38: Life After Crowdfunding: ABC’s “Shark Tank”
In this episode, we’ll talk with Mindy Zemrak, who is the Emmy-nominated Supervising Casting Producer of ABC’s “Shark Tank.” This award-winning startup-centered reality show debuted in 2009 and has since featured thousands of entrepreneurs, including over a dozen of our past crowdfunding clients. Mindy is now casting for the show’s 12th season, which will premiere this autumn, and she is going to give us her expert perspective about how YOU can succeed on it. So, on with the show…
Subscribe to The Funded Today Podcast
1. People shouldn’t wait to understand something perfectly before plunging into doing it, as we also learn from our own experience, and practice makes perfect.
2. Entrepreneurs can apply for “Shark Tank” either through the Internet anytime or in-person at open casting calls, which are held between January and August at various locations nationwide.
3. Applicants should ideally show passionate energy, have working prototypes, be able to explain succinctly what makes their offers unique, know their numbers, and not necessarily have any sales or positive reviews yet (although these can help).
4. Applicants are chosen partly for themselves and their story, and partly for their business and their product, and also because they need investment to get to the next step; those who aren’t chosen one year may try again each new year and may eventually get chosen.
5. Applicants should consider alternative fundraising methods and not rely upon getting featured on “Shark Tank” because 20,000-30,000 entrepreneurs apply for it annually but only hundreds make deals and only 88-108 get featured on television.
6. Finalists will receive extensive help preparing themselves before they approach a panel of self-made millionaires (who know nothing about them beforehand) to try to negotiate a deal, which usually involves a valuable partnership plus a financial investment; these negotiations will be recorded and possibly condensed into a brief segment for television.
7. Finalists who appear on “Shark Tank” will get seen before 5-7 million television viewers in what amounts to millions-of-dollars-worth of free advertising, and should prepare to handle a surge in remarketing, sales, cross-sells, upsells, customer-service inquiries, shipping, et cetera, which they can use to expand their business as quickly as possible.
[01:18] Zach introduces Mindy Zemrak, who describes her journey from college to filmmaking school to a variety of odd jobs to television casting, which finally led her to casting for ABC’s “Shark Tank,” which has educated her about the world of business.
[09:12] Thomas and Mindy discuss the importance of hard work, and not waiting to understand something perfectly before starting to do it, after which Zach highlights that we learn things by doing them, and that practice makes perfect.
[14:40] Zach invites Mindy to explain the premise of “Shark Tank,” in which entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to wealthy businesspeople in an attempt to negotiate a deal.
[16:40] Mindy describes her 13-member casting team who identify candidates through open casting calls, Internet submissions, and outreach, and then schedule callbacks with those whom they’d like to consider further.
[22:01] Mindy recommends that entrepreneurs should develop their concepts into working prototypes (at least) before applying for “Shark Tank,” but not necessarily have any sales yet, that some entrepreneurs may apply annually for several years before getting accepted, and that “Shark Tank” success is 50% about an entrepreneur and his/her backstory and 50% about their business or product.
[28:38] Thomas overviews “Shark Tank” alternatives like bootstrapping or venture capital or crowdfunding, and Mindy advises entrepreneurs against making “Shark Tank” their only route to funding, adding that over 20,000 entrepreneurs apply annually, but only 88-108 of them ever appear on television.
[33:22] Mindy summarizes that “Shark Tank” is looking for “hungry passionate entrepreneurs who need an investment to get to the next step,” and that they cast a figurative wide net, although consumer products often fare best.
[40:00] Mindy reports that having run a successful crowdfunding campaign can help, along with positive reviews or good feedback, and that many crowdfunded startups have gotten featured.
[43:44] Zach and Mindy review how entrepreneurs can either apply online anytime or else come to one of their open casting calls, which are normally held January through August, and that over 20,000-30,000 normally apply annually.
[46:58] Mindy adds her top 3 tips for applying, which are (1) have passionate energy that helps to excite other people, (2) know your numbers about costs and prices and such, (3) be able to succinctly explain what makes your offer unique, which will increase the likelihood of getting a callback—and Thomas emphasizes that uniqueness is also important in crowdfunding success.
[51:53] Mindy tells listeners that “Shark Tank” episodes are available on abc.com, and is syndicated on CNBC, and Zach notes the advantages of reruns in increasing publicity.
[53:36] Mindy explains that, for entrepreneurs who make the final cut, they receive help to prepare their appearance, then typically spend 45-90 minutes in front of the sharks, and finally need to wait to learn if their negotiations will air.
[57:11] Zach quotes Dallas Robinson of Kisstixx about leveraging a “Shark Tank” appearance (which reaches 5-7 million viewers) by preparing to handle a surge in website traffic, along with resulting remarketing, sales, cross-sells, upsells, customer-service inquiries, shipping, et cetera, and then using this surge to expand as quickly as possible.
