“Shark Tank” is a show many aspiring entrepreneurs dream of being on to raise funding for their business idea. According to Business Insider, a slot on the show could be worth “as much as $4 million to $5 million in free marketing exposure.” Scott Jordan was one of those entrepreneurs when he appeared on the show back in 2012 to raise funding for his company.
He was seeking $500,000 in exchange for 15% equity in TEC-Technology Enabled Clothing, the licensing portion of his clothing company SCOTTEVEST. However, things got ugly when the sharks were more interested in SCOTTEVEST instead of TEC.
Due to the 5% clause back then, which gave options for ABC to take 5% equity in exchange for being on the show (that clause has since been removed thanks to Mark Cuban), Jordan felt that it wasn’t worth pitching SCOTTEVEST. This is because the company was already projected to do $12 million in revenues for the 2012 year and had notable names like Apple Co-founder Steve Wozniak on the board. Jordan became agitated when two of the sharks offered a $1 million combined investment for equity in SCOTTEVEST in which Jordan thought was way too high. You can listen to how the whole pitch went down in the videos below:
We recently had the chance to catch up with SCOTTEVEST founder Scott Jordan via email. Here, we discuss his experience on “Shark Tank,” his bouts with Mark Cuban, and tips for entrepreneurs looking to raise money for their startup.
Having quality connections is important in entrepreneurship and business. You’ve managed to get people like Steve Wozniak on your board. How did you did you accomplish that?
Who you connect with is infinitely more and more important these days for entrepreneurs and it truly makes and breaks businesses. Aligning yourself with people who inspire you is key. Wozniak was actually one of our first customers 13 years ago, and he wrote us a personal email praising our products early on – and the rest is history! Like-minded people who see eye-to eye on their business visions will easily connect and those relationships are priceless.
Obviously, you are not a big fan of Shark Tank. However, how much of an impact did the show have on your sales for Scottevest after the episode came out?
It’s not that I dislike “Shark Tank,” it’s that I have some issues with their (now former) behind-the-scenes clauses, the real purpose of the show, and how some of the sharks conduct themselves on social media. After the show aired there was a slight boost in sales, but me not being able to say “SCOTTEVEST” deterred the majority of viewers from finding the actual online store.
You were more outspoken than the typical contestant that gets on Shark Tank. It was clear that you hit a nerve in all the sharks from the things you said during your pitch. Looking back, do you regret anything you said?
Absolutely not. I stand by my various patents, my SCOTTEVEST products, and the value of my company. The offers they made for SCOTTEVEST were completely below valuation considering we are very profitable already and I would still turn them down in a heart beat.
You’ve called Mark Cuban a “billionaire bully” in the past and he’s admitted on an occasion that he wanted to make you cry during the show, has there been any sort of communication between you and him since then? Why do you think he picked on you so much during the show?
Mark Cuban regularly interacts with me on social media. He seems to always be checking my Facebook and Twitter for an opportunity to start a fight. Just about a week ago when my episode re-aired, he took to social media again to spark up the patent troll debate again. I think he picked on me so much during the show because he is jealous he didn’t patent it first!
@scottevest doesnt surprise me that you have to go back to the 1800s to find an example
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) March 5, 2012
Was their anything that you would’ve done differently during your pitch on Shark Tank?
I wish I had been a contestant after they had removed the %5 clause, which would have allowed me to say “SCOTTEVEST” on air. The way the sharks were “baiting” me (pun intended) to try and say the company name so they could exercise the right to 5% of our company was detrimental in my opinion. It succeeded in frustrating me and adding drama to the episode, but made the segment less about straight business talk and more about me trying to avoid saying the company name.
What do you believe are the qualities that make a successful entrepreneur?
Innovation and a “figure it out” mentality. We were making clothing with pockets big enough for iPads before iPads existed! Why? Because we are THAT innovative! Follow trends of industries that closely affect your own company, and be ahead of the curve in innovation. Successful entrepreneurs also take risks and do things that scare them even if they aren’t sure how to do it, they figure it out. I didn’t study PR in college but when I started SCOTTEVEST I became a jack of all trades and figured it out – no matter what it is I had to accomplish.
What advice do you have for any inexperienced entrepreneurs raising funds for their new startup and pitching investors?
Always consider the ROI of whatever method of fundraising you pursue. For example, like I recently told Alison Griswold of Business Insider: Shark Tank is not only extremely time consuming but can also be costly to apply for, and the time invested could end up falling flat and never even airing. Try more traditional methods like asking family members or mentors for investments or newer crowdsourcing fundraising options like Kickstarter that both spread the word and raise you money.
How is TEC and Scottevest doing now? Do you have any other cool things in the works with that company?
We’re killing it! SCOTTEVEST now offers over 50 TEC-Technology Enabled Clothing(r) products for men and women and we are constantly expanding our line. We actually just launched our newest product (and coolest in my opinion), the Knowmatic Hoodie – our first ever collaboration with a fashion designer. I met famous streetwear designer Jeff Ng / jeffstaple exactly one year ago and in that time we made the sickest hoodie ever. I’m really looking forward to expanding SCOTTEVEST into different niche markets and teaming up with talented people like Jeff to create these awesome “best of two worlds” products!