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The latest news on Shark Tank from Business Insider

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    Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff says it still feels surreal when he talks about his five-year-old company.

    After struggling for the first three years, Ring's smart video doorbell business has been on a wild ride, appearing on ABC's "Shark Tank," getting funded by Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, and becoming one of the hottest startups in the world.

    "It doesn't even feel real," Siminoff told Business Insider.

    And Ring's hot streak continues: On Wednesday, Ring announced it raised $61.2 million in funding from a group of investors led by the venture-capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers, bringing in one of the most successful Silicon Valley VC firms as an investor. Branson has also joined the latest round.

    "We're a real company, solving a real problem, creating real revenue," Siminoff said. "It's really about just building a good company that makes our users' lives better."

    Ring of security around your front door

    Ring makes a doorbell that lets you see who's at your door through your smartphone. Users can remotely see and talk to the person at the door, and even pretend they're at home when they're not — making it a convenient home-security device.

    The product may sound simple, but it's clearly filling a need. Siminoff says Ring is helping reduce home burglaries, and it's translating into huge sales growth as well.

    "The reality is that most crime in neighborhoods is daytime burglaries when no one's home," Siminoff said. "We've seen a significant drop in crime."

    Ring had "north of" $100 million in sales last year, growing by 12 times compared with the previous year, Siminoff said. In 2013, just before Siminoff went on "Shark Tank," Ring had only about $250,000 in revenue.

    He wouldn't comment on the latest valuation of his company, but it could be worth hundreds of millions of dollars given that it has raised over $100 million so far. It was valued at $60 million when it raised $28 million in August.

    Siminoff says he wasn't really looking for additional funding when Kleiner Perkins first reached out this year. But the VC firm saw the same kind of community forming around Ring as it saw around the driving app Waze (a Kleiner-backed startup that was acquired by Google for roughly $1 billion), and they quickly reached a deal, he says.

    Ring doorbell

    Best-funded 'Shark Tank' contestant ever

    With the new round of funding, Siminoff says, Ring is the best-funded and highest-valued "Shark Tank" business. That might be true, as even most of the successful "Shark Tank" contestants are generating less than $20 million in sales.

    And Siminoff wasn't even able to raise any money on "Shark Tank." None of the show's investors were impressed, and the one offer he got was for a royalty that would have taken away a portion of his sales forever.

    But Ring's sales instantly jumped after the "Shark Tank" appearance, Siminoff said, adding that the business got "at least $5 million in additional sales" as a result of it.

    "We'd either be out of business today if it wasn't for 'Shark Tank,'" Siminoff said. "I don't think we'd be where we are without that shot of adrenaline."

    Richard Branson as an investor

    RBransonRingBut the biggest benefit of going on "Shark Tank" was probably how it helped land Richard Branson as an early investor.

    After the "Shark Tank" episode, one of Ring's customers happened to be vacationing at Branson's island. Branson, who was apparently sitting next to that person, saw how he used Ring through his smartphone, and he was impressed.

    Siminoff and Branson soon connected, and in less than 48 hours Branson agreed to join in the $28 million round announced in August.

    Branson brings a lot to the table, Siminoff said, including his vast network and experience from running multiple businesses. But Siminoff said the best part of having him was learning from his long-term vision.

    "He's only talking about the 10- and 15-year stuff," Siminoff said. "He's really one of those more thoughtful and strategic investors that we have."

    SEE ALSO: This perfect SAT scorer got rejected by the Ivy Leagues, but got on 'Shark Tank' and is now backed by Mark Cuban

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Richard Branson gets fresh water on his private island

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    lori greiner

    Lori Greiner has seen hundreds of pitches from entrepreneurs on "Shark Tank," but she's also been regularly giving pitches herself since patenting her first invention in 1997.

    With more than 400 inventions and 120 patents to her name, as well as a hands-on approach to a diverse portfolio of investments in small businesses, Greiner has worked to become a reliable salesperson to some of the world's biggest retailers, like Bed Bath & Beyond and Target.

    And as the "Queen of QVC," her pitches to customers practically guarantee that the product sells out in a matter of minutes.

    In her book "Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!," she explains that every great pitch — to investors, distributors, or customers — contains the same elements.

    We've summarized Greiner's points on what makes a pitch work, and included some comments she made at an event last year announcing her partnership with Staples.

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban shares his top 5 tips for professionals in their 20s

    It's as concise as possible.

    "A great pitch is when a person can describe what their business or product is within two sentences," Greiner said at the Staples event.

    Buyers and investors are "smart, savvy, and expert at summing up a product's potential at a quick glance," Greiner writes. They don't need hand-holding, but they need to know why they should part with their money within a minute or two or else they'll stop listening.

    It's exciting.

    "Any time you can make a buyer laugh or engage is a step closer to getting a deal," Greiner writes.

    Draw the investors in with enthusiasm and passion. Remember that whether you're on "Shark Tank" or pitching to a single venture capitalist, your audience has spent either little or no time thinking about your product, which you may think is the greatest on the market.

    If you exude confidence and energy, "you could pull a buyer out of a post-lunch stupor faster than any Red Bull," Greiner writes.

    It makes the seller as appealing as the product.

    "I look at who the entrepreneur is," Greiner said at the Staples event. "For me, it's everything."

    An investor will be paying attention to how well you listen, and if you possess qualities that indicate you'd be someone easy to work with.