[59:43] Zach cites Dallas that equity is generally less valuable than working with a shark, who remain as involved as you want them to be, that the sharks prefer to focus on businesses that are showing the most promise of success, which is why you need to perpetually pitch to them (in a sense), and that a televised “Shark Tank” appearance is worth millions of dollars in advertising.
[63:01] Zach and Mindy discuss how “Shark Tank” producers decide when entrepreneurs may return for a second opportunity to make a deal with the sharks, which is exceptionally rare.
[65:34] Mindy shares some final musings about COVID19, heartwarming stories, entrepreneurship, the sharks, fame, and her personal rules to (1) always write down everything that you’re asked to do, no matter how simple it is, and (2) never run because it indicates that you’ve messed up, but instead take everything in stride.
[75:19] Zach and Thomas and Mindy present this episode’s Projects of the Week.
Zach Smith: (00:00) Funded Today Nation, welcome back to the Funded Today podcast. Today, we have got a very special guest for you “Mindy Zemrak”, who is the Emmy-Nominated Supervising Casting Producer of Shark Tank. For anyone who might not know Shark Tank is ABC’s Award Winning startup Centered Reality Show which debuted in 2009, and has since featured thousands of entrepreneurs, including over a dozen of our past crowdfunding clients. Mindy, is currently casting for the Show's 12th Season, which will premiere this autumn and she is going to give us her expert perspective about how you can succeed on Shark Tank. So, let's get this show started.
Announcer: (00:35) The Funded Today podcast is brought to you by fundedtoday.com. Funded Today, is a premier marketing and video agency. From startups to Crowdfunding to Amazon and beyond, Funded Today has helped their clients generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. If you’d like help launching or growing your business visit www.fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
Zach Smith: (01:01) Welcome back to the Funded Today podcast, I’m Zach Smith.
Thomas Alvord: (01:05) And, I’m Thomas Alvord.
Zach Smith: (01:06) And just a couple of notes before we dive into today’s episode. As you know, we are nearly finished with “Funded Today, The Book” if you want some updates on that make sure you email us or let us know or subscribe to our blog that is coming soon it is a 100% done, it's just going through editing right now. Also our “Ultimate Crowdfunding Series” is very timely especially during this Coronavirus crisis when you have a lot of time to prep and think about things. We have our page design analyzer, our pre-launch checklist, and our ultimate crowdfunding success guide those will all be in the show notes as well. Now, for the exciting part Mindy Zemrak, Mindy has worked on ABCs Shark Tank from its very beginning in 2009, from which she has gained a wealth of behind the scenes knowledge about the show’s inner workings. She is now serving as the Show’s Supervising Casting Producer, and her great work recently earned her an Emmy-nomination for Outstanding Casting for a Reality Programme, and she’s currently busy casting for the Show’s 12th Season, even in the Coronavirus pandemic, which she is going to talk about that’s a little different than past seasons, which will premiere this autumn on ABC. Mindy, we are so excited to have you welcome to the show.
Mindy Zemrak: (02:12) Thank you for having me, I really appreciate it. I’m excited to be here.
Zach Smith: (02:17) Thanks so much for coming. We are excited as well. So, Mindy tell us a little bit about how it all began. I mean, I think our listeners are just curious to know everything about what it’s like on Shark Tank, so, I mean, give me your background. Any business background, how did you get involved in the entertainment industry?
Mindy Zemrak: (02:31) I grew up in Maine, born and raised, I actually did my freshman year of college in a very small university in Southern Maine on the coast, and I was a psychology major. So, I had no film background whatsoever, and after talking to my father one night on the phone I -- about my uncle and who is his brother, and one of our cousins in the family they were all kind of working in film, and my uncle was just starting this film festival on the side is like a side project. And it was literally that lightbulb “aha-moment” where I just said “I want to work in film”. I had no experience I’d never picked up a camera in my life, had never done any like sort of filming as a kid nothing like that whatsoever, and I just decided halfway through my freshman year of college, that I was going to apply to some schools for film. Not having any idea what I wanted to do and film I just wanted to work in it, and so I did a little more kind of creative courses. I took a photography class, which I fell head over heels in love with. I eventually applied to a bunch of different schools and I got accepted into the University of Southern California, which still is and at the time is the number one film school in the nation, which I did not know. I just applied because I heard they had a good film program. So, when I went out and I realized it was a massive school, and it’s a very big football, you know, centric school, and I had no idea what I was walking into. So, it was a shock to me that there was culture in Los Angeles. And so eventually I got -- I actually it took me three times to get in and accepted to the film school because it is the number one film school in the nation and it was also the hardest. Well, back when I was in school, they accepted about 50 to 75 students per year.
Zach Smith: (04:19) And how many people would you guess?
