Last week was “student night” on Shark Tank featuring some amazing & very smart creative college kids who brought their businesses to the now famous VCs looking for money & partnership. The last young entrepreneur was there with an app called Scholly which enables college students to find the scholarship money out there left untouched because it's difficult to access . The creator of this app revealed that he got 1.3 million dollars in scholarship money for himself this way. He & his co-founders did all the heavy lifting, putting it into an easy to use app. He came asking for 40K & offering 15 percent equity in the business.
Hardball Or Charity
Lori Greiner jumped right in giving him exactly what he wanted without getting every last detail. Daymond John personally identified with this kid because he couldn’t afford to go to college so he wanted to partner with him as well. The net result was Greiner & John decided to do the deal together but the catch was they wanted an answer before the other sharks could ask the questions they wanted to get answered effectively shutting them out of a potential deal. One of my favorite sharks Robert Herjavec took umbrage at Greiner’s tactics accusing her of offering charity. Similar sentiment was voiced by Mark Cuban & Kevin O’Leary. Those of you who know the show, understand that Greiner's strategy is a common, widely practiced one on the show; i.e., frequently a shark will offer a deal with the caveat that the business person has to decide right on the spot. If they try to shop for a better deal or “snooze” frequently they lose the offer. Mark Cuban is a master at this strategic hardball so I found it ironic that suddenly he found this familiar strategy somehow inappropriate. As a result Herjavec, O’Leary & Cuban actually walked off the set in what looked like a childish "hissy fit." These are all savvy, competitive people who were clearly intrigued by this student entrepreneur so it appeared to me that these 3 men didn’t like getting scooped. I did not see this as charity. What’s your view?