August 09, 2009 11:28 PM by Cindy Adams
The successful BBC show, ‘Dragon’s Den’ comes to America in the form of Shark Tank, a new reality show that gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their business dreams come true and become successful and wealthy. But the entrepreneurs must first try to convince five very tough, Shark Tank multi-millionaire tycoons to part with their own hard-earned cash and give them the funding they need for their ideas. On the first episode, a pie man, a man who appears to be on the brink of madnessÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”or genius, a sad dad, an innovative nanny, and two young and cocky entrepreneurs approach the Shark Tankasking for amuch needed loansfor apercent of their business.
Shark Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business and the largest and is the best known brand in the business.
Shark Kevin Harrington is the CEO of TVGoods.com, LLC and co-founder of OmniReliant Holdings, Inc., and is widely acknowledged as the pioneer and principal architect of the “infomercial” industry. Harrington has had over 500 product launches resulting in sales of over $ 4 billion worldwide and 20 products reaching individual sales of over $100 million — creating dozens of millionaires.
Shark Robert Herjavec launched BRAK systems, his first technology company. BRAK soon became Canada’s top provider of Internet security software, worth a reported $100 million dollars. Robert sold his company to AT&T in 2000 and now heads The Herjavec Group, listed as one of Canada’s leading and fastest growing IT security and infrastructure integration firms.
Shark Daymond John is founder, president and chief executive officer of FUBU–”For Us, By Us,” which is a line of distinctive and fashionable sportswear and a host of other related gear. As CEO and president, John guided FUBU to a staggering $350 million in revenues in 1998, placing it in the same stratosphere as such designer sportswear labels as Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.
Shark Kevin O’Leary is opinionated, ruthless, hungers for big deals and loves to take control, yet he made his millions helping children learn how to read. From his basement, he launched SoftKey Software Products. In 1999 Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering 3.7 billion dollars, one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry.
The first entrepreneur to enter the Shark Tank was Todd Wilson, the pie man. He asked for $460K for 10%. He brought in a guy dressed in a cuddly costume called Mr. Pie Man, who handed out pieces of the delicious productto the Sharks. It looked yummy! Todd’s business averages about $1 million a year, but he can’t keep up with the demand and needs money to expand. He said he had an offer from McDonalds to set up a kiosk in various locations. Shark Robert bowed out first because he was afraid Todd would cut corners if he gave him the money; Kevin O. was next; followed by Kevin H. Finally, Barbara offered $230K for 20% of the business. Daymond said he would join her, but needed 50% of the company.
Todd hesitated, but in the end took their offer, giving away half his company, in the process. Not sure if that was a good idea, but wish him well.
Darrin Johnson was up next with the Ionic Ear. Darrin asked for $1 million for a 15% stake in his company. His product was a blue tooth device surgically implantedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”yes, surgically implantedÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”into the human ear. Most of the Sharks thought he was nuts, as did I, but others wanted to hear his presentation. Daymond said the idea freaked him out and was out first. Darrin went on about the product with even more bizarre informationÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”the implanted device would have to be charged with a needle-like probe! At this point, everyone was repelled and eventually bowed out of the deal.
Kevin Flannery was next with Wispots, asking for $1.2 million, for which he would give an investor 10% of his business. The product was a wireless Web pad that would be located in the waiting rooms of doctor’s offices so patients could surf the Web, be entertained, etc. The thing costs $9K to put in an office, which doctors would have to pay forÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”but don’t pay a cent until Wispots gets ad revenue.
This entrepreneur had mortgaged his house and used his children’s college fund for this product. Ouch. Kevin O. said tothe wishful entrepreneurthat he thinks of money as soldiers, and sends them out of everyday to take prisoners, meaning more money. He told Kevin Flannery that his soldiers were being sent out and were dying. Good analogy. As a result, each Shark rejected the deal and hopefully Kevin Flannery learned a lesson.
The next entrepreneur was Tiffany Krumins, who is a nanny for a boy with Down syndrome. She asked the Sharks for $50K for a 15% stake in her business. She came up with Emmy the Elephant, which is a medicine dropper shaped like an elephant’s head and speaks to the child they take medicine. Tiffany said the boy she works with inspired her to create Emmy because he gets frequent ear infections and hates to take medicineÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â¬”but he’ll take it from Emmy the Elephant. All of the male Sharks were dubious of the product and were unsure they could make money on it. But, Barbara, the lone female Shark said she loved Tiffany and the idea, however, she would need 55% of the business for the $50K. Wow Barbara, give the girl a break!
Photo Courtesy: ABC Network