Mindy Zemrak: (04:20) Oh God, hundreds, maybe thousands. I know. It’s just it’s extremely hard to get into and it took, I got into the school and I just kind of just had a basic I don’t even think I claimed a major at that point. And then finally my junior year I applied for the third time, and I got in and I was able to graduate in 2005. And after I graduated college, I hated LA, so I was like, I don’t need to be here to do what I want to do, and I moved back to Maine.
Zach Smith: (04:47) Back to Maine in entertainment wow love it.
Mindy Zemrak: (04:49) Back to Maine to work in the film industry, which is very tiny and almost nonexistent, and I moved back home I took jobs, waiting tables and bartending, which I’d done before in the summers when I was back home. And then eventually, from that, I secured I just kept looking for indie, indie films and everything. And so my uncle actually was doing an independent feature film low budget horror movie in Ohio in the same prison that The Shawshank Redemption prison was filmed at.
Zach Smith: (05:19) My favorite all time movie.
Mindy Zemrak: (05:21) It’s a fantastic movie, the prison if you ever get the chance to go and visit it’s in Ohio and it’s super cool. It’s where they have all the Ghost Hunters like TV shows.
Zach Smith: (05:30) Oh! Wow.
Mindy Zemrak: (05:31) It’s really amazing, it has some amazing stories that obviously is haunted and everything. And so I took the job and I filmed there for two and a half weeks. And then right after that I got a job working on “House Hunters” in Southern Maine and then that led to an indie feature film also in Southern Maine, and then by that time, I’d been home for about 10 months and I was like, I think I’m ready to go back to LA, and so I ended up getting a job as a camp counsellor for the New York Film Academy Program their summer program, and I moved back to LA that summer. And then the first job after being in camp counsellor for NYFA I randomly applied for, -- I just actually didn’t even apply for a job I was just calling kind of like the main lines of like NBC and NBCUniversal and ABC just saying “hey do you know anyone hiring”?
Zach Smith: (06:22) Just cold calling.
Mindy Zemrak: (06:24) Yes I just cold called.
Zach Smith: (06:25) Wow.
Mindy Zemrak: (06:26) Before like a lot of jobs were on the internet back then, and I actually ended up getting a job. My very first real job I would say was when I got a job on the show Las Vegas with Jimmy Caan and Josh Duhamel, and I worked on Las Vegas for a full season as the production safety manager, which was an interesting job. And then eventually after that, I did that for nine months. When we went on hiatus they got rid of the position entirely, and I just needed another job. So, I randomly applied for a casting assistant job, not having any idea of what a casting assistant does in reality TV, and I got it. And then I eventually worked my way up to casting associate, then casting director and then after a couple years the person I worked under at the time, had gotten the first season of Shark Tank and we didn’t know what it was about, we didn’t know anything about it, we just heard it was a business show that Mark Burnett was going to do with ABC and Sony, and we thought okay cool.
Zach Smith: (07:26) And some background on Mark Burnett three of his best shows for our listeners who don’t know?
Mindy Zemrak: (07:29) “Survivor”, “Shark Tank” now and Oh God “The Apprentice”.
Zach Smith: (07:38) Wow, there you go.
Mindy Zemrak: (07:40) But he’s done I mean so many other shows. I actually just did his very first show for people who actually know who he is like way back in the day, his very first show before Survivor and Apprentice was a show called “Eco-Challenge”.
Zach Smith: (07:53) Oh! Okay.
Mindy Zemrak: (07:54) And it was on discovery and it was a 300 to 400 mile race, expedition race. So, when I say race, it’s not like Amazing Race like it is athletes it is hardcore 300 to 400 miles nonstop 24-hours a day through whatever kind of climate, and so we -- he actually just brought that show back I just filmed the first race which is now going to be on Amazon Prime later this year.
Zach Smith: (08:15) Oh! Very cool.
Mindy Zemrak: (08:18) So, I was in Fiji for six weeks filming that and it’s when I say it’s going to be truly incredible the people and the stories that you’re going to see we had about 350 competitors from 66 countries competing in this race, and it is insane and remarkable, and it’s there’s some really truly inspirational people that are part of that show. So, that was Burnett’s very first show before anything.
Zach Smith: (08:41) That’s awesome and now it’s made full circle all the way back.
Mindy Zemrak: (08:42) Yes, and he’s bringing it back Bear Grylls as the host and everything, so we’re good about that.
Zach Smith: (08:46) Oh! Cool.
Mindy Zemrak: (08:49) So, anyways, but yeah, when Shark Tank came around, I have no business background whatsoever when I started on Shark Tank I remember saying what’s equity, like I had just no idea I knew how to working casting, but I had no idea I could find great personalities and great stories, but I was like business I got an I got no idea. And now cut to 12-years later I mean I can spit a little bit of business game I think I know, you know, what convertible notes are, and advisory shares, and everything like that. So, we actually all kind of joke but we’re have serious that we get our and -- we have our Shark Tank MBA because we’ve learned everything from our entrepreneurs, all of us.