    If entrepreneurs don't listen to questions asked during a pitch, "they're not going to hear you down the road, either, and they're not going to be a good partner."

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    barbara corcoran

    PiperWai cofounders Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner were underdogs when they pitched their all-natural deodorant to the investors on "Shark Tank" last summer.

    They could claim $100,000 in sales — not bad for a company just under a year old — but it was far from enough to convince most of the Sharks that PiperWai could compete in such a crowded field.

    Barbara Corcoran admired Edelstein and Ribner and decided to make a deal for $50,000 in exchange for 25% of the company. When the episode aired in December, the tiny company made a big splash. In the past three months, PiperWai has brought in more than $2 million in sales.

    The sudden explosive success known as "the 'Shark Tank' effect" can actually be a curse to a business whose owners aren't prepared for it, and so Corcoran stepped in to guide them. Her advice to Edelstein and Ribner, she told Business Insider at a Zebit event on Tuesday: "Don't spend the money. Lock it up. Pretend you're poor."

    PiperWai wasn't built on a major investment. "What got them from Point A to Point B is not money, but creativity, intelligence, and chutzpah," Corcoran said. "And that's exactly what's going to build them a huge empire in the future."

    piper wai

    Corcoran has also taught them the value of moving quickly and boldly. When the original PiperWai manufacturer couldn't keep up with the spike in demand following the "Shark Tank" episode premiere, resulting in weeks of back orders, Corcoran encouraged the cofounders to fire their unreliable partner and find a new supplier.

    "And fortunately for me, they're women that listen," Corcoran said. "I can't say that about all my entrepreneurs."

    She said that many "Shark Tank" entrepreneurs become reckless with their money during the sales spike following their episode premiere, as if the "Shark Tank" buzz is everlasting. It's why she's telling them to remain disciplined and focused, and to not let the flow of income distract them from building a foundation that can be scaled.

    "They'll have a huge business — you wait and watch," Corcoran said.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Lori Greiner explains the 7 things she looks for in a pitch

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Barbara Corcoran uses 'manterruptions' to beat the other sharks

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    barbara corcoran

    When Barbara Corcoran sold her real-estate firm for $66 million in 2001, it was Manhattan's second-largest private real-estate company and had given her the reputation as a power player.

    But in the mid- to late 1980s, Corcoran and the Corcoran Group were struggling. It's why, she told Business Insider at a recent event for the personal-finance resource Zebit, she felt the money she made in 1991 was burning a hole in her pocket.

    "The best money that I ever spent was my first $67,000 profit ... after I had seven or eight years of absolutely no profit, and barely living hand to mouth myself," she said. "And when I had that $67,000 profit, I did the most intelligent thing anyone could ever do: I blew it. Immediately."

    She bought herself and each of her parents a car — she remembers getting her dad a new Lincoln Continental and her mom a new Mercury Cougar convertible and sending them down to their Florida condo. "And it was probably their happiest and my happiest day in my life," she said.

    While Corcoran now tells the entrepreneurs she invests in through "Shark Tank" to keep a level head and invest their profits back into their growing business, she thinks there are instances in which you can make an exception and use a new stream of cash to "invest in yourself."

    "My advice is when you do make a killing, spend it on something you can look back at, laugh about, and smile about versus being extremely educated and spending it wisely!" she said before laughing. If you're in a position in which you and your business won't be severely hindered if you decide to make a big purchase for your own enjoyment, she said, then you should go for it.

    It's why Corcoran doesn't regret splurging on some new cars back in '91 to raise her spirits and give back to her parents.

    "Invest in the things that have meaning in life, because it's not so much about dollar value, it's more about psychic value," she said. "And believe me, that was probably the happiest money I've ever spent in my life."

    SEE ALSO: Barbara Corcoran shares the best advice she gave 'Shark Tank' entrepreneurs who made $2 million in 3 months

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Barbara Corcoran uses 'manterruptions' to beat the other sharks

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    vengo shark tank

    Vengo Labs founding CEO Brian Shimmerlik not only had the confidence to demand that "Shark Tank" investors Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner adjust their joint offer before he would accept their $2 million, he had the tact to pull it off.

    Shimmerlik and his cofounder, Steven Bofill, left the Tank with $2 million in venture debt, to be paid over three years at 7% interest, in return for just 3% equity of their digital-vending-machine company.

    Before arriving on set last summer for a Season 7 taping, Bofill told Business Insider he "never thought they'd get to a deal like that.

    Shimmerlik and Bofill entered the pitch room seeking $2 million in exchange for 12.5% equity. They explained how they started Vengo Labs in 2011 as a way to revolutionize the vending-machine space.

    Each Vengo machine is a compact, wall-mounted device that carries six products it advertises with video demonstrations and text.

    The intention is to create something akin to an online-shopping experience but with an immediate reward, located in places where target consumers spend time already — like college dormitories.

    The two entrepreneurs were able to garner interest in their idea from high-profile investors in their hometown of New York City, including Gary Vaynerchuk, David Tisch, and the NYU Venture Innovation Fund.

    Before their "Shark Tank" appearance, they raised $3.4 million over a seed and Series A round.

    vengoVengo operates by selling a unit to a vending-machine company for $2,500, breaking even, and then charges the purchaser of the unit a $20 monthly fee for access to the machine's cloud-based software and maintenance insurance.

