Tag Archives: mark cuban

Shark Tank Episode Review – New Season September 20th, 2013

Well the long awaited season of Shark Tank is here. I am excited after the marathon build up from last week.

This is a pre-show poll to see who is watching the show tonight.

And now for our weekly reviews of the Shark Tank products and entrepreneurs.

We for the first time had all 5 sharks on the show at one time and it made for some great TV.

First in the Tank

Inventor: Josh Brooks

Product / Company: Postcards on the Run

Asking: $300k for 5% stake in the company

Postcards on the Run and Josh Brooks

Postcards on the Run

Josh started this company with some help from a couple rounds of Investor contribution (including Selena Gomez). With an initial investment of $1.6mm USD and sales of $450k in 21 months and residual cash flow of $180k remaining, Josh is seeking funding for growth and marketing to further expose his brand. The product is rather unique in that an app is installed onto a mobile phone for free then after paying a $2.49 fee, the user takes a photo and writes a personal message. The results is a glossy 4×6 postcard delivered to the recipient of choice. So far he has 500k downloads of the app and a 180 transactions meaning a conversion rate of 36% (assuming single transactions). In most app-based businesses this would be a very good conversion. I wonder how many users are repeat users or if the drop off is high. That information was not discussed during the pitch. Mark Cuban was rather brutal with Josh stating that he was valuing the company on tech bubble figures. He didnt think it was a good time to invest so he bowed out. The rest of the Sharks soon followed out except for Robert. Robert said that he felt a connection to the product because he thinks his kids would use it and so he offered $300k for 10%. After some back and forth and good negotiating on both parts a deal was struck for $300k for 7.5% stake.

Feedback: Again, I think this product is one that is unique and novel indeed but, I would like to see the future plan for the business (additional streams, ad revenue, etc,…). Josh was proud to state he came from Myspace and he has a strong background in the Social Media segment. Good indeed but having the foresight to see a need to adapt the business plan to address user behavior is even more valuable. I will say that I travel alot overseas and using this app would be a cool way to personalize a postcard for a loved one. I really want to know how things are going after the Tank and to see if cash flow has improved.

Inventors: Lynnae and Ali

Company: Lynnaes Pickles

Asking: $125k for 20% stake

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles

The two women enter the Tank to promote a gourmet pickle business based in Tacoma Washington. Founded on their Grandma’s recipes, they created a brand and a business serving local and nationwide retailers. With $144k in sales in 12 months the girls are looking to get some more money to help boost inventory and grow exposure. They are working with a distribution company now and in 26 states, pretty impressive really. The pickle jars retail for $6.99, wholesale for $4, and COGS is $1.93. The girls talked about Target showing interest in having them in their new gourmet foods sections. The Sharks were not impressed with the financials and the high cost and the uncertainty of the larger market.

Feedback: I always struggle with the food company pitches mainly because rarely is there anything proprietary and the possibility for running into a larger player that is looking to dominate a small segment is all too real. I do think they might be better off approaching a food products manufacturer to see about lowering the costs and then reducing the price point down to $4.99 might make this move faster. Updates anyone?

Inventors: Richard and Albert Amini

Product: Rolodoc

Asking: $50k for 20%

Rolodoc

Two Doctors and Brothers Richard and Albert have a company that will hopefully eliminate the need to carry an outdated pager to get in touch with doctors. The pitch was not all that clear as they continued to mention “social media” but with not explanation as to what that all means. The idea is that Doctors would sign up to the website (much like Facebook) then post their specialities and accreditations (I guess). The Sharks ate them alive and within a matter of minutes, the guys left empty handed.

Feedback: If you watched the episode then I wont repeat the things the Sharks had to say but, I will say that as a patient, I find a huge amount of credibility checking that would need to be performed to vet the Doctors. Also, it was unclear as to how the company would generate money. Again, I would guess advertising and membership fees but who knows.

Inventors: Cole Edgar and James McDonald

Product: SweetBallz

Asking: $250k for 10% stake

NO IMAGE DUE TO SERVER CRASHING (Good thing normally)

So, these two Texas Entrepreneurs came into the Tank with a cake pop minus the stick called Sweet Ballz. With a background in the food industry and business development, they had a fast launch of the product with a huge deal going with 711. Racking in $700k in only 90 days is the real deal and I loved how dropped that on the Sharks rather nonchalant. The current demand is creating a lead time of 22 days which is tough especially considering the shelf life of 45 days. The money would be used to beef up supply and reduce lead time as well as expand into other customers. The numbers on the company are MSRP $1.99-2.49 with a cost of $0.86. I am sure that with a ramped up production they would be able to drive costs down below $0.50. All five Sharks put offers on the table but it came down to a deal from Mark/Barbara $250k-25% or Kevin/Robert/Lori $250k-30%. The Sweet Ballz go for the Cuban led offer and for good reason.

Feedback: Again a food product but, they say you invest in the man not the product and I think that was the big selling point here. The two guys proved they can get this company growing with solid sales history. I would imagine Cuban pushing the product to all of his businesses and Barbara would be looking at the broader retail deals (supermarkets, pharmacies and department stores). I think this will do well. I am interested in any updates….

Thanks again for reading and please come by again for the next weeks posting.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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Weekly Shark Tank Review – April 26th 2013

I was pleased to see the Sharks back on the air after the unfortunate miss last week due to the Boston bombing coverage.

