Going on Shark Tank in September 2016 was far and away the most stressed I have ever been. Yes, this includes any test that I have ever taken for school.
The stress of the moment came from having watched every episode on for the first 7 seasons of Shark Tank. I knew every startup that went on the show and pitched and knew the outcomes. I also THOUGHT I knew WHY each deal was done or not done. Kevin O'Leary is the guy who loves giving everyone a hard time. Robert Herjavec is the nice guy. Lori Greiner always loves the QVC angle. Barbara Corcoran was a true shark, Daymond John wanted to invest in cool even though he said he didn't and Mark Cuban, well I could never figure out Mark.
I went on Shark Tank thinking Daymond and Mark were going to both fall in love with our customized slide sandals and decide to go in together. If they didn't go in together, then I was going to ask them to as part the deal. It was surreal and crazy walking down to the stage. They have you stand in one spot for about 30 seconds to set the moment. Here I am looking at the Sharks and the Sharks are staring back at me. No one says anything and there are 400 cameras everywhere.
Finally, I hear someone yell “3…. 2....1....” and then I begin. "Hello Sharks, my name is....." And we are off and running. I thought the opening pitch went really well. I passed out the samples to each shark and they loved them. We had a pair of slides personalized for each Shark. They each took them out of the box and a few tried them on, walked around in them, and commented on how comfy they were to wear.
I knew valuation was going to be an issue. It is with every single company. ISlide was going to be no different.
I asked for $500k for 5% of the company.
I fought through a few of those questions with Kevin and Lori going out. Robert wanted something cool and I think footwear intrigued him as well. This was perfect. Robert then countered with $500k for 20%.
Way too much.
Now, I knew this going into the show but when it happens on TV and there is no going back, all your practice goes out the window. Then Daymond goes out. And then Mark goes out.
Now Barbara goes out. I wanted to do a deal. I wanted to do it to validate myself and the hard work of my team that brought us to this moment. At the time, I thought that was the only way to show the world proof.
I countered Robert at $500k for 10%. He really wanted me to reconsider and told me that we needed him to get us all these really difficult licenses if we wanted to grow. As I inched closer to saying yes, it all stopped. We have a good friend and investor who did exactly this for a living. I knew at that exact moment we were going to be alright, both in saying no and the future of the company. I knew I was going to walk away.
Holy Shit, I was going to walk away.........
When I called and told the team, I had no idea how they were going to take the news of no deal. I couldn't believe that I said no. The best feeling in the world was when I called the office and told them the story. Talk about going from being the most stressed to utter relief. They laughed and said, “you better not have taken that deal.” A full level of relief went through me........
And the rest is history......