Season 9 Episode 24
Season 9 Episode 24 first aired on February 25, 2018. The Sharks on this episode are Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, and Bethenny Frankel. They heard pitches featuring four products:
- Bermies: A swimwear brand
- Dermovia Lace Your Face: A novel skin-care product
- Palmini: A pasta substitute using Hearts of Palm
- Thrive+: An after-alcohol aid/hangover cure
Bermies is a swimwear brand created by Argentinian entrepreneur Uki Deane. In Deane’s pitch to the Sharks, he stresses how comfortable the swim trunks are relative to other swim trunks, and how quickly they dry relative to other swim trunks. According to Deane, Bermies are more comfortable and quicker-drying because they are not made from polyester, which most swim trunks are made of. However, Deane does not specify the product’s material.
At the time of the show, Bermies swim trunks cost approximately fifty dollars per trunk. Deane claims that while Bermies are more expensive than most swim trunks, consumers will buy Bermies trunks, because they are much more comfortable than the alternatives. However, the Sharks took issue with that claim. First, they believed the trunks could likely be made much more cheaply than he was currently making them. Second, the Sharks were displeased with how Deane had made use of existing funds. In order to take marketing pictures of himself in Bermies swim trunks, Deane took a trip to Thailand to take pictures on the beach. The Sharks were wary of Deane’s choice to go to Thailand rather than a closer, cheaper location. They each quickly declared themselves out from negotiation.
|1||Deane seeks $200k for 20% stake in company.|
|2||Mark goes out.|
|3||Daymond goes out.|
|4||Lori goes out.|
|5||Robert goes out.|
|6||Bethenny goes out.|
The Sharks were correct to not give Deane a deal. It’s unclear what is stopping a large clothing manufacturer from making the same exact swim trunks. However, I thought the Sharks were somewhat offbase with critiquing Deane’s trip to Thailand. Deane is correct that you may save money due to the cheap cost of living for photo shoots, and high density of backpackers who may work for cheap as models. More substantively, it is unclear what value Bermies provide that can’t be easily replicated by a knockoff brand.
Dermovia Lace Your Face
Lace Your Face is a skincare product created by Mariella Scott and Anita Sun Eisenberg. Lace Your Face is a “sheet mask” which you can apply to your face to clean your skin and open pores. However, unlike previous sheet masks, Lace Your Face is much easier to apply to and keep on your face. Whereas other sheet masks slip off easily, Lace Your Face uses a patented fabric/compression mechanism which fastens to your face with an ear hook.
The Sharks seemed enthusiastic about Lace Your Face - especially with the 80% profit margins. Nevertheless, because of their unfamiliar with the female cosmetics market, Robert, Mark, and Daymond all quickly went out. Bethenny was concerned that Lace Your Face’s price was too high relative to alternatives such as getting a facial, so she gave Scott and Eisenberg a low-ball offer. Initially, Lori went out, because of her lack of knowledge about competing products, leaving Bethenny as Scott and Eisenberg’s only options. After Lori went out, the entrepreneurs revealed that they have a huge purchase order for a subscription box. After this revelation, Lori chose to jump back in and offer for $350k for 15%, which Scott and Eisenberg quickly accepted.
|1||Scott and Eisenberg seeks $350k for 10% stake in company.|
|2||Robert goes out.|
|3||Mark goes out.|
|4||Bethenny offers $350k for a 30% stake.|
|5||Daymond goes out.|
|6||Lori goes out.|
|7||Scott and Eisenberg reveal new information about purchase order.|
|8||Scott and Eisenberg counter $350k for 15% stake.|
|9||Lori accepts offer.|
I thought the product seemed quite novel, and their numbers seemed to suggest they likely had a strong financial outlook. However, I would have liked to hear more about the relative efficacy of this product relative to older versions of “sheet masks”. I would have also liked to hear more about how they’re marketing this product - is it exclusively intended for women?
As an aside, I found Bethenny to be irritating in this segment. When Scott and Eisenberg didn’t respond to her lowball offer, she started attacking them, and even started loudly shouting out a “countdown clock” after which her offer goes away. I’m glad they went with Lori instead.
