Shark Tank host Robert Herjavec offered to write one of the biggest checks in the show's history during Friday's episode, but ran into trouble at the negotiating table.
Tech entrepreneur Patrick Ambron came to the tank seeking $2 million for 13.5 percent of his online reputation company BrandYourself. One of Inc.'s 35 Under 35 companies last year, the business helps individuals manage what shows up when someone searches for them online.
"If an employer, client, colleague, or even a date looks them up, they won't find that embarrassing blog from college," Ambron said. "Instead, they'll find what you want them to find: accurate, relevant results about you."
BrandYourself uses a freemium model with two tiers of paid services. The company's sales grew from $400,000 in its first year to $800,000 in year two, and they're on track to break $2 million in year three.
As an internet security expert, Herjavec immediately expressed his enthusiasm for the model.
"There's a very large business for consumers that may not be computer savvy that want a better reputation or to get rid of something," he said.
While every shark was intrigued by the opportunity, most had issues related to either the company's future growth potential or the nearly $15 million valuation, which led Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary to all pass on investing. Herjavec, however, had other ideas, and offered $2 million for 20 percent of the company.
"I believe in it," he said. "I don't have any interest in getting my money back this year or next year. You're either going to scale it to $50 million or $100 million or you're not.
Unfortunately, Ambron had recently raised $3 million from venture capital investors at the $15 million valuation, and didn't feel comfortable taking Herjavec's deal at a lower valuation.
"We just couldn't meet in the middle," Ambron said. "Saying no was hard, but it was just what I had to do."
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