    The owner of each unit can then arrange with Vengo to place their own products in the machine, as well as make use of the company's network of partners, including brands like Hershey's and skin-care company Kiehl's.

    Each brand is charged a monthly fee of $200 per unique product per machine per month — not a cheap price, but one that Shimmerlik said comes with an attractive margin for each partner.

    Shimmerlik and Bofill told the Sharks that their business model would lead to $1 million in revenue in 2015, at a loss of $300,000, but that their growth would cause them to break even the next year.

    Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec didn't want to get involved, but O'Leary kicked off negotiations among himself, Greiner, and Shimmerlik. Here's a summary of how it played out:

    • Kevin O'Leary: Would you like to make a debt deal?
    • Brian Shimmerlik: We don't have any, but I'm open to it.
    • O'Leary: I'll give you $2 million in venture debt as a three-year loan at 7% interest, and I'll get 6% equity in return for the risk. The three years will be sufficient to test proof of concept.
    • Shimmerlik: How did you reach that 6%?
    • O'Leary: I just asked for it. It seems fair.
    • Lori Greiner: I like the concept, but I think the design needs work to be more appealing and useful.
    • Shimmerlik: Kevin and Lori, would you be interested in splitting a deal?
    • O'Leary/Greiner: Sure.
    • Shimmerlik: We like the debt terms, but the 6% is much too high. We'll give 1%.
    • O'Leary/Greiner: We'd be working too closely with you for just half a percent each. No way.
    • Shimmerlik: That's my final counter.
    • O'Leary: We can do 3% equity.
    • Greiner: No, we should each get 2%. Let's have 4%.
    • Shimmerlik: We've already worked with investors and we know that's below market value.
    • O'Leary: Sharks can't be held to those same standards. We are much more involved than a typical investor and can get you tremendously valuable exposure. And you'll be getting not one Shark, but two.
    • Shimmerlik: That's a good point. I'll make just one more counter: 2.5% equity.
    • O'Leary/Greiner: We'll do 3.5%.
    • Shimmerlik: That's still too much for us. My final offer is 2.5%. We'd love to work with you.
    • O'Leary/Greiner: Our last offer is 3%.
    • Shimmerlik: Deal.

    Shimmerlik told us that the negotiation process went well for him because there was mutual respect between himself and the investors rather than condescension, and that it was fun working out a deal. "I could tell O'Leary loved it," Shimmerlik said.

    Following their "Shark Tank" appearance, the Vengo Labs team secured an additional $2 million from Armory Square Ventures in October. Vengo is planning to use its war chest to expand its reach to 1,000 units in four cities across four continents, and expect to make $2 million in revenue this year.

    Shimmerlik explained that what makes the partnership with O'Leary and Greiner so appealing is not only their star power, but also their investments in a wide variety of Vengo-friendly products, like O'Leary's Bottle Breacher bottle opener.

    "It's wild," Shimmerlik said of the "Shark Tank" experience. "Totally."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran says blowing $67,000 was probably the happiest day of her life

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Robert Herjavec on the challenges standing in the way of entrepreneurs

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    barbara corcoran

    When Barbara Corcoran set off on her own after college, moving from New Jersey to New York City to try her hand at selling real estate, she lived off money she didn't have.

    Between bouncing checks and charging purchases she knew she wouldn't be able to pay within the month, she was a terrible spender.

    "By my late 20s, I realized I couldn't afford the things I really desired," Corcoran told Business Insider at a recent event for personal finance resource Zebit.

    "And by my early 30s I realized I had to work like crazy to get what I wanted rather than spending it before I had it."

    Only then was she able to become a Manhattan real estate power player as the head of the Corcoran Group.

    The advice she wished someone had told her in her 20s, she said: Spend even a single week where you only use cash, charging nothing to a credit card.

    "When you put it on a credit card, somehow in that moment it seems like great value, but when you're putting cash out — you have limited cash, what you've earned that week — you're surprised at how quickly you realize how much money you're truly wasting," she explained.

    There's plenty of research that suggests the average person spends more when purchasing something with credit rather than cash, including a study from Dun & Bradstreet that found people spend 12%-18% more on credit.

    Business Insider reporter Kathleen Elkins tried the cash-only experiment in 2015, writing about it after two weeks and ultimately stretching it to a full six months. She found that she was able to be more conscious of her budget than ever before, because there was a more tangible feeling as she handed over her cash or saw it deducted from her checking account.

    The point of going cash-only is to build the muscle memory required to spend only what you can pay off at the end of the month, even if you're using credit cards for their flexibility and benefits.

    "And that's the lesson that I wish somebody had brought to me earlier," Corcoran said.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran says blowing $67,000 was probably the happiest day of her life

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: How Barbara Corcoran uses 'manterruptions' to beat the other sharks

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    Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec tells us why he thinks America is already great.
    Produced by Ruchika Agarwal, Joe Avella and Richard Feloni

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    surprise ride shark tank

    For the first time in seven seasons of "Shark Tank," one of the Sharks has returned to invest in a company whose founders missed a deal during their appearance on the show.

    In the latest episode of "Beyond the Tank," the "behind-the-scenes" companion show to "Shark Tank," it was revealed that Kevin O'Leary partnered with sisters Donna and Rosy Khalife, founders of the Washington, DC startup Surprise Ride.

    "Now I own a piece of this company, I like what they've done so far — I'm going to pour gasoline on this fire, get this thing to $10 million in sales," O'Leary said.

