UPDATE: Some may remember the segment where Billy Blanks’ son appeared asking for an investment in his exercise program DANCE WITH ME. More particularly, some may remember the post-segment conversation with SHARK DAYMOND and Billy Blanks, Jr. It turns out that following the SHARK TANK episode SHARK DAYMOND’s money was well invested as contract was obtained with a chain of exercise studios which had planned to publish and sell the DANCE WITH ME exercise program. LESSON: Despite what you see on television, many of the SHARKS do have a soft spot and they do want to see people succeed.
The floating SHELL BOBBER product was first to drop into the SHARK TANK – and it floated. The product was a recycled shotgun shell attached to a fishing line to act as a bobber…perfect for those obsessed with hunting and fishing. The margins were good as the cost to make a three-pack was less than one dollar and the retail sale price was $8.99; however, only 440 three-packs had been sold. There was no business – just the product. The only protection was a Provisional U.S. Patent Application which the inventors had written themselves. LESSON: All Provisional U.S. Patent Applications are not the same. The best ones are usually written by experienced patent attorneys. The worst ones are often written by inventors.
SHARK KEVIN and SHARK MARK seemed to like the product. In typical fashion, SHARK KEVIN sought a deal which would provide him with a perpetual flow of income once his initial investment was recovered. LESSON: A perpetual flow of income means that SHARK KEVIN would receive money as long as the product is being sold. At the end of the segment, SHARK MARK made an offer which the wantrapreneurs accepted.
Second was a mother-daughter pair with a product called a WICKED GOOD cupcake? Each SHARK raved about the taste. Each cupcake was packaged in a small Mason® jar. The LESSON came from SHARK KEVIN who realized that there was nothing patentable about the product thereby allowing others to copy and make the product. (Yes Virginia, copying others in the United States is legal unless there is an intellectual property protection right in place.) Thus, SHARK KEVIN quickly opined that being the first to mark provided the best market place advantage.
The problem with the product was shelf-life. To maintain the flavor, no preservatives were used. Thus, the shelf life was 7-10 days.
Having lost out to SHARK MARK on the first segment, SHARK KEVIN made a deal for a perpetual flow of income which eventually resulted in a deal.
Third into the SHARK TANK was the largest request of the episode and one of the largest for the SHARK TANK show. The product displayed was a device to generate electricity using the Faraday Effect tied to the motion of a person’s body. Some may remember a self-winding watch where a swinging weight wound a spring. Instead of storing mechanical energy generated from the motion of a person’s body in a spring, this device used the motion of a person’s body to generate small amounts of electricity…enough electricity to power a cell phone. While the product was pricey, $199, with a good margin, the price still seemed high.
Next was the real reason for the large request for money. The real reason for the big investment was the wantrapreneur’s desire to create floating devices which transformed wave energy into electrical energy. His vision was to create wave/electricity farms all over the world. When asked why he started with the wearable small device, he responded that one needed to CRAWL, then WALK and then FLY. Thus, the request for lots of money. No deal.
LESSON: While the SHARKS were impressed by the vision of this wantrapreneur and believed in the concept, the SHARKS are looking for a quick return and not a long term play.
Last, were belts from the MISSION BELT company? The product was a well made belt that mated with a buckle assembly allowing the belt size to change by half inch increments. The wantrapreneur had worked hard to reach sales of $39 thousand during the last three months to include selling his belts door-to-door.
Despite the fact that the wantrapreneur was a terrific salesman (a politically incorrect term in some states) and made huge personal sacrifices to sell his belts, four of the SHARKS dropped out. The LESSON here is that personal sacrifice and a focus on success will usually draw the attention of a SHARK like SHARK MARK if the product is a simple one. While SHARK DAYMOND announced that he would rather invest in a business than a product, he bit and the wantrapreneur got a deal.