I watched all 168 episodes of Shark Tank and found this…

Making a few angel investments myself & serving as an advisor for several startups has exposed me to hundreds of pitches over the years. Furthermore, in my current role – I am often liasing with senior sales and marketing leaders thus delivering a good pitch myself is constantly an active pursuit.

Not having cable television at home in Australia; it was only recently that an episode of Shark Tank appeared on my recommended suggestions and then….

I was hooked.

Since December – I have made it a hobby of mine to watch all 168 episodes. Finally finishing this weekend – this is what I learned…

1. Have a genuine story

Most successful pitches I have seen were delivered by founders who were able to tell an engaging story as to HOW they got there. Take for instance the Scrub Daddy, which thanks to investor Lori Greiner has now done over $50 million in sales. Aaron Krause told an engaging story as to how the Scrub Daddy was just a ‘chance’ discovery. Krause was inventing new pads to assist in his car polishing business and made some smaller pads which he placed in a box and stored for years. It was only when he was liquidating his stock that he found that the pads turned rock hard in cold water but soft and sponge like in the cold.

The relevance of storytelling again resonates with me as I see time and time again prospects engage positively with my founder Vinay Bhagat. Vinay explains the origins of our business TrustRadius – by sharing that he stumbled across the idea when shopping online for a coffee machine for his wife. He didn’t understand why a coffee machine was featured in such a robust and analytical way online – yet for complex B2B software purchases there was nothing available for consumers to utilize to make such important million dollar decisions. Thus TrustRadius was born

scrubdaddy

2. Never Underestimate Empathy

When the Shark Tank investors are able to see something of themselves in the individual or realise the hardship they have overcome to see their startup come to life – often the founder has a greater chance of securing a deal. When pitching – it is important to share details which may draw emotions from your audience. Moziah Bridges – the founder of Mo’s Bows started the company at 12 years old with the majority of his product being handmade. Daymond John empathized with Mo based on his own experience – having worked by hand building his own hat company to become FUBU – eventually worth hundreds of millions.

mos bows

3. The Product Rarely Matters – Just the Vision

We have seen the Sharks invest in things all the way from pie shops to paintbrush covers – so why do Sharks get in the water? Very rarely do the Sharks back out because the product sits outside their interest – if the market potential is untapped an the unit economics are good – the Shark Tank investors are normally willing to take the plunge. Take for instance – Emazinglights. To most of this product simply looks like a pair of gloves that flashes with some simple LEDs – but after the sharks heard about the multi-million dollar run rate and vision of the founder to create events & competitions around usage of the product, interest in the concept boomed. Supported by strong knowledge of customer acquisition costs and lack of debt in the company- Brian Lim walked away with $650k for only 5% of his company through Mark Cuban and Daymond John.  Not bad right? But with figures like 2,281% growth in 3 years – the product became secondary to the business opportunity the investment represented.

emazinglightsimage

Conculsion

When pitching- we can focus on three things we have learned from the Sharks:

  1. Is your story easy simple, easy and genuine?
  2. Are you sharing parts of yourself which align with the experience of your investors?
  3. Have you mastered your knowledge of key metrics and are do they fit with the vision for your product in the market?
About The Author

Dailius Wilson

Dailius Wilson is the 24 year old founder of WolfofYorkStreet.com – helping the world's top SaaS companies to optimise their sales and marketing efforts. Dailius is currently a Director at TrustRadius and a digital blogger at increasemyonlinebusiness.com. Dailius was named as one of the Top 30 Entrepreneurs in Australia for 2015 by Anthill Online and was ranked in the Top 100 SEO Experts in the World. Dailius has also been a guest on the Ellen Degeneres Show and has over 10,000,000 views on Youtube