This particular episode shows the extremes of businesses – from parties and chocolate experiences to childcare frustrations. The show started with a pitch that was very difficult to understand. And whilst David Hill lamented “I need investors who understand the importance of this.” The number of investors who are world experts in skate board tracks might be quite limited – it was his job to include us in his world so that we could understand the ‘importance’ of his work – on the other hand we had two women passionate about inclusive childcare – and whilst none of us understood the industry of childcare – they quickly and effectively brought us into their world. Here are my notes from each of the pitches.
David Hill Designs – “Trust me” does not necessarily make the best pitch. Nor does “This is what the competitors do – but it is not that” nor does “It is in this box”. Even with a patent David was not prepared to tell us what his secret invention for skate board rails is – that makes investing a challenge. He is a leader in his field, but without understanding the commercial opportunity I was left confused. And you could tell the other Shark’s were equally frustrated.
The Party People – Party shops and an online business – This is a family business and the son’s have bought out their mother and grand fathers and are wishing to grow the concept to be a national chain of stores. The founder of the business was Patch the clown entertaining at kids parties in the 1980s and she saw an opportunity to provide novelties for parties. They now have 15,000 different stock items – and a good business that produces a good profit – but the valuation is massive at $8million. They have invested greatly in their online presence. Offering only a 5% stake in a family business would make it very difficult for an investor to influence any decisions – and I was unclear about how a return would be delivered. Amazing set balloons everywhere…we were in the underwater theme party. This pitch was great fun and high energy.
Freckleberry – A business I love and know, Megan has supplied her amazing sweets to RedBalloon for at least 4 years… RedBalloon is one of her whole sale clients – she has many. But she was here to talk about a retail store with a child’s party facility. Helping her do the numbers we showed how the concept store was thwart with danger and that even in planning she was loosing 20% per year (and that is if everything went right). Steve was curious about Megan as founder her wish for ‘fulfillment’ and doing retail better than her current wholesale business. We could see so much upside in her existing business – collectively we wondered if retail would be a distraction.
RedBalloon has extended the range we offer of Freckleberry – and you will see why – the product is delightful.
Hummingbirds – An early childhood day care center for children of varying abilities in Brisbane. These women were passionate, articulate and persistent. Each seeing the business opportunity because of their own life circumstances. They had done the numbers, have a the waiting list and needed some business support to establish the facility. A heart felt and insightful pitch that deeply touched, moved and inspired each of the Sharks. As John said “This is not something that should be fought out in the Shark Tank”