Zach Smith: (09:29) I love that.
Mindy Zemrak: (09:30) Most of us don’t have a business background.
Thomas Alvord: (09:32) Let me share something to all the listeners here, because there’s two things out of everything Mindy just shared, right? You may think, oh, that’s her background, you know, share some stuff that’s going to be useful for me as an entrepreneur as a business owner, and there was two things Mindy that you shared that really stood out to me. One is your “work ethic” that you picked up the phone and you just started calling people, because Zach and I say it all the time “the secret to work is work”. It sounds so stupid, but it truly is. Even if you’re not even doing a good job at what you’re doing. If you’re trying and you’re working, you’re going to get results. And we’ve had people where we hire somebody for a position they’re not doing anything where and after a few months, we’re trying to fix things, and we look at it and we bring someone else in, and then things just take off. It just works and “the secret to work is work” and so you saying you just picked up the phone you just called, like, that is what an entrepreneur has to do to right. It’s not a nine to five, you just sit there you have to make it happen, and that’s what you did.
Mindy Zemrak: (10:38) Absolutely, yes I mean we hear from entrepreneurs all the time when we’re casting is, I was up late, I moved into my parents’ home, I was calling all day long, I literally went door-to-door and that’s when you know that they’re a true hustler, and they will stop at nothing. And that just shows kind of their integrity and their determination, and it’s really admirable to see that people go those lengths because they believe in it so much.
Thomas Alvord: (11:00) Yes, and then the other thing, oh, my goodness, if everyone could just understand this one principle, this might even be more important than the work principle, although it’s very related, because you said you applied for the casting director, you got it and you didn’t even know what it was right?
Mindy Zemrak: (11:16) Yes.
Thomas Alvord: (11:15) I always forget his name, what’s the oil tycoon back 100?
Zach Smith: (11:20) Rockefeller.
Thomas Alvord: (11:21) Rockefeller, right? You have these people, right and there is different quotes I don’t have them off the top of my head, right but they will go get contracts, they will go do things, and they don’t know what they’re doing. And they figure it out as they go. And people who are successful, they just run with it. If they’re trying to have the whole system know everything before they move forward you’re not ever going to go anywhere, and because it’s in the doing that we learn. You know, I love your story Mindy right, because here you are supervising casting producer for Shark Tank, and you weren’t going to go into psychology right? And so you basically have paved your whole journey your career by making it happen yourself right, not waiting and like you are a true entrepreneur, maybe even more so than other people.
Zach Smith: (12:10) Who think they’re an entrepreneur?
Thomas Alvord: (12:11) Right, because you really have just gone out there and I amazing.
Zach Smith: (12:13) It reminds me of Richard Branson, the CEO of the Virgin brand everything “if someone offers you an amazing opportunity, and you’re not sure you can do it, say yes, then learn how to do it later”. For you it wasn’t even someone offering you, you, wanted the opportunity you said less than figured it out, so it’s even more impressive than the Branson quote that’s pretty famous.
Mindy Zemrak: (12:31) Well, thank you, I appreciate that. It’s I’ve never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur until you just said it. So, I mean, I guess I can kind of see a little bit of that in me I’ve just never thought that way but my whole upbringing was just kind of if you want something you have to go out and just do it. Like, you know, my family, like a lot of people that go to USC have a misconception that every single young adult that goes there is has a silver spoon in their mouth, and it’s like that’s not the case where I’m from, you know, you work hard I’m from a small town of 7,000 people like I started working when I was 14, 15 years old. You know, I would say that it’s all because of my parents like they work hard, they’re still working and, you know, it’s if you want something you -- and if you want it done no one’s going to you can wait around, but if you just want to get it done and you have that fire within you then just go out and do it like, and you’ll get it done. And like you said, you couldn’t have said it more perfect than, than anything is we learn in the doing and that is so true.
Zach Smith: (13:33) Oh, yes love that.
Mindy Zemrak: (13:34) There is so many times where I’m like, I have no idea what I’m doing but some, and then at the end of it when I get out of it I’m like well, I did it. I just did it, you just throw yourself in without even, without hesitation or kind of preparing and you’re just like, all right I’m going to do this I’m going to figure it out, and it’ll get done. I don’t know how, but it’ll get done, and then that’s when you learn everything and then you can kind of apply it to other aspects in your life down the road.
