Late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel made a return trip to Shark Tank for episode seven of Season 7, following his bomb of an idea from last season--horse pants--with a new loser: the Kid Kone, a full-size safety cone that allows kids to play in traffic.

Naturally the sharks passed on that gag pitch, but they literally gagged on another one--Wink Frozen Desserts, a dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, gluten-free ice cream substitute which seemed to carry the unfortunate side effect of being absolutely taste-free. After pronouncing himself "an ice-cream expert," shark Robert Herjavec visibly blanched while tasting the product. Likewise, Mark Cuban, who said he's lactose-intolerant and always on the lookout for a good ice-cream substitute, was noticeably disappointed after one spoonful.

But that doesn't mean there's no market for Wink, the sharks noted. Co-founders Ani Blinova and Gabe Wolff were seeking $300,000 for 15 percent. The product is in northeastern Whole Foods stores and they've sold $534,000 over three years, with a loss last year after encountering serious problems with a co-packer. They project a $50,000 profit on $650,000 in sales this year.

The consensus among the sharks was that the product should be improved, even if it risks raising the calorie count from 100 calories per pint to 200, because that would still be far below the average 600 calories per pint for whole-fat ice cream. Alternately, the sharks felt the founders should focus on developing the niche of consumers with serious food allergies or issues that would welcome the product despite its lackluster taste.

More success came to Debra and Hugo Saavedra who were seeking $200,000 for 10 percent of Saavy Naturals, their all-natural food-grade line of skin cleansers and other treatments. The very romantic husband-and-wife duo are chefs who successfully built a $10 million cosmetics company a few years ago, but lost their majority stake to investors. Saavy has $750,000 in sales for one year, wholesaling to Whole Foods and others in New York, Southern California and Boston. Cuban is stunned to find out Saavy has no online sales at all.

Lori Greiner is wowed by one of the facial scrubs, but Kevin O'Leary doesn't like the valuation. When the Saavedras add that they have $400,000 in debt to family and friends, O'Leary declares the company to be valueless. Grenier thinks the space is too competitive, Cuban has a conflict with his investment in Simple Sugars, but Barbara Corcoran sees some opportunity, tell the couple, "You're just the kind of people I love."

But they don't love her offer -- $200,000 for 50 percent of the business, which seems almost intentionally designed to freak out founders who are recovering from losing majority control of their last successful enterprise. Herjavec offers $200,000 for 45 percent of the business, noting that just go online will boost sales.

Corcoran counters by lowering her stake to 40 percent for $100,000 in cash, while putting up $100,000 to finance purchase orders and will continue to fund POs after that point. The Saavedras take the deal, and Herjavec looks slightly hurt.

Arthur Shmulevsky and Ryan Agran were up next, pitching Clean Cube, a app-driven secure mini-storage system for use in apartment buildings that don't have doormen. Clean Cube is in 40 New York apartment buildings, and allows residents to leave or receive dry cleaning, deliveries and other items without a doorman in the building.

The two want to charge a subscriber fee of $10 per month, but aren't collecting that now. To date, they have $130,000 in the last 12 months, including fees from some building owners who pay them to bring in Clean Cube.

The sharks all pass, seeing the business as too difficult to scale, not completely developed or too focused on a niche.

Last up is Simply Fit Board, a new take on the exercise wobble board presented by mother-and-daughter team Linda Clark and Gloria Hoffman. The one-piece curved plastic board allows user to build core strength, as with conventional wobble boards, but also to twist and do other moves so that they can incorporate most other exercises onto the Simply Fit Board.

In 18 months they've sold more than 50,000 boards online. The boards cost less than $10 to manufacture and sell for $45, a margin the sharks love, and the founders have made $260,000 so far.

While Clark and Hoffman have a patent for a Fit Board system, which includes the board and a prototype base, the board itself can't be patented. The sharks stress that Fit Board could easily be knocked off, and encourage the entrepreneurs to scale up as quickly as possible to establish the brand. O'Leary offers more than they want, bidding $250,000 for a 30 percent stake but thinks at least half of that should go to inventory.

The others are out, including Corcoran, who sees Fit Board as an info-mercial product, which she's had bad luck with. Greiner, however, calls herself the "Queen of QVC," and is the perfect shark to get the Fit Board story out to a wide audience. She offers $125,000 for 20 percent and more cash to fund purchase orders. "We have to work really hard, quickly," she tells them.

Clark counters by asking if Greiner would pair up with O'Leary, something she rejects outright, since she needs absolutely no help in this space. "I make millionaires," Greiner says. After some more haggling, Clark and Hoffman take the deal.

 

Published on: Nov 9, 2015