Palmini is a pasta substitute created by Alfonso Tejada, owner of the food company OA Foods. Palmini is made from “Hearts of Palm”, a vegetable harvested from palm trees. Because Palmini is made from hearts of palm, it is gluten-free, low in carbohydrates and calories, and sugar-free. The main innovation of Tejada was producing the machine which can create pasta from hearts of palm, which is typically difficult to work with. At the time of the show, Tejada had a patent pending on the machine used to create Palmini.
As is typical with food products on Shark Tank, Tejada provided plates with different types of Palmini to each Shark. Palmini was mostly well-received, but some of the Sharks seemed unusually confused by the fact that it was shaped like pasta. Lori and Mark were the most amenable to the product. Lori had personal experience with both eating and cutting hearts of palm, and so she and Mark quickly came to a deal with Tejada.
|1||Tejada seeks $300k for 10% stake in company.|
|2||Bethenny goes out.|
|3||Daymond goes out.|
|4||Robert goes out.|
|5||Lori and Mark offer $300k for 30% stake.|
|6||Tejada counters $300k for 18% stake.|
|7||Tejada counters $300k for 20% stake.|
|8||Lori and Mark counter $300k for 25% stake.|
|9||Tejada accepts offer.|
OA Foods sells both Palmini and quinoa, but the quinoa was an afterthought in this segment. I understand that Palmini is more innovative, but it would be hard to make a credible offer without knowing about both sides of the business. However, Palmini itself seems to be an excellent product, and I look forward to seeing how OA Foods progresses.
Again - I found Bethenny irritating in this segment. She harassed Tejada about her belief that some big company could make the same machine he had, even after he explained that he had a patent pending which protects him. While it’s true that a company could create an alternative process which skirts the patent and still creates something like Palmini, we should take Tejada at face value and assume that his patent would apply to any potential way of creating Palmini. It was particularly demeaning of Bethenny to say he just has another way of chopping carrots.
Thrive+ is an after-alcohol aid created by Brooks Powell. The product reduces alcohol withdrawal, and provides enzymes to the liver to help it process alcohol. Thrive+ is intended for use any time after you’ve had a drink, but it’s not a panacea to deal with consumption of huge quantities of alcohol. One of the main innovations of Thrive+ is that it contains Dihydromyricetin, a substance found frequently in Chinese herbal medications, but had only recently been scientifically shown to assist recovery from alcohol consumption. One problem with Dihydromyricetin is that when it is consumed alone, little gets into the bloodstream. Thrive+’s proprietary formula makes Dihydromyricetin more bioavailable.
The pitch was a disaster, but it was a predictable disaster. This is a product which should be pitched in an actual venture capital setting, where there is more of an expectation of getting into the details of some product. The Sharks veered between asking silly questions and being obnoxious. After some heated conversation, all the sharks went out.
|1||Powell seeks $400k for 10% stake in company.|
|2||Mark goes out.|
|3||Robert goes out.|
|4||Bethenny goes out.|
|5||Daymond goes out.|
|6||Lori goes out.|
It’s hard to pitch Thrive+ on Shark Tank until you have studies validating Thrive+ relative to other off-the shelf remedies. Then, instead of having to get into the science, which either went over most of the Sharks’ heads or irritated them, you can instead make the case that Thrive+ is N percentage better according to some metric compared to standard hangover cures, like Vitamin C pills.
Mark Cuban took over this segment by taking unsubstantiated digs at Powell. For example, he made Powell out to be a shill simply for using the word nanoparticles, where there was likely a genuine scientific basis for the use of nanoparticles in increasing the bioavailability of Dihydromyricetin. Powell may have been able to persuade other Sharks on other grounds - like Thrive+’s profit margins, but he never had a chance to begin discussing that. Robert was the most reasonable Shark on this segment. He called Mark out for taking over the show, suggesting that the scientific details are something which should be left for due diligence after the show. I agree entirely.
Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, Bethenny Frankel
Bermies, Lace Your Face, Palmini, Thrive+