This was a great show with some very passionate business owners with a lot of drive. I applaud you all for sticking with your products and persevering. Lets get started.

Inventor: Jeff Stafford and Dusty Hollowell

Product: Shell Bobbers (www.shellbobbers.com)

Requesting: $80k for 20% stake

Shell Bobbers Website

Shell Bobbers

These two long-time fishing and hunting buddies tell the story about how when they were hunting and a shotgun shell fell into the water it floated. It gave them the idea to make the fishing bobber company Shell Bobbers. I liked the method of pitching and how they incorporated the manufacturing into the sales pitch with I thought was very engaging. The cost to make each bobber is about $1 and they retail for $8.99. The sales to date it about $1000 (or 440 units). They have been selling in various hardware stores but need help getting into the larger retail outlets. They hold a provisional patent but, didn’t do a thorough research on existing patents. They have a trademark as well. Kevin started with a rather rough offer for $80k for 50% with a residual profit per until cash is paid back. Mark then offers a straight $80k for 33% and they do the deal.

Feedback: Like I said, the concept is solid and a novelty and certainly the fishing and hunting segment is enormous. I noticed on their website that they have some photos with the Duck Dynasty guys and I was actually thinking about that during the show. The Duck Dynasty guys would be the ultimate endorsers for this product. I believe to get this into the big box retailers, they need to invest in flashy packaging and a good marketing plan to show how to maximize the sales. I would like to see if the Shell Bobber is in the Bass Pro Shops this year.

Inventors: Tracy and Danielle Noonan

Product: Wicked Good Cupcakes (www.wickedgoodcupcakes.com)

Requesting: $75k for 20% Stake

Wicked Good Cupcakes Website

Wicked Good Cupcakes

This Mother and Daughter pair have been making cupcakes in Boston for some time now but, they wanted to expand their sales capabilities and shipping around your conventional cupcake just was too messy and logical. The idea for the cupcake in a jar was born. The pitch is for gourmet cupcakes cooked in the jar and available to shipping and retail. They have sold about $73k year to date with $360k in forecasted sales for this year. The cupcakes have a shelf life of 7-10 days (without preservatives). The cost to make each is $2.15 and sells for $5.95 but with wholesale, they only make $0.85/jar. All Sharks bow out except Kevin who proposes a rather dirty deal of $75k for zero equity but with a perpetuity royalty of $0.50/unit. The girls exit to discuss then come back to negotiate a $0.45 a final deal.

Feedback: While I do think the whole cupcake crazy is going to be short lived once people realize they are loaded with fat and calories but, for sake of the hot segment this is a really creative way of presenting the cupcake. After all, the one thing I hate about cupcakes are that they are messy. The jar solves this by incorporating a spoon. I understand that walking into the tank you are under some pressure to get a deal done but, I would have recommended to play hard ball with Kevin. Kevin’s deal was nothing but a loan with a lifetime commitment, never advised no matter the situation. Because now they are forced to pay Kevin his share for every unit and that means a lot more when the company grows and sales are skyrocketing. All this for a $75k loan!

Inventor: Arron Lemieux

Product: nPower PEG / Tremont Electronic (www.npowerpeg.com)

Requesting: $2million for 22% stake

Personal Motion Charger

nPower PEG

Arron is a passionate individual looking to revolutionize the way we consume power. His company Fremont Electric has invented a Faraday induction-based personal charger for mobile electronics. The nPower PEG is a unique product that has a backing of 5 or so utility patents. The black cylindrical tubing houses a induction coil and concentric magnet that with motion will create a charge that is stored in the integral battery. Your device can then be plugged into the device to gain as much as 25% charge. he retails the product for $199 and has sold about 1300 units so far but the cost is a bit high. He explains the end goal is to apply his concept to mass power generation in the way of floating wave buoys. While the Sharks are all intrigued by the idea, they are also confused at how the personal device will lead to the large scale development. Kevin even comments that he would be interested in licensing the idea to a company like GE but he would not want to do all of the leg work. No deal is made.

Feedback: For all of the pitches I have seen on the show, this one has the most potential wide spread impact on the world energy consumption. The problem with the pitch is the valuation of the nPower PEG (nearly $10million!) that really is an investment for the development of the wave generation device. There is no clear track record for the wave generation system but, I do think Arron is more than knowledgeable so I do think he is the right man  for the job. I only wish he instead approached the Sharks for the small device only and requested much smaller investment to get that product rolling and into the masses. Later taking the profits and investing into the next generation systems. It is all about how you present the idea. Arron you can always send me one of the products and I can personally review it for you.

Inventor: Nate Holzapfel

Product: Mission Belt (www.missionbelt.com)

Requesting: $50k for 20% stake

Mission Belt Website

Mission Belt

Nate developed his adjustable belt without the holes after he struggled to find belts that didn’t wear out and that had more fine adjustments than the normal 1 inch increments. He has been selling the belts through various smaller retailers and has sold $39k so far. The belts cost him $5.50 to make where he retails them for $39.95 and wholesales for $15. He is a very good salesman and this no more evident than when he tells the Sharks about when he arrived to LA and immediately went door to door to sell 20 belts! Lori, Robert and Kevin all bow out. Daymond offers the $50k for 40% stake for the purpose of licensing the belt to fashion companies. Nate negotiates the stake down to 37.5%.