    The Khalifes founded Surprise Ride, a craft kit subscription service for kids ages 6-11, in 2012, shortly after Donna received her MBA from Harvard Business School. Donna serves as CEO and Rosy as COO.

    When they appeared on Season 5 of "Shark Tank" in 2013, they had acquired 220 subscribers over four months and were on track for $500,000 in annual sales for the next year. They were seeking an investment of $110,000 in exchange for 10% of the company, but the investors thought the $1.1 million valuation was unwarranted. Robert Herjavec offered the $110,000, but for 25%, and he became frustrated when the Khalifes negotiated harder. They left without a deal.

    A couple years later, they agreed to appear on "Beyond the Tank" under the pretense that they were to be another example of founders who missed a deal on "Shark Tank" but flourished after the experience; they had no idea that O'Leary, who was very interested in the product back in Season 5 but found the valuation much too high, had kept an eye on the company's progress.

    Since the "Shark Tank" appearance, Surprise Ride not only exceeded its goal of $500,000 in annual revenue in 2014, but surpassed $1 million in annual sales last year. The company also became profitable, and the Khalifes are using profits to grow their team.

    surprise rideIn classic reality show fashion, the "Beyond the Tank" producers had O'Leary make an unexpected appearance at the Surprise Ride headquarters.

    His offer was far from a done deal, and he told them it was completely non-negotiable: He would invest $50,000 for 2.5% of the company, and would profit from a 6% royalty on every product sold until he made $150,000, at which the royalty would disappear. The sisters hesitated a moment, but then happily agreed to it.

    Rosy told DCInno's Eric Hal Schwartz that the $50,000 was intended solely as a way for O'Leary to kick off a partnership. "Fifty grand isn't much compared to what a startup needs to grow, but it's not about investment in terms of monetary value," she said. "It's about Kevin's marketing value. That's worth millions in itself. We're excited to be working with him on customer acquisition and growth."

    O'Leary, who goes by the nickname "Mr. Wonderful," told the Khalifes that Surprise Ride would become the newest member of his Something Wonderful Family, a collection of his favorite "Shark Tank" investments that he markets together for family-friendly event planning.

    O'Leary said another reason he wanted to bring Surprise Ride into his portfolio was because he realized over the past year that his most profitable "Shark Tank" investments have female CEOs. He told the Khalifes that he's not exactly sure why that is, but he's at least found from his own experience that his female CEOs are less volatile and better planners than his male leaders.

    "Surprise Ride is at an interesting juncture," O'Leary said on "Beyond the Tank.""I think these girls have learned a lot since they appeared on 'Shark Tank' and I think they've learned from time that you don't want to take an opportunity and squander it."

    SEE ALSO: How this 'Shark Tank' entrepreneur negotiated hard for a $2 million deal with Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This is the greatest business lesson 'Shark Tank’s' Kevin O’Leary ever learned

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    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.

    SEE ALSO: 14 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'

    DON'T MISS: The 18 best 'Shark Tank' pitches of all time

    Scrub Daddy

    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.

    Tipsy Elves

    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

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    Shark Tank

    Kim Kaupe and her co-founder nabbed a $725,000 deal from the Sharks. Here’s how she prepared for the live taping.

    With 8 million weekly viewers and primetime positioning, "Shark Tank" is often referred to as the entrepreneur’s Super Bowl.

    It is a 6-9 minute spot worth millions of impressions and web traffic, that can paint your company as one that can swim or one that will sink.

    Prepping for such exposure for your company (not to mention yourself) isn’t easy especially as you are bombarded with insecurities, self-doubt, and sometimes a case of stage fright.

    Below are four steps I took to prepare to hold my own in the tank.

    SEE ALSO: Why Kevin O'Leary invested in these entrepreneurs nearly 3 years after they missed a deal with him on 'Shark Tank'

    1. Dress to impress in something you're comfortable in

    Dressing up for special occasions is a widely accepted practice, whether it means putting on a new tie or a new blouse. However, I purposely committed the ultimate fashion faux pas on "Shark Tank": I wore a dress I had previously worn on camera.

    Not only had I worn it on camera for this highly rated segment for Entrepreneur, but I was also photographed in it at the United Nations. While some may balk, I used this as an advantage to settle my nerves.

    Whether it is a big meeting, media appearance or public speaking opportunity, your mind can begin racing. "Is this wrinkling in a strange way?""Is this color too muted?""Am I sweating visibly?"

    Having already worn this look on camera, I was able to reference some historical facts. I knew exactly what I was going to look like in the Tank and exactly how I would photograph for the ABC promo shots. Having this reference point allowed my appearance fears to vanish pre-taping.

    2. Eat and hydrate

    Whether you are on "Shark Tank" or presenting to a room full of people, nothing sends more panic signals to your brain than your bladder and your stomach.

    Yet the day of our taping, the only thing I ate was a GoMacro bar I had packed. Vegan, gluten-free and high in protein, I knew my GoMacro could — in special circumstances such as this — last me until dinner.

    I also knew I had eaten them a thousand times. This way, when my stomach was tangling in knots, I didn’t have to wonder whether the tuna salad I had at craft services was bad or if the pizza just didn’t settle well.

    In addition to having a few cups of water the day of the taping, I also gave my body a boost of caffeine by consuming half a cup of Coke 30 minutes before going to the sound stage. The extra jolt, paired with my excitement, gave me just enough punch to make sure I didn’t come off as soft-spoken or intimidated. 

