on QVC or in Bed Bath & Beyond, explained that her connections and experience would lend themselves tremendously well to Trunkster, and that she'd be willing to invest $1.4 million for 15%.
Potash explained that they were expecting $9 million in sales in 2016 with $6 million of that profit, but Cuban explained that there were so many risks involved in a pre-sale company that he was having a hard time justifying an investment at their valuation. Potash asked to step out with Blanchard to devise an alternate game plan.
They returned with a deal more sophisticated than one you'd typically find on the show: Cuban and Greiner would split an investment of $1.4 million in exchange for splitting 5% equity with the guarantee of being paid in full within 24 months.
If Potash and Blanchet failed to meet this deadline, they would double Cuban and Greiner's stake in the company. And regardless of whether the deadline is met, the investors would split $1 in royalties per unit sold, in perpetuity.
After working out the details in their notebooks, Cuban and Greiner happily accepted the deal.
Though they were initially unwilling to budge on their offer, which was pushing the Sharks away, Potash and Blanchet secured the investment at their valuation by taking a moment to calm down and put themselves in the investors' seats and add a safeguard.
"To know that in two years you'll definitely have that money back or there's a penalty," Potash said outside of the Tank, "then that makes us work harder and makes them more secure."
About 16 years ago, the world started relying more on texting and email as a form of communication, and this made then 30-year-old Daymond John anxious, he told the Yale Center for Dyslexia and Creativity.
He had already achieved more success than he ever imagined with his clothing line FUBU, which brought in $350 million in annual revenue at its peak, but he worried that his poor spelling and reading comprehension would suddenly make him appear unintelligent and out of his league.
To make matters worse, his confidence took a hit when he underwent media training and struggled to read the teleprompter.
After a friend pointed out that John often followed the inverse directions on his GPS, he finally decided to see a professional, who diagnosed him as dyslexic. He suddenly had an explanation for many events in his life, including the beginnings of his path to entrepreneurship, the "Shark Tank" investor told LinkedIn executive editor Dan Roth in a recent interview.
As a kid in elementary school in Queens, New York, John excelled in math and science but did poorly with anything requiring extensive reading and writing. His father would often angrily yell at him to stop slacking, John told Yale's dyslexia center. His school eventually diagnosed him with a general "learning disability," but due to a lack of information on dyslexia, his parents still believed that his bad language arts grades had something to do with his attitude.
John came up with his own solution at Bayside High School. He enrolled in the business co-op program, where he spent alternating weeks in the classroom and at the First Boston investment bank in Manhattan.
"I started to realize how much business was being done," he told Roth. He found his passion in business, where he could use his love of numbers to create something.
After he founded FUBU in 1992 and as he developed as an entrepreneur, he found that while he still dealt with reading and writing difficulties, his mind was highly visual. He mapped business plans in his head, he told Roth.
Learning that he was dyslexic allowed him let go of any shame he once had, and he would confirm with his colleagues that he correctly understood documents he was working with.
For his book "David and Goliath," author Malcolm Gladwell found that 3% to 5% of the general population has dyslexia. Meanwhile, a seemingly higher percentage of highly successful business leaders — including Virgin Group chair Richard Branson, designer Rommy Hilfiger, and Susan G. Komen foundation CEO Nancy Brinker — are dyslexic.
In his research, Gladwell said at a 92Y panel in July, he found a recurring theme in these stories, one that aligns with John's life: The challenges of dyslexia were difficult enough that they could compel the afflicted to stop trying to excel, but isolated enough that they could be overcome by building existing strengths. All of the successful dyslexic people overcame their struggle with reading comprehension to enhance another skill, as Branson did with close listening and memorization and as John did with visual and analytical thinking.
Today, John likes to say he's "blessed with dyslexia," and he encourages others not to conceal it as he once did.
You can watch the second half of John's LinkedIn interview below:
For some entrepreneurs, the dream of being on "Shark Tank" ends up feeling more like a nightmare (one that ends with no deal).
Here are seven founders whose companies were roundly rejected in 2015.
The Skinny Mirror, Season 7
Belinda Jasmine's product The Skinny Mirror is designed to make people feel better by making them appear slimmer than they actually are. All the Sharks saw was a distorting illusion with limited market potential. "I deal in reality," said Kevin O'Leary.
iCPooch, Season 6
Video chat product iCPooch gives pet owners "facetime" with their dogs. When a demonstration failed to prove that dogs recognize their owners on a screen, the Sharks bowed out. "I can't even get humans to use video conferencing," said Robert Herjavec.
Tycoon Real Estate, Season 6
Aaron McDaniel's [now defunct] crowdfunding website Tycoon Real Estate offers consumers investment opportunities online. Every Shark took issue with the concept of investing without knowing who your partners are. "I hate it," Mark Cuban said.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Entrepreneurs who make it onto a "Shark Tank" episode have the opportunity to introduce their company to a viewing audience of 7 million potential customers.
The companies that land a deal with one or more of the show's investors then have the chance to scale and, in some cases, become a nationally recognized brand.
We looked through old episodes and asked the Sharks themselves about their most successful deals. Read on to learn about the biggest "Shark Tank" success stories so far.
