If you don’t already watch ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank” you are missing out on some awesome reality television. If you aren’t familiar with the show, it features entrepreneurs approaching a panel of successful billionaires such as Mark Cuban with business concepts. The entrepreneurs want funding and the investors, known as “sharks”, want as much equity as possible. From then on it’s a fun showdown watching the sharks battle it out to be the lucky investor, or the sharks team up and absolutely rip the entrepreneurs apart. It’s one of the few reality TV shows that truly is “reality”.
Those that have been watching the show have probably noticed the trend in Provo companies making it onto the show. Here are the Utah companies that have been featured on Shark Tank so far. It’s interesting to note that every single one is a Provo-based company.
Kisstixx was started by two Utah Valley University students. Their product? A pair of lip balm sticks that have different flavors and when combined through kissing, create a magical feeling. How did it fare among the sharks? Mark Cuban ended up investing $200,000 for 40% of the company. Cuban has since noted that Kisstixx has been one of his favorite investments.
Nate Holzapfel started “The Mission Belt” which sports a variety of stylish belts that don’t use holes and provide the perfect fit regardless of how much weight you gain or lose. The belt uses a ratchet system like a giant zip-tie. How did the three-month-old company do? After some negotiating, The Mission Belt stuck a deal with Daymond John who gave $50,000 for 37.5% of the company.
Many locals were surprised to see this company on Shark Tank as from the surface they seem to have already “made it” considering theyhave over 18 locations. They recently had to buy out a bad business partner for $500,000 and the sharks weren’t overly excited about expensive costs of running the business. SubZero went in asking for $300,000 for a 12% stake in the company, but the sharks didn’t bite. Many of them didn’t feel SubZero needed an extra partner or just didn’t want to get involved in the ice cream business.
This Friday Shark Tank will feature yet another Provo based company. “Scan“, a paid app, allows users to scan QR codes to receive information, sign up for a Wi-Fi connection or to get forwarded to a company’s web site. The app recently raised over $1.7 million. The app appears to do the same things your average free QR reader will do, so I’ll be interested to see how the pitch goes this Friday night. It’s really exciting to see so many companies from Provo get on Shark Tank. It’s a testimony to show just what a great place Utah is for startups.