    3. Prepare to be uncomfortable

    I knew everything about the "Shark Tank" experience was going to be new and slightly uncomfortable. Brittany and I had to block off 25 potential tape days in our calendar to be on call and ready to fly to LA within five days.

    We were going to be staying at a hotel we didn’t choose, around people we didn’t know. We had no planned schedule and very little information about what to expect.

    To prepare for all of the unknowns, I decided a few weeks prior to our hold dates I would begin making myself uncomfortable on purpose.

    Whether it was signing up for a new exercise class and positioning myself at the front or talking to someone in the elevator, I tried to put myself in places and positions that made me cringe.

    The great news is by the time we got to LA I had put myself in so many uncomfortable positions that everything we experienced seemed relatively tame. Never understatement the power of conquering small fears!

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran discusses her most profitable investment to date. She talks about Grace and Lace, a clothing company which makes products such as leg warmers and boot socks.

    Produced by Joe Daunt

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    A lucky couple got to spend a night in a shark tank. They won this weird accommodation thanks to a recent Airbnb contest.

    Story by Ian Phillips and editing by Alana Yzola

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    Angela Watts' mother saved $10,000 for her and her fiancé Steve's wedding, but instead of using it to get hitched, they put $8,000 of it into their surfing company, Slyde Handboards, ahead of their "Shark Tank" pitch last June.

    The couple has since been married, and the Watts told Business Insider that since their pitch aired in the latest episode of the show's seventh season, "We haven't been able to keep up with the orders, because they just keep coming in."

    Mark Cuban and guest Shark Ashton Kutcher split a $200,000 investment for a 22% stake in the company, and the deal closed last November.

    Angela Watts told The Orange County Register that the deal changed their lives by easing their struggle to scrape by and allowing them to move operations from their bedroom in Dana Point, California, to a proper office in San Clemente, several miles south.

    In the Tank, the Watts sought $200,000 for 15% equity for their company, which Steve founded in 2010. He grew up bodysurfing in South Africa, and he enjoyed using random flat objects, like fast-food trays, as hand planes to help him gain more control over a wave as he glided across it. It's a practice that's been around for decades, but Watts wanted to create a hand plane with the same careful design companies put into surfboards.

    The average Slyde hand board retails for about $170. Here's one of them in action:

    Watts' future wife, Angela, joined Slyde in 2013 in a role similar to co-CEO, and the two committed full-time to Slyde and invested roughly $40,000 of their own money into the company — their life savings. To get the company rolling, the couple lived off credit-card debt (which they're still paying off) and didn't pay themselves a salary.

    They applied three times to "Shark Tank," and when they finally were accepted, their total sales from 2011 to the first half of 2015 were $356,000, and they expected to end 2015 with $295,000 in annual revenue.

    The numbers were a bit low for the Sharks, but Cuban wasn't worried, because one of his best investments from the show has been Tower Paddle Boards, which is highly profitable and bringing in around $10 million in annual revenue. He considered Slyde Handboards to be a perfect complement to his surfing business.

    Kutcher, whose investments include Uber and Airbnb, said that the surfing space was way out of his element, but he could see himself using the product and saw potential for big sales.

    Kutcher said he'd be happy to join his buddy Cuban in a deal for 25% equity, which the Watts were able to negotiate down to 22% after both Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec made offers. The Watts made a deal with Kutcher and Cuban after considering the value of their talents and networks.

    mark cuban ashton kutcher

    "We could not have asked for better partners," the Watts told us via email. "Both have been incredible in helping us in not only refining our message and brand but helping us focus on the right things to grow the business. Ashton and his team are social media wizards and Ashton himself has some really awesome ideas for the brand and Mark and his team have brought a level of business knowledge to our team that any Fortune 500 company would kill for."

    Since closing their deal last year, the Watts have regularly stayed in touch with Cuban and Kutcher via email, and they have monthly conference calls with Kutcher and his team to discuss strategy.

    Cuban has also hooked Slyde up with Amazon Exclusives to give them continued exposure.

    The Watts said that Kutcher's comment, "This is cool 'cause you're cool," gave them confidence that he and Cuban would respect their brand.

    "The attitude both of them displayed on the show toward keeping to our roots was a huge reason for us choosing them," they said.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran explains why every 20-something should spend a week using only cash

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    NOW WATCH: Robert Herjavec on Ashton Kutcher's ‘Shark Tank' debut

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    Robert Herjavec 9255 Doheny Dr West Hollywood

    Robert Herjavec, one of the star investors on ABC's popular "Shark Tank" reality show, just made a quick million bucks on his latest investment: a condo in West Hollywood.

    Herjavec paid $3.15 million for the two-bedroom apartment in a tower complex just off the Sunset Strip in January of 2015, records show. He just closed the sale for $4.15 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.

    A Canadian entrepreneur, investor, and author, Herjavec has appeared on the ABC series since 2009, investing over $16 million in companies like Tipsy Elves and Breathometer. In more personal news, he recently became engaged to his "Dancing with the Stars" dance partner Kym Johnson. After the proposal, they celebrated with a "big surprise party" back at the condo, according to ABC News.

    The 17th-floor aerie has soaring city, ocean, and sunset views and a spacious terrace. See inside the shark's sleek former digs, below.