Feedback: Watching Nate really is inspiring to anyone with a product idea. There are three things needed for a successful product-based business; proprietary concept, profitable model and a passionate leader. Nate certainly has the last one nailed down. They dont make sales guys like him anymore and it is a pleasure to see his passion and drive. I am sure his biz will be a success especially with Daymond backing the product. I am very impressed he has driven the costing down to $5.50 which is a very tough thing to do without mammoth volumes. I will say that I have seen this belt design before on the golf circuit (different company). That doesn’t mean it can’t make it, it just means marketing is where he will need to differentiate himself.

Thanks again for reading and please come by again for the next weeks posting.

Sean Yakeley

Odyssey Solutions New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 412 January 4th 2013

Happy New Year to all the loyal Shark Tank viewers and Odyssey Solutions followers!

Before I go into this weeks episode, I wanted to first start out with a brief word of advice for anyone looking to develop a product. While sales history is certainly good, market analysis is far better. What I mean is that to understand how big the potential is for a product you must first know the ins and outs of the market you are trying to attack (including the competition). Now this may seem like a no-brainer but, in addition to knowing the sales of the cumulative competition you really should look at that the intended target market. Sometimes this is not always clear, as you are hopefully creating a new market through gaps in the competitions offerings. Whether you are pitching the Sharks in the Tank or meeting with some potential Investors, knowledge is key. This episode showed us that a good product will attract the right Investors.

Now on to the review…

Inventor: Doug Marshall

Product: Gameface (http://www.thegamefacecompany.com/)

Requesting: $400k for 25% stake

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

The GameFace Company by Doug Marshall

Have you ever gone to a sporting event and wanted to express yourself with your favorite team logo? Wouldn’t you want to celebrate Halloween with a mess-free costume? Well Doug Marshall has come up with a very novel idea to address both. The GameFace non-toxic face masks are a simple, clean and easy way to show your pride. Doug started the business a number of years ago and is now expecting to gross revenues of $100k+ this year alone on his company. The company is fully independent and operates as a side job with his wife. Margins appear to be pretty solid even in the wholesale realm. Daymond is out. Robert is also out and expresses his disinterest in doing business with Doug on such poor sales. Kevin offers a mixed offer of cash, loan and royalties. Finally Mark and Lori jump in with an offer of $1 MILLION for the entire company and an $80k/year salary for 5 years. After some talking with his wife, Doug then settles on a $450k for 35% with 80K/year salary and he still retains ownership.

Feedback: It is so easy to be wowed by a $1 MILLION buy-out offer for your product. However, getting paid is not always the best solution. I especially loved to hear Roberts’ story about how it took him so long as an Entrepreneur to earn a $100k salary and that he always held out for to see the project through. I admire Doug here. He didn’t succumb to the temptation of a big upfront check instead he stuck it out to see his project on to success. Mark and Lori once again showed they are the choice partners for consumer products (especially sports-related ones).

Inventors: Dan Grimm and Brant Myers

Product: Arkeg (http://www.drinkngame.com)

Requesting: $100k for 33% stake

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

The Arkeg Drink n Game Console

Ok so this is a new one for me. I like beer and gaming so why not combine the two? That is what these two guys decided to do with the Arkeg. Dan and Brant both spoke so highly about the ability to sell one to any man cave or game room but the price point may be the limiting factor. The price tag of $4k with 20 units sold to date. The Sharks don’t buy into the deal and they guys leave empty-handed.

Feedback: I just don’t think the product attracts a wide enough audience to begin with to be on Shark Tank. Sure I would love to have one but at $4k! No thanks. My entire home brewing setup along with my XBOX 360 was far less.

Inventor: Dan Rothwell

Product: Dura-tent (http://www.duratent.com)

Requesting: $50k for 30% stake

The Dura Tent

The Dura Tent

Tired of pesky flies getting into your picnic or barbecue? The Dura Tent is an innovative approach to keeping the flies and their harmful germs off of your food. The combination tent and mosquito netting works to protect the food you spent so much time preparing. He sold 50k units at the time and has 3 patents total on the product. As he kept going on about the sales figures and costs the numbers weren’t adding up to what he said. Robert and Mark were out. The rest of the Sharks followed. No deal.

Feedback: The product is fairly good but as Lori said, the name just doesn’t translate to function. First rule of naming “phonetically communicate what the product does or what problem it solves”. So many people purchase on impulse and marketing is what drives this. He said that a Marketing consultant recommended he not focus on the act of what the product does. I find that odd. Anyway, the best way to name your product is to get out a white board and write all words associated with the problem on one side then on the other side the words associated with the solution and see if you can combine any two. At least it is a start.

Inventor: Megan Gage

Product: Hot Tot (www.hottot.com)

Requesting: $50k for 15% stake

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

Hot Tot Child-safe Haircare

If you have a child then you can see where Megan is coming from. To put just anything in the hair of your young child is so dangerous considering you don’t know what is in the haircare products. She sought out a solution to this problem with Hot Tot. While initially focusing on the kids boutiques shops she now is working towards the high end salons as most of the buyers are women. Her sales are $20k so far but she has $7k in purchase orders waiting to be filled. The margins are very good. All of the Sharks are out except Mark. He offers $75k for 40% stake and she takes it.

Feedback: I really liked seeing Megan speak about her passion in child haircare. I thought of myself when I started working on products. Define-Solve-Sell. While she is still very new and maybe the biggest need is Marketing, Mark will surely help her.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

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Shark Tank Review Episode 303 – January 1st 2013 (re-air)

First and foremost, Happy Holidays and especially a Happy New Year to all of my loyal readers. The start of a new year should be a sign for other entrepreneurs to take the step towards independence. I wish you all a prosperous 2013 with you endeavors and / or inventions.

