Most entrepreneurs would be happy if sales doubled in their first few years. Mark Cuban sees things a bit differently. The famous snarky Shark says he decided to invest in EmazingLights because he saw serious potential in the e-sports company, which makes a glove with LED lights on the fingertips for dance and competitive e-sports.
"EmazingLights is compelling because [founder] Brian Lim has created a market where there was none," he says. "Gloving has potential because Brian is driving the sport, and I believe in Brian."
As with any new venture, the lesson here is to do something new that triggers rampant interest. Since its inception in 2011, the company has enjoyed massive growth -- 2,281 percent -- due to an emerging form of electronic gloving.
In the Shark Tank episode on which Lim appeared this year, Cuban and fellow investor Daymond John both seemed fascinated by the gloves. They seemed "emazed" by the product, if you will. Yet Cuban says his interest had nothing to do with being mesmerized. When asked if he ever goes with his gut in choosing an investment opportunity, he says he always goes with the numbers and wants to see robust sales.
It's tempting to think the Sharks are picking companies based on personal preference, but Cuban's comment matches up with what John told me back in March at the SxSW conference. These entrepreneurs are all business.
"I love what Brian is doing, and sales results show that interest in EmazingLights is certainly growing," Cuban says. "Both consumer and community interest is on the rise as EmazingLights is releasing new products, opening new licensed stores, and developing its partnerships."
"This is an awesome new dance art form where you can express yourself to any genre of music," adds Lim when asked why sales are booming. "Teams and families are being formed by glovers that practice the art on a daily basis, similar to skateboarding crews."
What does it take to burst a company wide open and attract such a legion of fans? Lim says you have to work harder than your competitors in every area of business, not just the areas where you have the most skill or knowledge. Cuban says it's a combination of having a great entrepreneur who knows his or her stuff, having a great product, and being willing to drive yourself to make constant improvements.
Of course, having a Shark on your side doesn't hurt. Lim says having Cuban involved has not only helped his company but helped make gloving a more legitimate e-sport in general. And Cuban's influence has merely complimented the momentum the company had already established. Since Shark Tank aired in March, Lim says EmazingLights has doubled its employees and office space. And it's introduced new product lines and added more licensed stores.
"We also have partnership with MGM, selling our products at six properties in Las Vegas," he says. "This coincides with EDC Las Vegas, the biggest EDM festival in North America."
Can gloving enter the mainstream? Cuban thinks it can attract millions of viewers, although it might not be on ESPN in the near future. Cross your (LED lighted) fingers.