Zach Smith: (13:59) I don’t know if you’ve ever read James Clear, he’s got a book called “Atomic Habits” but similar to you learn in the doing it’s about the repetitions. It’s about sure you’re going to be scared. Sure, you’re going to be nervous. Sure, you don’t know what’s going on. But you do it, then you do it again, then you do it again. And he started writing a blog A few years ago and no one read it, but he just kept writing. He wasn’t even concerned about numbers or subscribers or anything like that. He just wrote every day he would write, and he noticed he started getting better and better, and his content got better and better. And now he has probably a million people that read his newsletter every Thursday, simply because he got better and better. He did the work, he improved he looked at what he wrote, and originally he wasn’t even a writer kind of thing, so yes I absolutely love that, it’s about stepping into the void, stepping into the unknown, and then putting one foot in front of the other and the pathway appears.
Mindy Zemrak: (14:50) Exactly.
Zach Smith: (14:51) As you go along the way.
Thomas Alvord: (14:52) And Mindy epitomizes that for all the entrepreneurs and business owners listening so take that and follow Mindy’s example.
Zach Smith: (15:00) All right, Mindy now to some Shark Tank stuff. Some people don’t even know what Shark Tank is? Most of our listeners do they’re very familiar with Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but some people might not understand it, so what is Shark Tank? What do you do exactly there? How many people are on your team? Who you manage? What do you like best about your job? Maybe what something you maybe don’t like that much, you know, give people a feel of kind of what that looks like and start all the way at the top and Shark Tank for somebody who doesn’t know?
Mindy Zemrak: (15:24) All right, for sure you got it. Shark Tank is a show where entrepreneurs and small business owners can come in and if they need an investment to get to the next step whatever that next step may be, they present, and pitch their business or product to a panel of five “Sharks” they are self-made entrepreneurs who are millionaires and billionaires. And they give about a two minute pitch to the Sharks, they roll into Q:&A and then hopefully negotiation, and it is up to the Sharks and the entrepreneur to hopefully meet you know, in the middle, maybe when they’re negotiating in exchange, you know, it’s always the initial ask doesn’t have to be money in exchange for equity. But as the entrepreneur hopefully gets offers, they can counter and they can obviously get very strategic, Mr. Wonderful one of our Sharks Kevin O’Leary he has terms himself Mr. Wonderful. He is a big fan of royalty deals or licensing deals, so he’ll throw those out, but also entrepreneurs or the Sharks can also offer convertible notes, advisory shares a royalty, a licensing deal, a contingency what have you or loan or debts or whatnot. And then hopefully the entrepreneur if they so choose can either accept a deal or not or maybe they do not get an offer. And then they, you know, exit the tank and hopefully that deal closes, and if they do not get a deal, then hopefully their segment still airs and then you see it on television, and you go buy the products.
Zach Smith: (16:52) Love it, and it’s called Shark Tank because you’re the little fish and the Sharks can kill you.
Mindy Zemrak: (16:56) Exactly.
Zach Smith: (16:57) There’s going to be blood in the water sometimes.
Mindy Zemrak: (16:58) Yes, so that’s the rundown of Shark Tank. The -- I am in charge of casting with my team, and so the casting team of Shark Tank consists of 13 people total. There’s myself, I have a casting manager, I have three casting producers, I have let’s see for casting associates, and a casting assistant and three editors, and so we all make up the team. And there is kind of a three to four different ways entrepreneurs who are interested in applying for the show can get into our system. And they can either apply online, they can attend an open call, or we as a there’s a couple of us on our team who basically read the internet all day, every day. We go on Kickstarter, we go on Indiegogo, we also read Forbes, TechCrunch, Inc., everything and just go down rabbit holes trying to find different companies and we sometimes reach out to them and say “hey, we saw this, it looks really interesting” we sometimes don’t even know if they’re looking for investment because we read an article, and then we will cold -- we’ll cold email them and say “hey, I work on Shark Tank, are you interested”, and then then once we get to talk to anyone, no matter if it’s from open call, online submission, or if we reach out to them, then we get to know a little bit about the entrepreneur, their backstory, why they started, what they’re doing? Do they need investment, what’s it going to be used for, and so obviously because of COVID this year we were normally in a full season, a full season of Shark Tank tanks, almost nine months for us to do. So, my casting team will start up in January and typically in January we have two open calls, this year we had one in Vegas at CES at the Consumer Electronics Show.
Zach Smith: (18:40) Oh! Nice we were there as well.
Mindy Zemrak: (18:42) Nice, yes, we’ve been going for five or six years I think it’s great.
Zach Smith: (18:46) Very nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (18:47) And then we had one in Dallas a couple weeks later, but then unfortunately when COVID kind of kicked up, all of our open calls have been cancelled this year. So, it’ll be an interesting season for us. We are obviously taking everyone’s submission online. But the kind of the, a lot of people have a misconception, which I would love to set straight with you guys, and everyone that’s listening is that everyone thinks that if they go to an open call, they have a better chance than someone who applies online. And that is not true. A lot of people think “oh, if I get in front of the casting team at an open call where they pitch to one, one of four people on my team that -- they have a better chance, because we get to see their personality and like how much energy they have. Well, if you apply online, which is the only way anyone can apply this season, you fill out a very basic form name, contact info, a link to the website and then kind of a description about your company, your product and what stage you’re at whether you’re an idea, prototype, research and development, shipping what have you or crowdfunding, there’s even a crowdfunding option to select and.
Zach Smith: (19:53) Oh, nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (19:54) And you know, we go through much like at an open call, we see everyone at an open call, but we the only ones that get a callback, are those are the ones that the producers are interested in getting more information from. Going online does the exact same thing.
Zach Smith: (20:07) That’s insightful, yes I think a lot of people would think showing up would be the secret, so.
Mindy Zemrak: (20:12) Yes, so being online, everything this season as we review every single online submission and there’s a lot because they date back to August of Last year when we wrapped casting for Season 11, the thing about this season is that we do review every single submission that that comes in through our process. But we only contact those that they’re interested in getting more information from. So, people when they apply online should put as much information as they can. They don’t need to write a novel but you know, kind of a two or three lines about what makes you your product different and unique a website if you have it, you can also attach a photo if you have one. And then from there I would.
Zach Smith: (20:51) Can you attach video or anything?
Mindy Zemrak: (20:52) All right, so we don’t have an option for anyone to attach a video.
Zach Smith: (20:56) Okay.
Mindy Zemrak: (20:56) However, if there are videos that they want to include, they can put that either in the description. They can say here’s a link to our, you know our video, or when they go to the URL like there’s a there’s a blank space for people to type in their website, they can just punch in a YouTube link, or a Vimeo link if there’s a video they want us to watch. So, there are options and then we will review it. If the producers are interested, we give them a call, and then we talk to them for about, I’d say 15 minutes or so. And then if they want to move them forward to the next round, then there’s a longer process that is ahead of them.
Zach Smith: (21:32) Gotcha, and how do the producers look at everything? They kind of go through all the submissions after?
Mindy Zemrak: (21:35) Yes.
Zach Smith: (21:36) After they come in, okay.
Mindy Zemrak: (21:37) Yes, so we go through every single one. And then from there, they kind of are like, all right well, this one sounds interesting. And again, you can only get so much from an online submission that’s why a lot of do get calls, because then we can talk to them. We can get to know a person’s story we can we can tell their energy and their personality over the phone, if you just don’t see them, which is totally fine. Because last year and most seasons, there’s a ton of entrepreneurs who get on the show from online submissions, so while open calls are great, and they are fun, because we get to meet people and everything. A lot of people do get on the show from online submissions, and a lot of people don’t believe that but I’m here to set the record straight and tell you that yes, they do, and especially this season.
Zach Smith: (22:20) That’s good to know.
Mindy Zemrak: (22:21) The only way it’s going to happen.
Thomas Alvord: (22:22) What stage does a product need to be in for somebody to pitch?
Mindy Zemrak: (22:27) That’s a great question for the minimum for Shark Tank I would say you should at least have a working prototype. A great example of this would be “The Comfy”. “The Comfy” came on three years ago or two years ago, maybe and when the guys applied, they came to an open call that we had in Denver, and they had one prototype, and they had a little jingle. It wasn’t even called “The Comfy” back then it was called something else but then, for trademark issues, they had to switch the name. When they came on to film in the tank with the sharks, they only were able to have four prototypes brought in not five and as we all know, there’s five Sharks on every panel, so they didn’t even have enough sample prototypes to go around. And Barbara believed in them so much, she actually ended up doing a deal with them, and I think they’ve hit I don’t know exactly their numbers, but they have soared to I think over $100 million in sales at this point. So, they obviously had to ramp up from four prototypes to, you know, $100 million dollars in sales pretty quickly but.
Zach Smith: (23:26) And they had never sold anything before either, they just had those, this is the blanket sweatshirt hybrid by the way for listeners so really cool product.
Mindy Zemrak: (23:34) Yes, and so I would tell everyone at least have a working prototype, a lot of people that we find on Indiegogo and Kickstarter usually have at least a working prototype. If they do not have a working prototype and it’s still kind of in concept phase, we have a tendency not to move forward with them maybe that season until they have a proven model. So, it’s it gets tricky with the Indiegogo and Kickstarter’s, because sometimes if they’re brand new, and they don’t have any sort of proven numbers or anything like maybe they hit it out of the park and they’ve done an amazing raise on the on the crowdfunding site, which is great. But if you haven’t shipped anything out, a Shark may or may not invest because they don’t know what kind of problems you’re going to run into. They may not know -- you, you also don’t know what you’re model is going to be and what kind of issues and maybe you’re, you know, you won’t be able to get shipping in time or whatnot or manufacturing issues, all these things I’m sure that have come up. So, it gets a little tricky from a Sharks perspective I’m sure of, can I invest in something where I don’t even know if this will exist in a month, because they haven’t you know, shipped anything out.