So this episode was a re-air from the third season but considering it was airing on New Years Day, it gave us another dose of the show prior to the all new episode this Friday. This show gave us a little of everything; seasoned successful business owners looking to partner with someone with global exposure, Inventors with a great product in a fantastic market segment and even a product that might need to go back to the drawing board before it makes it big. Without further ado, lets see how it all panned out….

Inventor: Kevin and Melissa Kiernan

Product: The Last Lid (www.lastlid.com)

Requesting: $40k for 20% stake

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

The Last Garbage Lid you Might Ever Need

Melissa and Kevin entered the tank to discuss the product that was developed to address a need to keep raccoons from opening and knocking over their trash cans every night. Additionally, they would often lose the lids for their trash cans and apparently you cannot buy just replacement lids for trash cans. After some testing of materials and finding which design was most effective they settled on the elastic banded, polyurethane cover that would replace the need the for the hard plastic covers. They just launched the product, with no sales to date or IP. One by one the Sharks bail out of the pitch until only Daymond is left and he asks the two if they would take a minute to propose a final offer. Kevin said “$40k for 60% stake!”. Daymond agreed.

Feedback: While I love the fact they the Kiernans took a problem and created and tested a solution, I don’t like the resulting product for a number of reasons. First, the sagging fabric will get filed with rain water and make a mess. Second, the fabric regardless of whether it is water proof /resistant will leak the odors which I hate (ultimately promoting more Racoons to come by and check it out). Finally, I am not sure on what basis Daymond thought this idea had a valuation of roughly $67k with no sales and nothing protected in intellectual property in the way of a patent. The concept is a good one but, I think a better and more cost effective solution would involve an elastic domed disk that can be attached to any type of trash can.

Inventor: Amanda Schlechter

Product: The Ledge Pillow (www.ledgepillow.com)

Requesting: $30k for 25% stake

The Only Pillow that Doesn't Get in the Way...

The Only Pillow that Doesn’t Get in the Way…

Amanda entered the tank with a beautiful model by her side to demo the Ledge Pillow, a contour designed pillow for stomach sleepers with large breasts or augmentation. The idea is that many women now have breast implants and as a result cannot not sleep on their stomach comfortably. The company was formed in 2008 and has 83 pillows sold to date. Mr. Wonderful started by telling Amanda that the sales history and the small niche market was not enough to keep him interested. The other Sharks followed by not partnering with the Ledge Pillow.

Feedback:  This pitch to me was very tough to watch because Amanda appears to be very passionate of the product yet she has not taking the risk personally to see if the product would sell. During the 3-4 years that the product was out (with a patent as well), she didn’t spend a lot of time or money to perform a market analysis that may have helped to better understand who are the intended buyers. In reality, had she been able to invest more of her own money into advertising to boost sales over the 83 unit mark the pitch may have gone better. I wish her the best of luck and recommend that she take the risk to fully “live” her product 24/7, meaning cold calling store owners, retail buyers in her local market to setup a case study of sales history.

Inventors: Steve Nakisher and Shane Talbott

Product: Talbott Teas (www.talbottteas.com)

Requesting: $250k for 20% stake

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

Designer Teas by Talbott Teas

The company Talbott Teas was created by the two partners to serve the designer tea market. The products are whole leaf tea blend created by Shane Talbott with a total of 23 different flavors available. The two were fortunate enough to be chosen as one of Oprahs favorite things in 2009 which led to an instant boost in sales. In addition they have appeared on QVC on numerous occasions. Sales history: $100k in 2009, $350k in 2010 and $500k through Q3-2011. They are enjoying a 50% gross profit margin at the moment. Daymond jumps in a regretfully bows out due to a conflict of interest with another investment he is in. Mark is also out. Kevin offers the $250k for 40%. Robert and Lori both drop out and it is left to the Talbott Tea owners on whether to accept. They counter twice and settle on a $250k for 35% stake to Kevin.

Feedback: These two owners are an example of found fundamental Entrepreneurs. Not only do they have great trending sales history but, they are very knowledgable of the business side of things too. I am amazed that there are not more competition out there in this segment aside from Teavana. Not only is tea shown to have health benefits but it easier on the stomach. I think this is a gold mine and I imagine more me-too companies will enter the ring soon. I wonder if the two are full-time working for Talbott or not because the intro video had them talking about their professional background. In any event this is a success for sure, Lucky for Kevin to have gotten such a big piece of the pie for only $250k (or roughly 4 months of sales).

Inventors: Maddie, Margot and Diane Bradshaw

Product: M3 Jewelry (www.m3girldesigns.com)

Requesting: $300k for 15% stake

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

M3 Girl Designs Jewelry

Maddie, Margot and mom are M3 Designs a unique interchangeable jewelry company out of Dallas Texas. The company was formed back in 2006 when then 10years old Maddie began creating bottle cap magnets which led to the interchangeable bottle cap necklaces. Since the formation of the company, the product has grown to be representing in over 1000 retail stores nationwide! During this time the company has grossed over $5 million in sales revenue and growing. They Bradshaw’s are now looking to grow the business and lower the unit cost to help target the international markets. With the exception of Daymond, the Sharks are all wanting a piece of the M3 business but it comes down to equity and dollars. Various offers get put in front of the girls involving: Kevin+Lori for 40%, Lori+Mark for 30% then finally Lori+Robert+Mark for 30%. The girls talk it over and decide to take the deal if they can get season tickets to the Mavericks. Mark concedes a better deal, Owners box anytime with friends. The deal is done!

