Many entrepreneurs on “Shark Tank” have failed pitching their products because their startups were deemed not up to par with the standards of the sharks on the show. However, a team of entrepreneurs from Austin, Texas were recently able to secure an investment from the show’s biggest shark, Mark Cuban, for a whopping $1 million.
The product that the three co-founders pitched was BeatBox Beverages, which is basically a fun twist on boxed wine.
While one particular shark, Kevin O’Leary, simply didn’t get the product and went as far as saying the product “tasted like shit,” Mark Cuban immediately got what they were doing and was all over it.
“You guys don’t sell wine … You sell fun.”
After some back and forth between Mark and the other sharks, the highest offer on the table was from Mark Cuban, who offered $600,000 for 33 percent of the company.
Co-founder Justin Fenchel then countered with “Would you do $1 million for a third?” to which Mark replied after a couple seconds, “Yeah!”
We recently had the pleasure of interviewing BeatBox Beverages co-founders Aimy Steadman, Brad Schultz and Justin Fenchel over email. There, they revealed to us the meticulous process they went through to prepare for the show and why they thought Mark Cuban was the perfect investor for their startup.
How much research did you guys do on each of the sharks before you went on the show?
“We became complete stalkers. We watched all the episodes and read up on each of them. We ultimately assigned different values to each shark, based on how much we thought they could help us out. We also had friends who knew the show pretend to be each shark to try and match their personalities.”
You guys were very good at answering every single tough question the sharks had to ask. How did you guys prepare?
“Tons and tons and tons of practice. We constantly recorded ourselves and watched the footage back. We planned for the absolute worst, and hoped for the best. We didn’t want lack of preparation to be the thing that prevented us from getting a deal.”
Many contestants on “Shark Tank” fail to strike a deal. What made you guys different enough that you got so many offers in the tank?
“On the business side, we really tried to remove all (as many as possible) of the risks associated with a consumer products startup. We worked hard to outsource our manufacturing and sign on with a distributor. This allowed the sharks to feel confident that money they put in was going into a well-oiled machine … a bright neon machine!
On a personal level, we really tried to bring the energy! Our product is fun and we wanted to convey that. At the end of the day, the sharks have to want to work with you as people, and who doesn’t want to work with fun people?!”
What made you guys think Mark Cuban was the best investor to work with?
“We knew we wanted Mark from the start. He got what we were trying to do with BeatBox right away. He’s in Texas and he’s a genius.”
How involved and hands on does Mark Cuban get? Being the outspoken person that he is, have you guys received an ass-kicking from him yet?
“Mark is incredibly hands on! We kicked off with a three-hour strategy session (only days after his hip surgery by the way) and are in constant contact with him on email and Cyberdust. We haven’t quite received an ass-kicking just yet, but he is QUICK to tell us about things he disagrees with.”
What’s Mark Cuban taught you so far about business or entrepreneurship?
“Most importantly, the importance of staying focused. We went into the strategy session with hundreds of ideas on how we were going to grow BeatBox, and Mark cut it down to one. Rather than just telling us what to do, Mark explains his thought process.”
With three of you guys as co-founders, it can be hard sometimes to balance all the personalities and egos out. How do you guys stay together and continue moving as one unit?
“The BeatBox team has five co-founders, and we all contribute something completely different. There is a huge level of respect we have for one another which is always a solid foundation. We’re so focused on growing the business that there’s really no time for much else. When things do get tense, we take the bag out of the box and slap the bag!”
You guys originally taped the episode back in June. I’m assuming you had to keep the deal a secret. Was there anyone that you were legally allowed to tell before the show aired? What about people in your staff?
“ABC put the fear of God into us to not utter a word about the results. It was insanely hard to do. A lot of the deals made on the show don’t actually close, so we didn’t want to jinx it.”
Tell us a little bit about what life has been like since the show aired.
“We’ve been getting tons of calls from people all over who want to try BeatBox and bring it to their parties. We’re recruiting people to represent the BeatBox brand in their areas. We’re trying to make the most of the attention to help get the word out about the product and get more distribution in place.”
Check out Beatbox Beverages.