The latest episode of ABC’s Shark Tank ended with the sharks attacking each other, resulting in three of them storming off of the set.
For those of you who have not seen Shark Tank before, people come on to the show and pitch their product, hoping to make a deal and get investments from the sharks (successful business men and women). The sharks on the show include Mark Cuban, who is most known for his purchase of the Dallas Mavericks, Barbara Corcoran who started her own real estate business and is the author of three business books, Lori Greiner who is the founder of QVC, Robert Herjavec who started his own technology company, Daymond John who is the CEO and president of FUBU (“For Us, By Us”) which is a fashionable sportswear company, and Kevin O’Leary who created his own consumer software industry and ultimately founded his own mutual fund company.
Christopher Gray, CEO of Scholly, pitched his mobile and web app to the sharks, receiving a deal almost instantly. Scholly is an app for current high school, college, or graduate students that helps them find available scholarships. Gray stated the statistic that every year $100 million in scholarships goes unused. This is mostly because students do not know how to find scholarships. Scholly will help students find scholarships more easily by having the user input simple data about themselves such as their state, GPA, intended major, and so on.
Gray walked into the shark tank asking for $40,000 in exchange for 15% equity. He went through his pitch and included a personal narrative about growing up with two siblings, a single mom, and a low income household. Gray had a high GPA and high test scores, but he was not able to apply to some of the schools he wanted to because of the expensive application fees.
Gray ended up attending Drexel University after finding an astounding 1.3 million in scholarships. Drexel is where he and his two co-founders created Scholly. Scholly has been on the market for a little less than a year but has already had 92,000 app downloads, selling at 99 cents each.
Instantly, every shark was interested. The sharks, Robert Herjavec and Daymond John, were even able to relate to Gray, having grown up poor as well. Herjavec stated that he was the first member of his family to attend college.
Almost instantly, Lori Greiner made an offer. She offered Gray exactly what he was asking for: $40,000 for 15% equity. The other sharks weren’t too happy with this. Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, and Kevin O’Leary wanted to ask Gray more questions before making him offers. Greiner wanted to close the deal and assured Gray that she believed in him: “I believe in you. I believe in what you’re doing.” She also said she wasn’t planning on asking him how he was going to monetize. Gray listened, but stated that he wanted to hear what the other sharks had to say and offer.
John noticed Greiner trying to push hard for Gray to make a deal with her, so John offered the same thing: $40,000 for 15% equity. John stated that this deal was personal for him because he could relate to Gray. Greiner and John decided to go in 50/50. Each would invest $20,000 and share equally the 15% equity. Gray appreciated the deal, but still wanted to hear from the others.
Herjavec, Cuban, and O’Leary continued to try to ask Gray questions about his algorithms and the amount of scholarships in the database. John and Greiner said they could figure it out as they went, and they were ready for Gray to make his decision. Greiner said Gray needed to make his decision immediately or she was out. Gray accepted their deal and walked out happily.
Even though a deal was made, the show was not over. The sharks went at it. Herjavec accused John and Greiner of treating Gray and Scholly as a charity.
“You know, when I had nothing and couldn’t rub two pennies together, you know what I really hated? I hated when people wanted to give me a break because they felt bad for me,” Herjavec said directly to Greiner.
The fight continued with the charity accusations. The other sharks accused John and Greiner of investing in a product that they have no idea how it works. The two refused to believe that they were treating Gray as charity and said they simply believed in him and are proud of their deal.
Herjavec stormed off the set because he wanted to avoid saying something rude to Greiner. He was followed by O’Leary and Cuban.
Take a look at what might have been the biggest fight in Shark Tank history: