All Five Sharks Pounce, But Mark Cuban Gets The Deal: $200k For LuminAID

Business 2 Community

February 20, 2015

By Steph Bazzle

First on Shark Tank’s special episode devoted to business started by college students, Andrea Shresta and Anna Stork ['08] are asking the investors to put their money in LuminAID. It’s a product designed to provide light in emergency situations.

The inflatable waterproof lanterns start small, and when inflated, spread light over a broad area. The light is charged by solar power, so there’s no need to worry about batteries. Anna and Andrea say they’re also perfect for first responders in emergency situations. One charge can last 10 to 16 hours.

The offer to the sharks is 10% of the company for a $200k investment. LuminAID made $250k in sales its first year, and has made just over $1 million in the last 12 months. They’re selling online, and to wholesalers. They also have sold to such organizations as Red Cross. When sold directly to the customer, the lights go for $19.95 a unit. In bulk to Red Cross and similar rescue organizations, they are $8.75. The devices cost $4.75.

The two partners have invested $15k between them, and crowdfunded another $50k. Through competitions and grants, they’ve added another $145k.

The sharks seemed impressed, not only with the design, but with the team’s work and success so far.

Kevin O’Leary was first out of the tank with an offer. He’d invest the requested $200k, and receive a royalty of 4% on sales until he’d recouped his investment four times over. He’d ask no additional equity after receiving his $800k.

Daymond John was in next. He offered $300k for 20% of the company. He’d also help them get the product licensed.

Lori Greiner had an offer, too. She’d give the requested $200k, in return for 20% of the company.

At this point, the LuminAID team assured the sharks they were giving full consideration to all offers, but were uncomfortable with additional royalties at this point, and were unsure about giving away more equity than they’d intended.

As the three sharks snapped at each other’s proverbial tails, Mark Cuban stepped in with a question. He wondered how big the inflatables could be made, suggesting that this could open another entire category of products. Assured that the team wanted to branch into other products and ideas, Mark made his offer. He’d offer the asked $200k for 15% of the company, and would also be given the option to lead the next round of financing the company, to the tune of $300k.

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