Zach Smith: (24:44) Yes, that make sense.
Mindy Zemrak: (24:44) So, I would say at least have a working prototype, so that you have something physical to show the Sharks and demonstrate if you don’t have anything else just yet, then it’s probably too early and I would say wait till you are up and running, and have that prototype to then apply.
Zach Smith: (24:58) So let’s say you are in that prototype stage, and I think we may have talked about this earlier, or maybe before when we were kind of in our introduction before we started recording this podcast, but I know a lot of the Sharks will say, how many sales do you have? If you’re just at the prototype stage you might say you don’t have any sales, in your opinion, does that help or hurt you in terms of getting a deal and then maybe in terms of maybe getting a worse deal giving up more equity or something like that if you hadn’t already achieved some sort of success on Kickstarter or Indiegogo or some other form of raising money for this product before you go to the tank.
Mindy Zemrak: (25:32) So, I think that for entrepreneurs who are pre-rev, meaning they don’t have sales yet, it you should not be deterred from applying for the show, because we have seen many companies over the course of the last 11 years come in with a prototype or you know a couple samples or whatnot, or maybe have very low sales or have no sales at all, and they still get a deal, because Shark Tank is 50 -- is not just about the product. Shark Tank is 50% about the business or the product, and 50% about the entrepreneur and their backstory. Every single Shark that we have on are all self-made, so they’ve had to hustle and grind like everyone else that’s come through our process to get to where they are.
Zach Smith: (26:15) That’s a good takeaway you know, a lot of people I don’t think realize that, these guys started from nothing, just like most of our listeners.
Mindy Zemrak: (26:21) Exactly yes, they’re not on a silver spoon by any means.
Thomas Alvord: (26:24) And that’s probably why you why you’ve gotten right to where you are because you fit in right with them.
Mindy Zemrak: (26:28) Maybe, they’re aren’t really…
Thomas Alvord: (26:29) Well, I mean, the magnitude of their success is a lot more but the hustle right?
Mindy Zemrak: (26:34) …yes.
Thomas Alvord: (26:35) It's I imagine everyone that’s kind of part of there has a similar like ethos of, you know, how they approach things?
Mindy Zemrak: (26:43) Definitely.
Thomas Alvord: (26:44) Yes, I mean maybe not but.
Mindy Zemrak: (26:45) No, they do I mean, I think everyone on our on our cast and crew all have that in them for sure. A lot of people in the industry have that as well. But to go back to what we were initially saying we definitely still have entrepreneurs who come on even in our probably 12th Season once at once we air it, and once we film it, we’ll have we’ll always have people who don’t have sales. And what I was saying is that you know, the show is 50% about your business or product, 50% about you and your backstory, because usually someone’s backstory will resonate with a Shark or a viewer obviously, and sometimes the Shark will say, I see myself in you. And I really like you. So, I’m investing in you, more so than your product because I believe in you. And maybe you know, they don’t have strengths in that field, but they want to take a chance on this person, and so they’ll do it, and that’s what happened with “The Comfy” with Barbara she was like I don’t think Barbara has, you know, has a lot of companies in the kind of clothing apparel industry, she got a lot food company, she does amazingly well with a lot of our companies. But she took a chance because she loved those guys who had no sales. And now they’ve done insane amounts of money with their company. And, so I don’t think anyone should be deterred. Now, that being said, if it doesn’t work out the first time you apply for the show, because you don’t have sales, which certainly comes up and maybe you don’t get through our process very far. We’ve had people that have applied for nine years in a row, and then they finally get on.
Zach Smith: (28:17) And that’s fine you don’t get annoyed by that.
Mindy Zemrak: (28:19) We don’t get annoyed at all, no, it just shows, you know that they are determined and it pays off sometimes and so you just never know it’s always about timing, so we tell everyone continue to do businesses or Shark Tank doesn’t exist, and then if it works out, then “hey, that’s great” But no one should you know, stop being an entrepreneur, and I think that how much determination and how much work ethic and drive you have really pays off and shows in people’s stories and in their companies. And I think that resonates with our viewers quite a bit, maybe sort of more so than the product sometimes.
Zach Smith: (28:55) Oh yes, no, I like that goes to the culture too.