    SEE ALSO: The marketing genius behind Beyoncé has put his chic Tribeca apartment up for sale for $3.5 million

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    The 1,627-square-foot condo is on the 17th floor of Sierra Towers, a high-rise just off the Sunset Strip in West Hollywood.

    The views are panoramic. It's the only condo tower in the area.

    The two-bedroom is a southeast-facing corner unit, giving it enviable vistas from all angles.

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    brightwheel shark tank

    There's never an easy time to leave a comfortable job to start a business, but it's especially risky when your daughter is six months old and your wife is on unpaid maternity leave.

    That's the gamble San Francisco-based entrepreneur Dave Vasen took in June 2014 when he left an executive position at AltSchool to found KidCasa, a preschool management service that later became Brightwheel. It's paid off.

    After a year of development and the branding relaunch, Vasen raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Eniac Ventures and RRE Ventures in June 2015. Just a few weeks later, Vasen saw "Shark Tank" was having tryouts down the street from his office and, because he had the idea of applying in the back of his head for some time, decided to improvise an audition.

    He was called back for filming in September, and his appearance was finally broadcast Friday in the latest episode of the show's seventh season. It revealed that he raised another $600,000 from investors Mark Cuban and guest Shark Chris Sacca, the billionaire investor best known for his lucrative early deals with Twitter, Uber, and Instagram.

    "I'll never forget hugging them after the deal," Vasen told Business Insider. "I have such admiration for them."

    Vasen entered the Tank seeking $400,000 for a 4% stake in Brightwheel, giving his company a $10 million valuation. He was hopped up on two Red Bulls he chugged while waiting in the trailer the producers gave him.

    Vasen explained to the Sharks that as the father of a toddler and as someone who's spent the majority of his career in the education space, he's seen firsthand that the operators of a preschool are placed in a uniquely challenging situation. "They're not just managing a classroom, but managing a business, too," he said.

    Brightwheel is a service that allows preschool owners and employees to monitor both their paperwork and their students, with updates linked to a smartphone app for parents.

    Here's the app in action: 

    Vasen launched the pilot program in the fall of 2014 with 10 preschools, and as he stood in the Tank he had recruited 2,500 schools across all 50 states.

    Brightwheel is free to download, but a premium account is available in packages ranging from $40 to $200 per month, depending on how many accounts will be linked together for a school. Vasen told the investors his projected revenue was $1 million for 2015, $6 million for 2016, and $20 million for 2017.

    In the edited version of the pitch that aired, it appears that Vasen captured the attention of a few of the Sharks immediately, but he told Business Insider that the full experience — which lasted over an hour — was much more stressful.

    "It got pretty negative pretty quickly," he said. Daymond John and Mark Cuban have explained repeatedly that they're always on the lookout for "gold diggers"— entrepreneurs with no intention of making a deal who use their "Shark Tank" appearance as a free commercial.

    Vasen realized that he was putting the entire reputation of his company on the line, and that if he bungled his pitch, he would be embarrassing himself, his family, and his other investors. He explained to the Sharks that he was turning to them to get an adviser on his side who would put in much more work than the typical investor, and that even though he had accomplished a level of success with a small team, he needed the help to scale.

    That was satisfactory for Kevin O'Leary, who opened up negotiations by offering $400,000 for 10% equity, cutting the company's valuation down from $10 million to $4 million.

    By this point, Cuban was sufficiently convinced Vasen was the real deal and began considering an offer because he realized "my kid's preschool desperately needed this exact type of software," he told us.

    Sacca jumped in, dismissing O'Leary's sharp devaluation, but saying he needed to invest on the same terms as the seed round, where the company was valued at $8.2 million. That meant his $400,000 would get him 4.85% equity.

    Vasen quickly told Sacca the deal sounded good to him, but that he wanted to see if anyone else wanted to split it.

    Sacca mocked the other Sharks, saying that they would be helpful to Brightwheel if Vasen was looking to make some T-shirts or get something into Bed Bath & Beyond. "What do you think you need from the rest of the line here?" he asked.

    Cuban was offended. "Are you serious? Are you really that clueless?"

    He jabbed back, saying that when Sacca affiliated himself with a company, "it adds a lot of street cred to his little part of the world. Once you get outside of that little bubble called Silicon Valley, it doesn't mean sh--."

    "Uber, Twitter, Instagram operate in their own little world," Sacca said sarcastically. "I've never been outside of San Francisco. Sorry."

    Vasen said he was thinking "this is surreal" as the two investors he had set his eyes on, Cuban and Sacca, spent minutes yelling at each other from opposite ends of the panel.

    mark cuban chris sacca shark tank

    Vasen kept his focus and after some more back-and-forth, offered Sacca and Cuban a joint deal: $600,000 for 6%, split evenly, at the originally proposed $10 million valuation. Sacca said he'd compromise by doing that at a $9 million valuation, meaning he and Cuban would each get a 3.34% stake for $300,000.

    Cuban said that worked for him, and Vasen took the deal.

    And though Sacca kicked off a spat with Cuban that genuinely got both riled up, he told Business Insider that he and Cuban are old friends and that when Sacca took Cuban's offer last year to appear on a few episodes of "Shark Tank,""I agreed to go on the show so I wouldn't miss the opportunity to bust his balls in front of millions of Americans. There is no doubt he adds an incredible amount of value to his companies. But I'm there to make sure he doesn't get a free ride anymore."