DON'T MISS: The 18 best 'Shark Tank' pitches of all time
A sponge company has far and away become the biggest "Shark Tank" success story. Over the past three years, Scrub Daddy has brought in a total of $75 million in revenue, according to investor Lori Greiner.
Greiner made a deal with its founder and CEO, Aaron Krause, in Season 4 for $200,000 in exchange for 20% equity. At that point, Krause had struggled to reach $100,000 in sales over 18 months, but Greiner saw great potential in the company's signature offering, a proprietary smiley-faced sponge that was more durable, hygienic, and effective than a traditional one.
She helped Krause expand his product line and brought them onto QVC and into stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, where they have become bestsellers.
When Robert Herjavec invested $100,000 for 10% of Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton's ugly Christmas-sweater company in Season 4, it could seem to viewers that he was betting on a fleeting fad. It turned out, though, to be his most profitable "Shark Tank" investment, he told Business Insider.
To stay ahead of trends, Herjavec helped make Tipsy Elves a year-round novelty apparel company that can capitalize off multiple holidays and college-football season.
Before its 2013 "Shark Tank" appearance, Tipsy Elves made $900,000 in annual revenue. Last year it brought in around $8 million, and this year it's on track to make $12 million, according to the company.
In Season 5, Charles Yim got a five-Shark deal for Breathometer, a portable Breathalyzer that works with a smartphone. Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Herjavec, and Greiner got in on a $650,000 deal for 30% of the company.
Since his "Shark Tank" appearance, Yim secured an additional $6.5 million in funding, partnered with the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, and developed a more accurate and more portable main product in addition to a device that tracks oral health and hydration levels.
Yim told Inc. that Breathometer is expected to end 2015 with $20 million in sales — double last year's number.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
At Wingstop, simplicity trumps all. That means rare menu changes, minimal seating, and low costs. Wingstop increased total revenue 16.5% in the third quarter, the company reported in November. In 2015, it's on track to post 12 consecutive years of positive same-store sales growth.
Hundreds of women are suing a celebrity-endorsed shampoo brand called Wen Hair Care for allegedly causing bald spots and rashes. It is manufactured and sold by celebrity hair stylist Chaz Dean and Guthy-Renker, the company behind Proactiv and other beauty products. More than 200 customers in 40 states have signed on to the class-action lawsuit, which claims that the shampoo — which the company calls a "cleansing conditioner"— causes bald spots, severe hair breakage, scalp irritation, and rashes
Pinkberry, the Santa Monica chain that helped introduce tart frozen yogurt to the masses, has been acquired by Kahala Brands, a restaurant franchising company. Kahala Brands, which owns quick-service restaurant names including Cold Stone Creamery and the Great Steak & Potato Co., issued a statement saying that Pinkberry is "an excellent strategic fit for our company." Pinkberry has more than 260 stores in 20 countries. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
PepsiCo isn’t waiting until the new year to make health-conscious resolutions. Bolstering its “better-for-you” commitment, the food and beverage giant this week unveiled revamped vending machines labeled Hello Goodness that will roll out in 2016 with a refreshed variety of healthy fare. The move follows the company’s support of the non-profit Non-GMO Project and decision to introduce low or no-cal and organic versions of existing products.
Krispy Kreme doesn’t want to be Starbucks. However, the chain is drawing inspiration from coffee shops as it looks to the future. In October, the donut chain opened a new location in Clemmons, North Carolina with some serious coffee shop vibes, including vintage signs, natural wood, free WiFi, and a redesigned ordering system and seating area. The concept store represents a major step forward in Krispy Kreme’s plan to increase coffee sales, which currently make up 5% of sales
Kohl's announced it will keep its doors open for more than 170 hours straight from 7 a.m. on Thursday, December 17 through 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Thursday, December 24 as an added convenience to holiday shoppers. In addition to extended store hours for last-minute shopping, customers will find exclusive savings opportunities on Super Saturday, December 19, and time-saving conveniences such as buy online, pick up in store for those last minute gifts.
Shazop could revolutionize shopping for high-end fashion online. It's a brand new comparison shopping site, where shoppers can select designer dresses, shoes, and handbags and from over sixty different retailers — such as Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, Shopbop, Nordstrom, and Macy's — and compare sizes and prices. The site keeps track of coupon codes for added discounts. Founder Andrea Marron, former Vice President of Digital at Nicole Miller, came up with the idea during her tenure at Nicole Miller.
Primark is revolutionizing fast fashion. The Irish teen retailer arrived in the United States this year. The retailer is known for its staggeringly cheap prices — some shirts are just $1.60! And now, Bloomberg Businessweek's Matthew Campbell reports, the fast fashion chain is continuing its expansion in the United States.
9. A brilliant teen built a vending machine for McDonald's Chicken McNuggets — and it's made entirely from Lego blocks
An American teen has created a fully functioning Chicken McNugget vending machine made entirely of Legos. The YouTuber, who showcases his work on his Youtube channel, Astonishing Studios, has become a sensation. In just one week, his Chicken McNugget video has garnered over 240,000 views.
Entrepreneurs who make it onto a "Shark Tank" episode have the opportunity to introduce their company to a viewing audience of 7 million potential customers. We looked through old episodes and asked the Sharks themselves about their most successful deals.
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