One of the Shark Tank TV show's past participants agreed to share his personal experience in our blog. In this first post he talks about how he applied and got into Shark Tank. Here is this entrepreneur's story in his words:
Shark Tank is ABC’s reality hit TV show. Over 6 million people watch Shark Tank every Friday night at 9PM EST. Currently ABC is broadcasting Shark Tank Season 5. The show features a panel of five wealthy entrepreneurs who are called "sharks". The panel evaluates and negotiates investment proposals from entrepreneurs. I was one of the entrepreneurs on the show.
If your business is just in early idea stage Shark Tank most likely won’t be interested in you. When the show’s first season aired in 2009 they did have some crazy ideas or prototype stage businesses on the show. The one that stands out the most is Wake n’ Bacon. Matty Sallin presented his alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell of cooking bacon instead of a buzzer. The aroma wakes you up, then you can open the oven and eat the bacon itself. With growing show’s success the selection process became more vigorous and businesses that got aired on the show where more mature to where they had patents, trademarks, growing sales and some kind of publicity. But if you do have that crazy idea and you are not afraid to become a fool on the show and being laughed at you can try.
I have submitted my Shark Tank application by simply following the instructions provided on Shark Tank Zone website. At that time I didn’t have to fill out Short Term application questionnaire which is required now when you are submitting your application. In addition I sent an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org . My opening statement was pretty much like this one: “Hello Sharks, I love and watch Shark Tank!...”. Then I had few paragraphs outlaying my business – what is it, who the customers are and our success stories such as media coverage and any other achievements. Then I told a little bit about myself and where the business is based. As instructed I included my photo. For more than 6 months I heard nothing and almost forgot about Shark Tank but then I received a call from David Polanzak, Casting Director at Shark Tank. After verifying that I am still interested in being on the show, David asked me to pitch him. I asked if I could call back since I wasn’t prepared but he cut me off and pretty much told me: “This is your chance, pitch me your business now”. I did, somehow words just poured out of me and gave him my 60 second presentation over the phone. He liked it and then he asked me how much money I am going to be asking for and for what percentage of the equity. This was another moment where I was unprepared and I just blurted that I am going to be asking for $150,000 in exchange for 10% of the company. Then he asked me what I am going to be using money for. Another question I wasn’t prepared to answer so I just started with:” Operations, marketing, product development….”. He liked my quick and creative answers and at the end, David told me he would be e-mailing me Shark Tank Application Packet and Background Authorization form.
Over the next few days I received e-mail from David that started like this: “Congrats on making it to the Personal Video Submission round for ABC's Shark Tank. There are two documents attached: 1) Application Packet and 2) Background Authorization....” E-mail had detailed instructions on how to fill out the forms and told me to submit pitch video of no longer than 3 minutes. Here is another short excerpt from this e-mail: “PLEASE REMEMBER TO CLEARLY DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR PRODUCT OR BUSINESS IS, WHAT IT DOES, AND TO VISUALLY DEMONSTRATE YOUR PRODUCT/BUSINESS.
After reviewing the application and background authorization form, I knew I had a lot of work to do. I will cover my next step in another blog post, so stay tuned.
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