First into the tank is Joe Croft of Gunnar Optiks, seeking $750,000 for five percent equity.
Gunnar Optiks is a line of glasses that reduces digital eye strain and enhances focus. According to their website, the “premium computer eyewear defends eyes against short and long-term effects of digital eyestrain. [The] patented lenses add focus, block harsh blue light and glare so your eyes can finally relax.” Styles include computer, gaming, sunglass and prescription; while various tints protect the vision of graphic designers, video editors, readers and more. Prices range from $49.99 to $99.
Last year, they sold $6.5 million worth of glasses and are on track to do $7.5 million this year. They are profitable and hope to build an entire brand covering multiple industries. Croft has raised more than $9 million for the business and only owns 20 percent of the company. He hopes to increase marketing with an investment from the sharks.
Barbara Corcoran goes out, followed by Robert Herjavec—who sees too much uncertainty. Mark Cuban credits Croft for surviving in the industry, but he doubts whether he can truly thrive. He goes out. Guest shark Rohan Oza likes the brand, but goes out as well.
Lori Greiner likes that the glasses reduce blue light strain, but is concerned about the company’s debt. Ultimately, she offers $375,000 as an investment and $375,000 as a loan at eight percent for eight percent equity. She updates her offer to $750,000 as a loan at eight percent interest for five percent equity after he expresses concerns over the equity. He then counters two-and-a-half percent equity. He counters again at four percent equity but eventually ends up accepting the deal at five percent.
Each week on “Shark Tank,” budding entrepreneurs have the opportunity to pitch their emerging businesses to multi-millionaire and billionaire investors, known as sharks: Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks; Daymond John, fashion mogul and founder of FUBU; Kevin O’Leary, self-proclaimed Mr. Wonderful and founder of O’Leary Financial Group; Barbara Corcoran, real estate maven; Lori Greiner, queen of QVC; and Robert Herjavec, technology guru and founder/CEO of the Herjavec Group.
Philanthropist and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, Spanx founder Sara Blakely, Skinnygirl Cocktails founder and Real Housewife Bethenny Frankel, Vitamin Water founder Rohan Oza and former MLB player Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez are also slated to appear as guest sharks this season.
“Shark Tank,” which is based on “Dragons’ Den,” is produced by Mark Burnett and first debuted in 2009. To date, the sharks have invested more than $100 million in various companies after engaging in numerous bidding wars and shark fights. A new episode airs each Sunday at 9 p.m. on ABC.
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Author: Erica Abbott