    As for why he invested in Brightwheel, Sacca said, "My best entrepreneurs always have one thing in common: They radiate a sense of the inevitability of their success. Dave didn't need to sell us. Instead you can tell he just knows that Brightwheel is going to win the space. That's simply irresistible.

    "Plus, in the same way that Uber solves a problem for both drivers and riders, I love how Brightwheel dramatically improves the lives of hardworking teachers, thrills parents, and empowers school administrators," he added. "You nail a solution for those three groups and you've got a huge business on your hands."

    SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Chris Sacca explains the 4 key elements of his investing philosophy

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    NOW WATCH: At Sam Adams, it’s OK to tell your boss ‘f--- you’

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    robert herjavec

    Choosing a business partner is often compared to entering into a marriage.

    Cofounders of a small business need to be able to tolerate each other through sleepless nights and withstand the extreme highs and lows that come with running a company.

    When a partnership fails, it's often so total that the personal relationship between the cofounders is shattered, as well.

    As one of the "Shark Tank" investors, Robert Herjavec has spent the past seven years coaching entrepreneurs he's invested in, including partnerships between best friends, family members, and those that were strictly professional.

    Business Insider recently spoke with Herjavec during an event for the Small Business Revolution program, and he said that there are three main things entrepreneurs need to be conscious of before entering a business partnership:

    You need to share a vision and get along well with each other

    Whether your business partner is a family member, friend, or an associate, you need to have a strong personal relationship. Recognize that you will be likely be spending countless hours with this person and will be making decisions that profoundly affect your lives.

    You need to be able to trust each other with your livelihoods, and agree from the outset what you both want to accomplish.

    If your partnership is a marriage, then the business is your baby.

    "The business is a living, breathing thing," Herjavec said, "and you've got to get along."

    You need to determine who has the final say

    "It's hard to get willful, tough people to work together, and it comes down to the partnership agreement," Herjavec said. "It's very difficult to have many captains of a single ship."

    He explained that a co-CEO approach can work in certain situations, but only if clear guidelines are agreed upon regarding who has final say in what areas.

    You need to be able to let the person go if it doesn't work out

    "Kevin [O'Leary] on 'Shark Tank,' always says it best, 'If you're going to go into a small business, you have to be willing to fire your mother,'" Herjavec said. He doesn't know how literally you should take this advice, "but there's an element of truthfulness to that."

    Both sides of the partnership need to agree upfront that once they join together, the business becomes their main priority, and they need to do whatever it takes for it to succeed. If either side is made too uncomfortable by the prospect of having to fire a friend or family member as a business partner, then they shouldn't enter into the partnership.

    SEE ALSO: How the founder of a preschool management app cleverly negotiated a $600,000 deal with Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca

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    NOW WATCH: How Barbara Corcoran uses 'manterruptions' to beat the other sharks

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    "Shark Tank" co-star and entrepreneur Daymond John talks about the early days when he was broke and starting FUBU. He tells us what advantages being broke gave him when he started out.

    Produced by Joe Avella & Richard Feloni

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    robert herjavec

    Long before he founded the global cybersecurity firm Herjavec Group or became a celebrity investor through "Shark Tank," Robert Herjavec was a young guy with an English degree calling people to pay their bills.

    When he graduated from the University of Toronto in 1984, he had no idea where he wanted to take his life.

    But because he wanted to avoid getting berated by his father, who had fled the Communist regime of Yugoslavia to provide his family with a better life, Herjavec worked at the first job that would take him. A newspaper Wanted ad for a bad-debt collector didn't require experience, and that was enough to catch his interest.

    "If you're thinking that being a bad-debt collector was not the best way to launch a business career, you're wrong," Herjavec writes in his new book "You Don't Have to Be a Shark.""I learned a lot from the job, and some lessons — valuable lessons — stay with me today."

    Here are the two fundamental insights that allow him to look back fondly on the six months spent at his unglamorous first job.

    Great salespeople focus energy only on serious prospects

    Herjavec's job entailed eight-hour days of calling people from a debtors list and convincing them to pay back even a portion of the money they owed. After struggling at the outset, Herjavec writes, he did some industry research and discovered that roughly 20% of the people on each list would never pay any of their debt.

    He decided to avoid the "tire kickers and window shoppers" of that 20% he writes. "True, many of these people can be converted into buyers with a lot of skill and effort," he explains, but that would be a waste of his time. He found cues that indicated whether someone was willing to have a conversation or not, and would immediately move on from those who he knew would stonewall him.

    Empathy is often more effective than aggression when it comes to making a sale

    When the other side is in a position of power, whether they're a potential client, your boss, or a debtor, aggressively exerting yourself to convince them to make a decision in your favor is usually perceived as a threat and compels the other side to defend themselves, Herjavec argues.

    At the collection agency, he quickly learned that "threats and anger produced nothing." Instead, "I wanted to learn whatever I could about their lifestyle, get a sense of their values, and judge their expectations. In other words, I was looking to build a relationship between us just deep enough for them to respond to an offer I might make."

    By easing the tension between salesman and prospect by getting the other side to talk about themself, he was able to toss aside the "sheriff-versus-outlaw scenario," he writes, and then make them an offer — where he would stop calling if they paid half the debt owed, for example — that made both sides happy.

