In the premiere episode of M-Net and Telkom SA’s new reality television show, Shark Tank South Africa, Vusi Ravele (29) became the first entrepreneur to benefit from a lucrative investment.
VIDEO: Gil Oved chats about his involvement in Shark Tank
When Vusi passionately pitched his business Native Décor in the tank, the five Sharks – business tycoons who are willing to dig deep into their own pockets to support budding businesses – all circled in to take the bait. Vusi, who designs and creates unique and trendy, yet functional, proudly South African home and décor items and then sells them online, wanted R400 000 in exchange for a 25% equity stake in Native Décor.
VIDEO: Dawn Nathan-Jones is very passionate about assisting young people to realise their business dreams
The feeding frenzy started with Romeo Kumalo offering the pioneering go-getter, whom he believed had a clear sense of his business, the cash he needed in exchange for 50% equity in his enterprise. Dawn Nathan-Jones then quickly moved in to convince Vusi that he rather required someone like her to open doors in the corporate market in conjunction with tech guru Vinny Lingham’s ability for online strategy and international online sales, for only a 30% equity stake. That’s when bean counter Marnus Broodryk decided to stir the pot, pointing out that Vinny lives far away in Silicon Valley and that someone like him could be at his side, all the time, and that it would be in Vusi’s best interest to choose him and a marketer, like fellow Shark Gil Oved. Hustler Gil wanted Vusi, the epitome of what an entrepreneur should be, all for himself, however. For a 50% partnership and R400 000 he could provide mentorship, channel distribution and marketing and help him to turn into an exceptionally wealthy individual. He would also sweeten Vusi’s expansion plans and cash flow with a longstanding credit loan of R3 million.
VIDEO: Marnus Broodryk says it was all friends off screen but once the cameras started to roll – it was business all the way!
Ready to swim with the big fish, but not willing to give away half of his business, Vusi made Gil a counter offer – 40% for R400 000 – which sealed the first business deal in the history of Shark Tank South Africa.
Unfortunately, one of the other three pitches in the tank elicited a Shark attack of a different kind. Vinny, Marnus, Dawn, Romeo and Gil were snapping viciously at Hein Kymdell (32) and Leandi Strydom (30) who stepped into the tank to reel in R5 million for a 5% share in We Love Low Carb, a range of healthy sugar-free breads. An agitated Gil shred their evaluation of their business to pieces while Dawn thought they were naïve about the labour intensiveness of their plans, and Romeo did not buy their “mumbo-jumbo” figures. Gil described them as “a fish out of water” and Marnus, who questioned their overheads, was not impressed with their attitude at all.
Even though the Sharks loved 42-year-old Michael Fletcher’s inventive personality, presentation and novel business – a silk screen device that prints chocolate logos and other designs on plates at functions – none of them thought it worth their while to invest in. If it weren’t for some issues around intellectual property and lack of scalability, they confessed, they might have been “all over it.”
Initially, Chrisanda Moodley (31) created some excitement in the tank around her cosmetic range Retro Revolution. She demonstrated how her business’s first product, Liquid Tape, could be used to achieve the perfect manicure when applied to the cuticle area of one’s nails for ease of application when using nail polish. However, Romeo was concerned about her market research in this fiercely competitive category, while Gil and Vinny felt that the product was not that unique and without defensible IP. Marnus and Dawn raved about her passion and presentation but weren’t sure about the scalability. In the end, after the rest of the Sharks declared that they were out, female Shark Dawn decided that the product was overpriced and made something simple like painting your nails more expensive.
To find out more about the businesses, especially if you’re interested in supporting them with an order or purchase, go to www.mnet.tv/sharktank or follow the conversation about the show on Twitter @MNetSharkTank with the hashtag #SharkTankSA.
Shark Tank SA, sponsored by Telkom SA, is screened on Sundays between 18:00 and 19:00 on M-Net 101. This corresponds with the timeslot on a Sunday when all DStv customers can get a taste of what’s available on M-Net 101, so if you’re not a DStv Premium customer, you can also go to channel 101 to watch Shark Tank SA. The series will also be available on DStv Catch Up and streamed live on DStv Now.