The following is by Brenden Sherratt of In The Shark Tank.
The Shark Tank was full of blood last night as the Sharks ripped apart, would be entrepreneurs who were looking for the sharks to fund their businesses.
First into the tank was Michele Kapustka and Melisa Moroko two sisters who teamed up to start their business, Send a Ball. The sisters were looking for $86,000 for 20% of their business. Send a Ball, creates custom made inflatable play balls with fun messages that can be sent in the mail, like greeting cards. They can be personalized for the recipient, and are a fun and unique greeting card. Currently they have sales of $100,000 a year, and can’t fill orders fast enough, they’re shipping between 50 and 70 balls a day and only expected that to increase.
The sisters are running the business out of their garage, with the help of their kids, they hope to use the sharks money to move to a permanent location and buy equipment that will give them, greater control over their product. They predicted they could break even by selling 100 balls a day. The sharks pointed out that anyone can copy their business, they have nothing proprietary, which makes it hard for them to invest. In the end the sharks said to go get a bank loan, they didn’t need the sharks investment.
Next into the tank was Mark Burginger with his construction toy Qubits. Qubits is a toy that can curve into many different shapes, like no other toy out on the market. Mark has patented the toy, and has spent $60,000 to bring it to market, but is only sold $8000 worth of product since 2007. Mark is looking for $90,000 for 51% of the business, he wanted the sharks experience, and felt he could get it if he give up control of his company.
The sharks wanted to know why he hadn’t just gone to a large toy company and try to license the product to them. They pointed out that all he would’ve had to do is develop a prototype and patented, shopped it around to the major toy companies, and saved himself a lot of money in manufacturing. Daymon excepted Marks offer with the contingency that they get a deal with a big toy company. Mark accepted the deal.
Third into the tank was Nicole Jones with her business the Pillars of Slippers. Nicole is incredibly confident and a energetic presenter, her business definitely benefits from her. Pillars of Slippers is similar to Tupperware parties but instead of Tupperware she sells shoes. Nicole was looking for $150,000 for 15% of her business.
Although she operates a retail store, she realized there was more money to be made from online sales, and these parties. Her goal was to franchise her business, for $100,000 each which would include a Hummer and all the equipment and inventory they would need. Her average party generated $725 in sales, with costs around $300. Without paying for new inventory, wages or any other costs a franchise would have to host 236 parties in order to break even just on the franchising cost. The sharks suggested that she try to bootstrap (lower cost) the franchise, eliminate the Hummer and make it more reasonable for franchising. She walked away without a deal.
Phil and Aida Lough were next to test their skills against the hungry Sharks. Llama Brew is a liquid fertilizer made from liquidized llama droppings, it’s a natural fertilizer where most fertilizers use chemicals. The business is relatively new, but they had generated $4000 worth of sales. Phil and Aida were asking for $125,000 for 10% equity in the business. The couple had a provisional patent on the process of converting the excrement to fertilizer.
The biggest stumbling point for Phil and Adia is a large cost of educating the public that llama fertilizer is superior to other forms of fertilizer. Their evaluation of their business was crazy, a single llama costs about $1000, the sharks could buy 125 llamas and open up their own fertilizer business for that investment. All sharks were out.
Last into the Shark Tank was Alan Kaufman and his business Nubrella. Nubrella is a new type of umbrella that won’t invert, will keep the user warmer, can be used hands-free, and can even be used while riding a bike. He was looking for $200,000 for 25% of his business. It is currently selling for $49 at a cost of $14 apiece. He had sold 3000 already and had invested $900,000 into the business. It goes without saying with such a large investment he had the product patented.
Kevin Harrington offered $200,000 for 65% of the business, Alan rejected the offer. Daymon and Kevin H. joined together to make an offer of 200,000 for 60% of the business. Daymon said as long as there was orders he would fund production for the lifetime of the business. After some more negotiations they settled on $20,000 for 51% of the business, giving control to the sharks. Alan took the deal.
Follow Brenden on Twitter at @SharkTankABC.