Feedback: It is hard to believe but these two young girls are both millionaires! I love how they are talking about college coming up soon. If this business gets any bigger school is going to be a waste of time. At first I didn’t understand the product but after they showed how the bottle caps can be removed and reattached to the necklace charm, I saw how this would appeal to the younger generation. They mentioned that all of the assembly is taking place in their Dallas facility but, does that mean these are all hand made or are they integrating any automation? I think this could be streamlined overseas for very cheap but I kind of think “Made in the USA” may be worth the incremental cost to be honest. Truly inspiring story and I am eager to see how the company grows in the coming years.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank. Make sure you follow this blog, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

 

 

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 402 December 7th

Hey there fellow Shark Tank fans. This week was a double dose of Shark Tank as we saw the new episode air on Tuesday and a re-air episode air at the end of the week. Although this is an episode from back in September of this year, it was very entertaining and provided plenty of interesting learning points to take into account.

This weeks Shark: Daymond John, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec and Kevin O’Leary

So lets get started with the review…

Inventor: Derek Pacque

Product: CoatChex (www.coatchex.com)

Requesting: $200k for 10% stake

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The CoatChex Ticketless System

The pitch here is for a unique ticketless coat check system that would eliminate the confusion of the dated ticket system. Essentially, you enter you phone number and name and the module then takes a snapshot of you for the system and you hand over the jacket. Then once you are ready you only need the phone number and name to claim the coat. Derek has zero sales to date and is heavily invested by his past professor from college. He would like to franchise the system and sell each for $1500 upfront. He has been in touch with some regional developers to get the word spread but this model was not very attractive to Mark Cuban. Each coat would check for between $2-5 each time. He would claim a 15% profit share on all business with the franchisees. Derek also mentioned that he has a patent on the system of ticketless exchange (this could be used in other venues and platforms such as concerts and valet, etc,…). Daymond, Kevin, Barbara and Robert all chose to go out. Mark is left and he offers $200k for 33% stake. Derek has to step out to discuss with his partner which advises him to turn it down. To everyones surprise he leaves without any funding.

Feedback: The main lesson here is that working with a partner can sometimes lead to disastrous business decisions. Mark would have added far more value than the relinquished equity. Stubborn Entrepreneurs take a lesson here. Aside from the results, the product is very good especially the non-coatcheck concepts. I looked over the website and they have spent some good money on the web developing and marketing but, without knowing whether they secured any funding outside of the Tank they may not have anything on the backend.

Inventor: Jay Kriner

Product: BevBuckle (www.bevbuckle.com)

Requesting: $50k for 10% stake

The BevBuckle

The BevBuckle

Jay entered the tank and begins to pitch his product idea the BevBuckle, a hands-free beverage holder / belt buckle. He said the product is patented and he spent the past 4 years traveling around to music concerts and venues resulting in 4000 units of sales worth $340k in revenue. The buckles cost $10 to make and they sell for between $35-110 (depending on the finishes). His pitch was going well and the Sharks all seemed interested. Jay then pulled out two envelopes (one with the list of retailers including Urban Outfitters and the second listing the major raceways in the country). He said that they all had shown interest in the product. The main problem now is that his last manufacturer delivered 26% defective products. Daymond drops out and so does Mark. Robert offers the $50k for 75% stake. Kevin says he would offer the $50k for no equity but with a 12% royalty off the top of each sale. Barbara then jumps in to offer the $50k for 51% operating stake. After a few moments, Jay choses to go with Barbara.

Feedback: This is one of these ideas that you see and say “why didn’t I think of that?”. From the looks of them, they appear to be pretty well made and included a magnetic closure to keep it shut when not in use. These would be great in college, concerts, sporting events, you name it. The manufactured cost of only $10 is really reasonable and this would allow him to sell them wholesale for between $18-60/unit. Not bad for profitability. I still don’t know if $50k is enough to make much of an impact as I think he really needs a couple hundred thousand to get orders rolling for retailers. This is considering the normal credit terms being 60-90 days. I hope he has found a reliable shop to work with to keep the defects down too. Jay, please send me a sample if you wouldn’t mind!!

Inventor: Todd Miller

Product: Bodywalking (www.bodywalking.com)

Requesting: $100k for 10% stake

BodyWalking Institute

BodyWalking Institute

Todd is a certified massage therapist that came up with his own take on the message. He decided that walking on the human back is far more beneficial to the body for the pressure points and relief of stress. His company developed a training program for other massage therapists called the BodyWalking Institute. He has performed 30 training sessions in 7 years and recorded revenue of $1500 per session. The pitch doesn’t impress any of the Sharks and they all opt to back out.

