Lessons Learned from 2 Shark Tank Pitches

Warren Buffett value and price

Watching Shark Tank always teaches me something. It might be feedback from a shark, a memorable (which could go any number of ways) pitch, or a standout product. Regardless, I consider it a worthwhile weekly 45-minute business – and entertainment -- investment.

The April 15, 2022 episode had two pitches that stood out for different reasons. If you’re a Shark Tank fan and haven’t seen the latest episode yet, I’ll try not to spoil it for you.

Who Knew Hair Could Be Funny?

The first pitch was for HairFin, invented by Tony the awkward engineer. Tony clearly missed his calling as a standup comic. HairFin is a niche product that solves a real problem for DIY haircutters. All five of the sharks felt the product was too niche and unscalable. They initially passed on an investment.

But Tony, the likeable computer engineer, kept them engaged. “We care about hair but not a lot” might be one of the funniest unintentional taglines I’ve heard in a long time.

In the end, Tony did earn shark Daymond John's investment.

His initial ask of $75,000 for 20% equity was modest by any measure. The lone investor increased his equity to 30% even though his involvement would be very limited. John saw the opportunity to connect Hair Fin with one of his complementary hair product companies. The two founders would work together to develop the market.

The takeaway from this pitch – Tony was credible, unassuming, and humbly committed to his purpose. His creator’s story was simple and his personal mission admirable.

Cultural Awareness’ Time Has Come

The second company wasn’t competing with comedy. Instead, the two founders of Browndages struck the cultural awareness chord. As the name suggests, the Browndages product is band-aids for all skin tones. Even though there is heavy competition from firmly established leaders like the Band-Aids brand, the sharks were quickly onboard.

What made this niche product with strong competition attractive? The product is timely, it addresses a long-neglected need, and the creators are deeply focused. The husband and wife team recognized the competition they are facing and  had a clearly articulated plan for overcoming it.

In the end, three sharks came together with a generous investment because they supported the cultural importance.

A Final Word

We hear about spectacular financial investments and lofty company valuations every day. These deserve to be recognized and studied as examples of one form of company growth.  

Investors expect a return on their financial risks. Rightly so.

But what these two Shark Tank pitches remind us of has nothing to do with investors, money, and valuations. Instead, the ultimate measure of a company’s success is the meaningful value of the product or service delivered.

In both of these pitches, the sharks focused on the problems these products solved for everyday customers.

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Tags: Business Strategy

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Linda Rolf is a lifelong curious learner who believes a knowledge-first approach builds valuable client relationships. She is fueled by discovering the unexpected connections among technology, data, information, people and process. For more than four decades, Linda and Quest Technology Group have been their clients' trusted advisor and strategic partner.

Linda believes that lasting value and trust are created through continuously listening, sharing knowledge freely, and delivering more than their clients even know they need. As the CIO of their first startup client said, "The value that Quest brings to Cotton States is far greater than the software they develop."

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