Network TEN’s last episode of Series One of Shark Tank Australia will air at 9.00pm this Sunday. I know it will be a fabulous finale – with laughter, lessons and legendary pitches… we will definitely go out with a bang.
It also gives me a moment to reflect. How life has changed, the impact the show has had – and the lessons we have all learned.
I was relatively known in entrepreneurial tech circles before the program aired – but work life is little different now, in the sense that being ‘in’ almost a million homes every Sunday night means that people ‘know’ you. I get stopped in the street, at the airport, in cafes or lifts – with a quizzical look “Oh, you’re that red lady from TV!” And perhaps it boosted my chances of making the list of Australia’s biggest tech influencers on Twitter.
I have met so many new people. With three visits to Studio 10, Amanda Keller visiting my renovation with The Living Room team – going to The Logies – and having the team from The Project fleece the Sharks during the event – but that is another story.
What is particularly exciting is the influence on people of every age group. My son’s high school mates will pitch me ideas, (and the show has been included in the Business Management curriculum of many schools (see this assignment!)…
Who will ever forget young Daniel who came on set to pitch his two way screen technology, starting his pitch with “Every once in a while a product comes along that changes everything.” And so it does Daniel – a young man wise beyond his years.
I also have received letters with pitches from people (of any age and from anywhere in the country.)
Such as the lovely Barbara from Adelaide – at 86 she just had to share with someone her idea for keeping a house clear of dog hair… (See scan to the right.)
In total, I alone have received via email (i.e. not counting the one’s I get in person) 106 pitches that I have responded to since 1 March – representing ideas from high heeled shoes that changed colour as you changed outfits, to a product trying to change the face of free range chicken farms forever. And they come thick and fast – this week I have received seven. This number does not include the emails I have received requesting mentoring and guidance (not to mention requests for coffee’s – I can only have one a day or my brain buzzes far too much!) These emails ranged from ideas dreamed up at the pub, through to products with trademarks seeking capital investment. A great deal of these ideas were spurned from a moment in time where that person realised they too could be an entrepreneur – As Janine has said “If I can do it anyone can do it.” And seeing pitch after pitch Australian’s have realised that, that could be them. It is so inspiring being contacted by all of these people and realising how embedded the entrepreneurial spirit is in Australian culture. So keep the ideas flowing.
For me I feel privileged that I am a part of a program that is encouraging people to dream, that we might be teaching a few tough lessons about business on the way through. And that families sit together to watch the program and discuss the ideas and pitches they see.
In every aspect being a part of the team to produce Shark Tank Australia has been a wonderful and fulfilling experience… (maybe not being famous for tasting dog food on national TV – but she was claiming ‘that it was so good humans could eat it.’)
Between the Sharks we offered close to $7million in deals over the fifteen episodes. There were about 30 businesses that piqued our interest (some of those we did jointly) but we didn’t always get our own way.
Five entrepreneurs declined offers of investment, including one who turned down $2million from Steve for a slice of his business, which built display furniture for expo and trade shows.
Perhaps the ‘oddest’ deal of the season came from Andrew Banks who nabbed 50% of Hamdog for the princely sum of $2. The novelty factor of the half-hamburger, half-hotdog whet his appetite, and he was prepared to put his reputation to such a project…this one was definitely not about the investment.
Many people came to the tank to pitch, yes for money, but more than that, they were looking for our business experience, our ideas and our networks. As Steve would say ‘dumb money is always dumb money – but smart money…who knows where it can take you…’
My real life is the same as it was before the show (though I watch a little more TV), my routine stays the same, shopping at the local farmers market, cooking with my family, working with my philanthropic causes. Being Mum, blogger and speaker… it has been wonderful to join you every Sunday in your homes…
Here are a few farewell messages from my fellow Sharks… as we share what we loved about this season.
Tune in to TEN this Sunday at 9pm for your last fill of Shark Tank this year… though I’m sure it is not the last you have seen of us. Stay in touch with us and all the news on Shark Tank Twitter and Shark Tank FaceBook – and always keep TenPlay SharkTank in your favorites.