Feedback: I was confused here with what exactly Todd was pitching since body walking massage has been around for a long time. I have gotten one on a number of occasions. It didn’t sound like he manufactures or designed the walking frame which was using to supper his weight during the massage. I just don’t see the target market being that big. I can tell you that the walking massage is not for everyone as it can be far too much pressure and some people have a problem with feet as well. Todd if you are out there please provide a follow-up pitch here to the readers and hopefully you can help clarify some of the questions. Thanks

Inventors: Maria Curcio and Veronica Periongo

Product: Buggy Beds (www.buggybeds.com)

Requesting: $125k for 7% stake

The Buggy Beds Detection System

The Buggy Beds Detection System

Maria and Veronica came to the Tank prepared to talk about one of the biggest outbreaks in our country today, bed bugs. They developed a patented, trademarked system of early detection of the nuisance bugs. The product incorporates a non-toxic glue inside of a plastic housing that attracts and traps the bugs for verification that the presence exists. They launched the company roughly 6 months ago and have had numerous tests conducted to validate the product. They price from $6.99-8.99 but cost only $1.35 to make (not bad). They have already booked $150l in sales with $100k of that being profit. They had been selling exclusively on Home Depots website and Burlington Coat Factory but have been expanding over the past couple months. They said they once has an offer for $5 million for the buy-out of the patents and trademarks but they declined. All the Sharks are interested and asked the ladies to step out of the room so they could discuss an offer amongst themselves. Kevin started by offering $250k for 25% with Daymond joining. Barbara then wanted to fly solo and offered a single offer of $150k for 15% but after the women couldn’t decide, she pulled the offer. Then Mark proposed a full 5 Shark offer for $250k and 25% and the offer was accepted.

Feedback: This product is addressing a very large problem that is becoming more and more prevalent in hotels and homes across the country. I am amazed at how fast their company has grown in only 6 months and yielding very good profit margins. The fact that the patent and trademark is registered in so many countries (very thorough and expensive but worth it) they were not messing around on this project. These could really be sold in so many stores (Home Depot, Lowes, Bed Bath and Beyond, grocery, convenience stores, etc,…)  in addition they could partner with all of the major hotel chains which would be huge. I am interested in knowing how the Sharks have helped the company and what the year to date revenues would be. Reviews seem to be mixed on HomeDepot so I would be interested in hearing some user feedback.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

 

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 409 December 4th Holiday Episode

Happy Holidays Shark Tank fans. The much anticipated holiday episode of The Shark Tank aired this evening and as expected, the show was very entertaining. We saw some great product pitches with solid sales, some niche business models that need more time and some hard headed Entrepreneurs that didn’t want to listen to the Sharks had to say. As always read through and make comments with your takes on the products and whether you would purchase any on your own.

Lets get started…..

Inventor: Lucinda Lent and Juliet Boydstun

Pitch: The Coop (www.thecoop-la.com)

Requesting: $150k for 15% stake

The Coop LA

The Coop LA

The pitch began with the two ladies describing how they met and how once they became Mothers, the options for social locations for their children and themselves was limited. Most of the play areas were dirty, outdated and with no focus on the Mothers. They came up with the idea for The Coop, a modern play spot for kids with a coffee bar and deserts for the parents. They opened the first location after securing a $125k loan from a bank. They cater to high end clientele and movie stars but want to roll out the idea to all budgets. The typical cost for a 2 hour party rental is $595-4000 and weekend sales are typically around $5k currently. They recorded $350k in revenue and booked between $125-150k in profit after taking in a salary (pretty nice!). They would ideally like to franchise the concept and the money would help fund another location. Kevin said he was very impressed with the numbers but he would be out. Daymond added that he wouldn’t be able to add anything to the business and for that he would have to be out. Robert followed out. Mark thinks the business is god but it needs more time and he worries about the price and the amount of competition, he was out. Last was Barbara who offered an iterating counter-offer. She would give the $150k for 15% with a personal guarantee to be paid back in 2 years. After some discussion between the two ladies, they took the offer. Congrats!

Feedback: Well I can tell you as a father of a 3 year old daughter, this business is one that parents (Mothers especially) will pay for. Take a look at Gymboree or the Little Gym, while they are competition they do not offer a parent friendly aspect which is unique. I do agree with Kevin in the idea that they need to test a few more locations (outside of LA because LA is not a good representation of the rest of the country because of the amount of affluent citizens). I already have noticed Barbara doing a good job of promotion of The Coop on Twitter and Facebook which will have an immediate impact. The reality of the loan terms are pretty harsh with the fact they need to pay in full the loan in 24 months for relinquishing 15% stake in the company but, the marketing they will get from Barbara is worth it. Look forward to seeing The Coop come to Texas!!

Inventor: Donna McCue

Product: Fat Ass Fudge (www.fat-assfudge.com)

Requesting: $250k for 5% stake

Fat Ass Fudge

Fat Ass Fudge

The flamboyantly energetic Donna McCue entered the Tank to pitch her unique fudge company to the Sharks. What makes the product so unique is that it is Lactose Free, Gluten Free and made with goats milk. She began to make chocolate many years ago and the name came from a family nickname. she has been selling mostly locally and has 2 Whole Foods stores she is working with at the moment but has yet to break into their nationwide reach. They recorded $60k in sales over the past 12 months. Kevin offered her $250k for 1000% stake, she is confused then he says he is out. The rest of the Sharks do the same. Donna leaves without a deal.

Feedback: Energy, passion, enthusiasm would be some very accurate adjectives for Donna McCue. She undoubtable has a good product that tastes good and touches on the Gluten, Lactose-Free segments which are growing. The problem once again is her valuation of her company. Valuation can only be accurate when it references either sales history or pending / accounts receivable. Having said that, unless she has an enormous amount of non-cash assets such as equipment her valuation of $5 million dollars is just silly.

