Season 10 may be a decade of dreams, but this hopeful broom entrepreneur was in for a rude awakening on Sunday’s “Shark Tank, ” which for the first time in the show’s history featured three female sharks in the tank.
Regular sharks Lori Greiner and Barbara Corcoran were joined by guest shark Sara Blakely, the creator of the undergarment company Spanx. The milestone wasn’t lost on the three. “Ladies, ” Greiner and Blakely exclaimed to each other, before Corcoran concluded, “Don’t say ladies. Say majority. ”
Unfortunately for Eben Dobson III, the creator of the Wisp Broom, the three weren’t swept away by his presentation, and neither were fellow sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary. While the sharks were impressed with the actual product, a lightweight broom designed to make sweeping easier, Dobson stumbled out of the gate asking for $500, 000 for a 10 percent investment.
“That’s a lot of Wisping, ” Cuban deadpanned under his breath.
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While $3. 3 million in sales seemed a rosy number to the sharks, Dobson soon revealed that he lost $600, 000 last year, leaving everyone in the room surprised. That number soon grew worse when the sharks learned Dobson had invested $2. 1 million in the company and made a profit of just $50, 000 in the company’s six year history.
“I think you get an A for effort, and an F for execution, ” Corcoran said.
“I like your product. I’m going to buy your product, but I am not going to invest in your company today, ” Blakely agreed.
Mistakes were clearly made. Dobson would be the first to admit it. Shifting in step and nervously pushing his broom around, it was apparent what Dobson really needed was a partner. Cue, Mr. Wonderful. O’Leary stepped in, offering him the $500, 000 to become equal partners.
“The product clearly works, ” O’Leary said. “That’s the intriguing part, but year after year after year, you’ve made no money. That’s very depressing. The question is, do you need adult supervision so you can get focused on one thing. ”
The question was less would Dobson take the deal and more could he? With 22 investors and $250, 000 of debt already on the company, it would be a hard sell. Greiner even offered to help peddle the product if O’Leary fronted the money, but O’Leary wasn’t interested in partnering up.
“Why wouldn’t you want to include Lori? ” Dobson asked.
“I might, but she’s not putting up any money right now, so I’m not worried about it, ” O’Leary responded, wanting to know if they had a deal or not.
“OK we’ll do it, ” Dobson said. The “Shark Tank” theme music played as O’Leary rose to shake hands with Dobson. “But …”
O’Leary sat back down. The music stopped. The camera focused on an increasingly nervous Dobson, who was still caught up in whether Greiner was included in the deal or not.
An angry O’Leary retracted the offer and told Dobson to grab his broom and get out.
As the still-rattled broom salesman walked down the hall, he shook his head and said, “That could have gone better. ”