Want to get your business on Shark Tank?
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The opportunity to feature your business on the show Shark Tank is one that any business owner would relish. Here’s a rundown of the process as explained by an anonymous business owner that pitched his business to the Shark Tank producers:
I pitched to Shark Tank, and went through almost the entire audition process. Basically I sent an email, got contacted by a producer, got sent an initial contract, sent in a taped pitch and some of my product, and they liked me. So I was sent the final contract (the one that says you can’t say anything, sign away some of your business, etc.) The next step was to fly out to LA and pitch in person to producers, who ultimately decide who pitches to the sharks over the next day or two. There’s a 50% chance you’ll fly there and pitch them, and not end up makingit in front of the sharks. Many of the businesses that pitch to the sharks do not actually make it on air, even though the sharks do make deals with some of them.
Also in the contract: if you do not make a deal on the show, you cannot make a deal with any sharks for 2-3 years after the show airs.
I ended up turning down the trip to LA due to this aspect of the contract: Producers are entitled to some or all of the following: * 5% equity in your business – * 5% sales – * 5% profit upon sale of business.
I decided that giving up that much of my business for life was simply not worth it, especially when an advertisement that reaches 8-10 million people is so much cheaper (and a one-time cost) than 5% of my business elsewhere. Another feature of the contract: if you do not make a deal with the sharks, you are contractually forbid to make a deal with them for the next 2 or 3 years privately.
Another tidbit: deals are not final on-air. They are handshake deals. Many of the businesses you see make “deals” on air do not go through, because there is a very lengthy process that happens in private when the contracts are drawn out. This is because they have to verify all the financials/sales/etc., and the terms you see on air are literally 1% of the terms involved in the deal.
And yes, they told me to be prepared for 1-2 hours of negotiations if things went well.