Inventor: Scott Martin (a.k.a., Scotty Clause)

Pitch: The Living Christmas (www.livingchristmas.com)

Requesting: $150k for 30% stake

The Living Christmas Company

The Living Christmas Company

The Tank was full of Christmas trees as a jolly Entrepreneur approached with a long Santa cap and a handlebar mustache. Scott talks about the issue of the annual tradition of cutting down a tree then only weeks later after the holidays have passed it is thrown out. He created a sustainable solution to the problem of deforestation by delivering a living tree with a pot that is only temporarily brought into the home. After the holidays, his company picks up the tree and returns it to the farm where it is fed throughout the remainder of the year until the following Christmas whereby the process repeats. The average cost of the tree rental is $100-200. He had $150k in sales last year with a profit of $33k (no salary taken). He is in need of money for further infrastructure growth to take on more business. Kevin doesn’t like the business because it is seasonal. He is out. Daymond owns a tree farm (yes apparently he does) but thinks the business model has too many unknowns. Robert and Barbara are also out. Mark then asks about how many jobs could be created with the money and offers the $150k for 40%. Scott takes the deal.

Feedback: I really like this concept but, i think he needs to diversify into other non-seasonal products / services. Since I don’t know the first thing about the costs to operate a standard tree farm I would be out of place to provide too much insight here but, I see from the website that Scott has garnered the support of various corporate sponsors and partners which is a good sign. The other thing that concerned me with the finances was the amount of profit (~20% without his salary taken). I think with Mark Cubans support they will be able to find a lean solution to the cash problems. Updates on this one will be greatly appreciated since it is that time of year…

Inventors: Julian Jaccard and Connor Pastoor

Product: Partie Poche (http://96.0.165.69/partiepoche/)

Requesting: $100k for 20% stake

Party Poche

Party Poche

Julian and Connor (two MBA students) are pitching a fashionable, discrete holder for a woman’s cellphone, money, etc,.. The Partie Poche is worn on the leg of the user and virtually out of sight to others. They sold 200 units with prices ranging from $17-36/unit (pricing was incrementally increasing towards the end of the 200 units). A Provisional Patent is in-place. Every time the Sharks began to talk to them about valuation and finances they became very argumentative and arrogant. Julian said she had a meeting with a Nordstrom VP but, didn’t receive a PO because she didn’t have any product. They said the initial product inventory was sold and designed by a freelancer and they didn’t have any more product to sell. A late investment of $50k from some college colleagues which was enough to retain 40% stake of the company (leaving Julian and Connor with a 60% net stake). Kevin was furious and said he was out and forbid the other Sharks to do business with the two. Daymond told them that they were hard headed and he was out. Robert said the two were arrogant and stubborn and he was out. Barbara doesn’t think it will sell and bows out. Mark was left and asked the two to stop talking as he requested them to explain the infrastructure and after the same type of responses as before he says he is out.

Feedback: So many things rub me the wrong way about these two. The first is the attitude of they know it all because they are studying for their MBAs (this was evident when Julian started throwing out financial buzz words). While I am a strong believer in higher education, street knowledge and learning from your failures is far more valuable. The other issue here is that this project does not appear to be a full time venture and the lack of focus on getting additional product manufactured with the $50k investment is perplexing. If I had $50k from an Investor I would find the fastest way to pay them back and that would be through product inventory and sales generation which they appear to have none. This pitch should be an example to other aspiring Inventors to listen to those with knowledge and experience in the business world and don’t talk over them. The final thing, with the airing of the show in the works for some time now, their website is still in Beta mode. Ridiculous! Even bad publicity is publicity and if they couldn’t turn the Shark Tank publicity into money they shouldn’t be on the show.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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Shark Tank Weekly Review – Episode 408 November 9th

This weeks episode was nothing short of entertaining as we saw entrepreneurs from all corners of the consumer market present their products / services to the sharks. The sharks for this week were: Kevin (Mr. Wonderful), Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John. The good diverse backgrounds was sure to yield some offers (assuming the product and presentations went well). Without any delay here is how the show panned out in chronological order.

As always, if you have another past episode you wish me to review or to comment on please make suggestions following the post.

Inventor: Drew Baumier

Product: Drive Suits

Requesting: $150k for 20% stake

Drew Baumier with DriveSuits

Drew entered the tank with 3 other colleagues all in full body automated body suits similar to the Transformers. The company called Body Suits is a unique costume concept with powered wheels that are worn on legs and arms. A single hand control is what triggers the motion of the Body Suit. Drew mentioned that he simple wanted to create a new way of getting around and after making a prototype, he had won various prizes in costume contests (totaling $35k in income). Aside from the contests, he does not have any sales history. His provisional patent had expired and the concept was currently not protected with a patent. Rather immediately three of the sharks dropped out (Robert, Barbara and Daymond). Kevin stressed that Drew really needed to partner with a toy company that could package the product into a smaller footprint and drive down the costs. Kevin extended an counter-offer for $150k for 30% stake (contingent on the toy company partnership). Mark Cuban then jumped in with an offer of $150k for 40% stake with the purpose of being the bank for Drew and guaranteeing money without any contingencies. After some thought Drew chose Kevin.

Feedback: I thought the product idea is one that could definitely attract the younger generation but, this would be dependent on the retail price of course. What surprised me was that neither Mark or Kevin had much of an issue with the lack of patent protection. I did really like that Drew said he essentially created the prototypes himself with little expertise. I always appreciate seeing the true innovators bring such ingenuity to the table. Ultimately he got a Shark to bite and is on his way to fulfilling his dreams of begin a successful Inventor. Congratulations.