    After a very successful six months, Herjavec was ready to move on. When he started his first business in 1990, the lessons he learned calling up people to pay their bills proved to be an invaluable training ground for learning the art of the sale, whether he was selling his services or even himself as someone to invest in.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Robert Herjavec outlines the 3 things to know before taking on a business partner

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    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Robert Herjavec says only Americans think there are no opportunities in America

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    robert herjavec

    Millions of Americans watch "Shark Tank" each week because it's a reality show that has genuinely real stakes, with entrepreneurs pitching their companies to a panel of investors who can potentially change their lives.

    The series has been huge for the personal brands of each of the six investors and has yielded investments that have made them millions of dollars, but they need to spend as little time as possible in the Los Angeles studio because their businesses are still their primary responsibilities.

    To compromise, the show's producers have worked out a schedule that allows an entire season of about 30 episodes to be shot over 17 days. The current, seventh season was split into a session early last summer and then early last fall. Each day on set lasts 12 hours, beginning at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., and shooting is done in three-day splits separated by an off-day.

    In his new book "You Don't Have to be a Shark," investor Robert Herjavec reveals that each of these three days has a distinct atmosphere, and the day an entrepreneur pitches to them on affects their chances of getting a deal — as well as how the Sharks interact with each other.

    Day 1

    "The first day is generally a good one," Herjavec writes. "We reacquaint ourselves with each other and get a buzz from routine preparations, trading gossip, catching up on each other's careers, and talking with crew members in the studio.

    Herjavec notes that the nature of the show requires their full attention, and that at the start of each three-day cycle they are rewiring their brains to forget about whatever is happening back at their companies or even their personal lives.

    To help get into this mindset, the Sharks deliberately play up their personas, Herjavec explains. "For the first few hours of day one Kevin [O'Leary] snarls a little more, Mark [Cuban] is pushier, Lori [Greiner] sharpens her TV smarts, Barbara [Corcoran] plays her strict den mother role with greater relish, and Daymond [John] seems to rise even farther above it all," he writes. "I tend to smile more easily, finding it all entertaining and refreshing."

    So, depending on which of the Sharks connects to an entrepreneur's pitch, either with enthusiasm or distaste, landing a Day 1 spot can result in a slightly exaggerated reception.

    Day 2

    "Day two is inevitably the best," Herjavec says. The Sharks aren't distracted by what's happening back at their office and they're not concerned about hamming it up. They're acutely focused on making good deals.

    "Those twelve-hour studio sessions have become our reality, and nothing intrudes on our assessment of the pitches (and the people making them)," he writes.

    Day 3

    Day three presents the biggest challenge to entrepreneurs because it's the least enjoyable for the Sharks.

    shark tank schollyAs the day progresses, Herjavec says, "it becomes difficult to keep our minds off whatever we hope or fear is happening back at the office. It also becomes trickier to overlook little annoyances that were easy to shrug off a day or two earlier, when they might have earned a smile or a joke tossed between us for a laugh."

    The investors start to itch to get back to their companies, and they're more likely to think about how cold, hungry, and miserable they are in the studio, Herjavec says. The producers enjoy the third day, he argues, because the ways the Sharks either attack an entrepreneur giving a weak pitch or attack each other over a deal when they're in this mood makes for great television.

    That's what happened in Season 6, for example, when Herjavec yelled at Greiner and John for giving a "handout" to an entrepreneur he determined they felt sorry for, before storming off the set, with similarly disgusted Cuban and O'Leary not far behind him.

    "Three days don't represent just the maximum number of days we can stay away from our businesses; it's the maximum number of days we can do our jobs as Sharks and still remain functional," Herjavec writes. "Not to mention amiable and courteous with each other."

    SEE ALSO: 14 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'

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    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Robert Herjavec knows what to do when everything is against you

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    chris sacca shark tank hamilton abc

    Frequent "Shark Tank" guest judge and billionaire tech mogul Chris Sacca is saying that he didn't throw a tantrum after being turned away from "Hamilton."

    Sacca denied a report that he allegedly threw a fit when he and his wife, Chrystal English, were denied admission into Broadway's biggest hit show when it was discovered that the tickets he bought from StubHub were counterfeit.

    According to the New York Post, Sacca didn't take no for an answer when he was denied entry because of the fake tickets.

    The newspaper's source said that Sacca repeatedly asked, “Do you know who I am?”

    “He was getting really angry at the ticket scanner,” the eyewitness said of the alleged encounter, describing the mogul's tone as "condescending." “He said he was a ‘shark’ on ‘Shark Tank’ and warned it wouldn’t be good if they couldn’t get in."

    The unnamed source said that Sacca proceeded to cause a scene with the person scanning tickets, and then asked for a manager. The theater's higher-up also told Sacca he couldn't get in and warned him about buying secondhand tickets.

    Sacca took to Twitter Monday and called the story "bulls--- gossip" and said it "didn't happen" on Twitter.


    Sacca — who, through his venture capital fund Lowercase Capital, was an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and Kickstarter — said he took selfies with the theater's staff and threw the blame on StubHub, a digital person-to-person ticket marketplace.


    A StubHub spokesman told the New York Post that it blamed “seller error,” and added that the company has reached out “to apologize and get [Sacca] back to a show.”

    Business Insider asked Lowercase Capital, "Shark Tank," and the New York Post for comment.

    SEE ALSO: John Oliver and the 'Hamilton' creator address Puerto Rico's desperate financial crisis

    DON'T MISS: Robin Wright demanded the same salary as Kevin Spacey for 'House of Cards' — or she would go public

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