If you're trying to get a deal on Shark Tank, it's best to do business like the experts. That's how co-founders Sarah Paiji Yoo and Syed Naqvi won over Kevin O'Leary on Sunday night. 

The duo was on ABC's hit reality show seeking $270,000 in exchange for 2 percent equity of their cleaning supply startup Blueland. The company sells four products--foaming hand soap, and multi-surface, bathroom, and glass and mirror cleaners--all made in BPA-free bottles designed to be reused so customers can reduce their single-use plastic waste. To replenish a supply customers order a refill tablet for $2, place it in the bottle, and fill the bottle with water. The starter set, which includes one bottle and one tablet is $12, while a kit that contains all four cleaners costs $39, the co-founders said on the show.

Blueland is Paiji Yoo's second startup. Her first, a mobile fashion platform called Snapette, was acquired by price comparison site PriceGrabber in 2013. Naqvi, who immigrated to the U.S. from Pakistan when he was 10, earned his degree in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh and worked as an R&D scientist at companies like Johnson & Johnson and Henkel before launching Blueland. Their New York City-based business had previously raised $3 million, at a $13.5 million valuation, from venture capital investors, the co-founders told the Sharks. The founders also cited strong sales gains, generating $200,000 in online orders in just over a month following the company's April launch.

While these details impressed the Sharks, tensions mounted during the deal negotiations. KIND snacks founder and guest judge Daniel Lubetzky and Lori Greiner teamed up to offer the duo $270,000 for 8 percent equity, while O'Leary proposed investing $270,000 for 5 percent equity and 1 percent advisory shares. The co-founders weren't willing to part with more than 5 percent equity of their company. 

"I don't think you really came here for a deal," Mark Cuban said, accusing them of seeking the show's publicity more than its business opportunities. "You came for the commercial. I'm out." 

As the possibility of landing a deal quickly dwindled, Paiji Yoo offered O'Leary a royalty deal, Mr. Wonderful's preferred type of Shark Tank investment. O'Leary would get 3 percent equity in exchange for his $270,000 investment and would also collect a 50-cent royalty on every kit sold until he recoups his money.

"There's a woman who understands me," O'Leary said after closing the deal and shaking the co-founders' hands. 

Published on: Oct 4, 2019