Inventor: David Cox

Product / Service: PC Classes Online

Requesting: $150k for 15% stake

David Cox and PC Classes Online

David walked into the tank with comedy writer Bruce Vilanch as his guest presenter. On the table in front of the sharks was a display with a couple of laptop computers and a flatscreen display with the company logo for PC Classes Online. David began to frame a story about how so many people (elderly especially) struggled with computer literacy. His company would be providing on-demand classes for computer training for all types of programs and systems. Behind the scenes would be experienced Instructors that would teach (for free) the topics of choice. The Instructors would make their money when they signed up the student for one-on-one lessons of which PC Classes Online would take 30%. The monthly cost for membership would be $99/month. When asked how he would market this concept he responded saying by partnering with retailers and computer vendors that would be charged $49 for the service (making $50 in profit each month on referrals). He said that to date he has 115 members signed up totaling $35k over a 6 month period of time. Almost immediately, Kevin, Barbara and Daymond dropped out after there appeared to be very little valuation considering David thought the company was worth $1 million with only $35k in sales. Kevin was a little rough on David for knowing the difference between bundling and up-selling. Mark being the IT expert on the panel questioned that what he was pushing has been developed for over 2 decades, he was out. Last but more of a formality Robert also dropped.

Feedback: This one is though for me because while it could very well be a solid company in a local market with a personal approach to training, David truly was replicating what was already on the market (see www.videoprofessor.com for example). Services are very difficult for people to buy into as they are hard to claim as proprietary.

Inventor: Bill Lyons

Product / Service: Revestor

Requesting: $250 for 10% stake

Bill Lyons and Revestor

Bill entered with the room and approached the display table with a company logo banner and three home placards between silver food domes. His pitch was around there not being a single source for evaluating a real estate transaction for its profitability. Revestor claims to have a proprietary algorithm that helps find and assess various MLS and foreclosure listings to determine whether the property is a good buy or not. When asked specifically what figures the algorithm looks at, Bill struggled to explain the details to the Sharks. Bill at times was a bit defensive even saying that he started a $20 million financial services company that went broke during the crash. His software is in beta mode in 10 cities but with no revenue yet. Barbara who has a solid real estate background asked is the software for the seasoned shark investor or the newlywed couple. Bill replied “both”. In almost rapid succession all sharks dropped out and Bill was sent leaving empty-handed.

Feedback: I don’t know if there is more to the story that what was shown on TV but it seems that either Bill didn’t know all aspects of the business or was somewhat protective of the details but, the presentation did not go very well. The fact that he was expecting people to pay nearly double what other sites charge seems a bit steep. He was confident that the company would be a multi-million dollar company in a few years similar to Zillow. The idea of having some upper hand against the competition when it comes to real estate investing is ideal but, it is hard to prove. Needs some more work.

Inventors: Beth Vines-Haynes and Charlotte Clary

Product: Ice Chips

Requesting: $250k for 15% stake

Beth and Charlotte with IceChips

Talk about saving the best for last. These two grandmothers of 30+ grandchildren started the company a couple of years ago in order to create a sugar-free candy that was not harmful to the teeth. The answer was Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar-free sweetener that dentist recommend because it cannot grow bacteria, meaning less damage to the teeth. From the video documentary of the production facility (at their home) they appeared to be very experienced with solid demand already. In fact, according to Beth and Charlotte they made $320k last year and $342k year to date (considering the show was filmed in the summer that would be roughly $700k in annual revs). Not bad! Apparently, Xylitol candy is normally pressed into molded cavities because it is very brittle to try and form cold. the ladies were able to solve this by simply breaking the candy sheets into small Ice Chips. The unique shape led to the name of course. When asked what they need the money for they responded “to buy equipment to drive down production costs and enable them to enter the large retail markets”. Currently the candy tins are made for $1.11 each and sold wholesale for $3.12 or $5.00 retail. They would like the costs to be down around $0.77. Barbara was first to jump in with an offer of $125k for 33% with another shark matching the offer. Kevin then said he would pay the other portion of Barbara’s offer if they each claimed 20%. Daymond said would instead offer $250k for 30% without another Shark involved. Robert was out. Daymond then said he would join Kevin for a $250k – 35% stake. Daymond must have had an moment of enlightenment because he immediately decided to go solo for $250k and 25%. Finally, Mark and Barbara said they would join forces for a $125k and 20% / person and the ladies agreed.

Feedback: Not only were the two grandmothers extremely professional and knowledgable but, they came across highly credible and with a proven track record which in this business goes a long way. It was a joy to watch them explain their business as the sharks all showed some interest. The product is also in a highly desirable segment (sugar-free candy) and has a unique shape which is very much a novelty. I feel like this is definitely something we will see on store shelves or in the check out aisle of our local grocery store. Lessons learned from this case: build some track record with revenue before approaching investors, know the product in and out and be prepared to defend against the those who want to pick it apart.

Thanks everyone for reading this weeks post. Stay tuned for weekly reviews of Shark Tank.

Sean Yakeley

If you are an Entreprenuer with a great product idea but, have not made any progress with the development, my company Odyssey Solutions can help. We offer a full turnkey suite of services to help turn that great idea of yours into a product. All while you retain all intellectual property. To see our full list of services click the link below.

New Product Development Consulting

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