For all those entrepreneurs looking to gain fame and funding by going on “Shark Tank,” business owner Chris Pouy has some free advice: be fearless, be prepared and be enthusiastic.
Of course, most important: have a business concept with a “wow” factor.
Pouy came up with these tips as he was going through the application process to appear on the show to seek funding for his new business in downtown Los Angeles, Cow Wow Cereal Milk. In his segment, scheduled to air Jan. 31, he didn’t win over the sharks.
The 37-year-old former ad executive-turned entrepreneur applied to go on the show as a contestant at the urging of friends, who said his business would be great on TV. His product, as reported in the Business Journal last year, is an odd one: milk injected with cereal flavoring.
He launched his company out of his downtown L.A. loft about 18 months ago, using low-fat and low-sugar products. The milk is now in several hundred Kroger Co. stores as well as Bristol Farms.
Pouy went all out in the application process to get on “Shark Tank,” including dressing as a cow for his video submission. Then he was selected and went on the show, facing the “sharks” in a one-hour grilling as they challenged his request for $250,000 in funding in exchange for a 10 percent stake in the company. (The hour was edited down to six minutes.)
“I realized you had to know your business inside and out, all the numbers, everything,” he said. “And you couldn’t afford to be afraid.”
The panelists said he was thinking too small if he was to take on multibillion-dollar industry giants, and they declined to fund him.
But Pouy won the game just by getting on the show, which has about 7 million viewers, who have now heard of him and his product.
Just before the taping, a private investor placed $2 million with his company. And he now wants to develop a side line: giving interviews with his tips on how applicants can get on “Shark Tank.” He’s hired a PR person to get out the word that he’s available for consultations.
The fact that he didn’t get funded?
“Not really an issue,” he said. “The real goal is getting on the show. Just the exposure you get on ‘Shark Tank’ should be enough for most entrepreneurs.”
– Howard Fine
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