Even Mark Cuban gets out-sharked from time to time.
On Sunday's episode of Shark Tank, Cuban was preparing an offer for entrepreneur Kate Field, whose at-home kombucha brewing kit has generated $3.2 million in lifetime sales, but before Cuban could speak up, Field accepted an investment from two other sharks. Barbara Corcoran and guest shark and Spanx founder Sara Blakely offered Field $350,000 in exchange for 10 percent of The Kombucha Shop, which Field instantly accepted. The $350,000 will be split between $200,000 of equity and a $150,000 line of credit.
"Normally people at least give me a shot," Cuban said when asked why he waited to make Field an offer.
The Kombucha Shop's at-home brewing kit sells for $45 and includes a reusable glass jar and all the ingredients necessary to make one-gallon batches of the fermented tea drink. Most kombucha beverages typically sell for between $3 and $5 per 16-ounce bottle. Field expects to generate between $1.6 million to $1.7 million in sales in 2018, selling primarily on her website and Amazon.com, as well as through a handful of brick and mortar stores. When the Sharks asked why she wanted an investment and partner, Field said she wanted to expand into retail--specifically, Whole Foods.
"I've brought this company as far as I can on my own," said Field, adding that she founded her Madison, Wisconsin-based company with just an $800 initial investment. "I've been a one-woman show this whole time...What I have learned is that I don't know what I don't know." The new investment brings the company to a valuation of $3.5 million.
Cuban literally applauded Field throughout her presentation, commending her for never having spent money on advertising, for not turning to crowdfunding sites to raise money, and for not making any claims about the health benefits of kombucha. While Blakely was also impressed, she hesitated to make an offer at first.
"You're doing so great in direct marketing so I'm struggling with why you wouldn't just continue to do this by yourself," Blakely said. "I'm not going to buy 10 percent of your company so I can make a phone call for you to Whole Foods." Right when Blakely was about to opt-out, however, Corcoran proposed a partnership. "Why don't I make a deal and if you'd like to join me you're more than welcome," Corcoran said. Blakely agreed, and before Cuban could say a word, Field had accepted their offer.
"I have admired Sara and Barbara for so long, but honestly I would have done a deal with Mark," Field said after leaving the Tank. "I'm a little sad he didn't get to get an offer in."
So was Cuban. After the deal was over, he admitted that--had there been time--he would have overbid Corcoran and Blakely "in a heartbeat."