Thomas Alvord: (28:58) If people apply and don’t get accepted I wanted to ask if you had any thoughts, or advice, of course, Zach and I would but you’ve been there in you know, with Shark Tank, because I’ve noticed and this has happened more than once, and I kid you not. It’s a very interesting phenomena that you talk to somebody who has a business idea, and in their mind, their road to launching a business is let’s get a prototype, let’s get on Shark Tank, and then we’ll launch this business right? Like, outside of that they’re not even thinking there’s other ways to launch a business. Now, obviously, there’s the whole venture capital world, which has all of its pros and cons, which is also interesting right? I grew up in Southern California in the LA area I grew up in Palmdale, California. You know, my dad, he owns a business, right? He has 50 employees. He’s done very well, and he’s always just owned his business, right? And I remember going along with what you said about some of the nomenclature I remember I was in a class in my master’s program it’s almost like embarrassing to say, I did I did a joint JD and PA a Law Degree and a Master’s in Public Administration which is like nonprofit government management, and in one of the classes, it was social entrepreneurship, and somebody shared an idea that they were, you know, a business that they were launching, and somebody asked, what’s your exit strategy? And I had no clue what he was asking. I literally had to go look it up, right? This was like, oh, how long ago was this, probably, almost 12 years ago? But I didn’t even know that like you could go and raise money and that people then try to have an exit. And people kind of have a niche or forte like “hey, they’re really good at launching businesses, but maybe they’re not good at growing businesses”. So, there’s obviously the whole VC world, and then there’s crowdfunding, and then people could bootstrap it obviously their Shark Tank, but I think you know, a lot of people’s minds they only see Shark Tank, right? Like, because that’s just what the popular culture has shown, and that’s what they see on TV.
Zach Smith: (31:15) But I love what Mindy, I love what Mindy said earlier too Thomas “work as if everything depends on you”, and maybe have the hustle and the drive to apply every single year to Shark Tank as well, you know, something like that.
Thomas Alvord: (31:28) Yes, but I didn’t know if you had any thoughts or comments on that?
Mindy Zemrak: (31:29) I would say people never should create something just to get on Shark Tank. And I don’t see that quite often in our casting process. I what we see more than anything is I love Shark Tank, I’ve watched every episode I was actually just listening to the TushBaby interview you guys did earlier.
Zach Smith: (31:49) Oh! Nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (31:50) And she said in her interview, I watched every episode and I told my husband I was I want to be on it one day, but she didn’t have anything back then. But she didn’t create TushBaby to get on Shark Tank she created it out of a need and wanted a solution. And I would say 99% of the entrepreneurs that come through our process, whether they get on the show or not, have developed and created something because of they wanted a solution to a problem. It wasn’t “oh I want to get on Shark Tank just because of this”. So, like Thomas was saying is that there’s many routes to go to get, you know, funding and everything, and I don’t think that you should have kind of the blinders for Shark Tank like we’re the end all be all because we are such a wild card there’s, we have over 20,000 people apply for the show each season and 88 to 108 maybe make it to air. So, and that is a very small amount, obviously out of 20,000 plus that apply. So, I would just tell everyone do businesses like Shark Tank doesn’t exist, because we don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s also you know, no guarantees with Shark Tank, you know, we can film you your segment may not air just because of whatever reason that I’m not involved.
Zach Smith: (33:03) And you might still get a deal right? Even when it doesn’t air you might have actually got a deal but it doesn’t even go on TV for whatever reason?
Mindy Zemrak: (33:07) That is a possibility for sure those things happen so I just encourage everyone do businesses though you got it as you got to do it, and if it works out with us, then hey, that’s like an added cherry on top of an ice cream sundae if you will.
Zach Smith: (33:20) I love those numbers to 88 out of 100 and something, so I mean so I mean, math real quick 0.44% 0.5% chance of being able to make it onto the show for because you were following along.
Mindy Zemrak: (33:33) Yes, believe it’s harder to get on Shark Tank than it is to get into Harvard Business School as well.
Zach Smith: (33:35) Oh, wow.
Mindy Zemrak: (33:37) Yes.
Zach Smith: (33:38) That is a, that’s very interesting, so, on that note, Mindy, who should consider an appearance on Shark Tank? I mean, is it only people with physical products? If you have an app? What’s the myriad of range you’re looking for? Could an agency apply to Shark Tank, that sort of thing, you know?
Mindy Zemrak: (33:55) Great questions. We’re always looking for hungry passionate entrepreneurs who need an investment to get to the next step. The nice thing about Sharktank is we take a very, we kind of cast a wide net and we cover multiple industries, and companies that are pre rev don’t have sales, maybe they have a working prototype to those who are making, you know, a nice couple mill already and everything in between and everyone needs an investment at some point to get to the next step. Typically, the best types of companies that that do make it on the show are B2C, you know B2C always good B2B doesn’t really typically work sometimes it does every once in a while IT’S a little more harder to navigate from a show perspective, so B2C, CPG.
Zach Smith: (34:38) And it’s not just because it’s hard to have mass consumer uphill if it’s B2B?
Mindy Zemrak: (34:42) Probably.
Zach Smith: (34:43) Is that the idea?
Mindy Zemrak: (34:43) In my opinion, I mean, there’s no like hard set rule like.
Zach Smith: (34:46) Or, or is it the investors or the Sharks that that’s not really what they care to look at?
Mindy Zemrak: (34:54) I think, well, the Sharks know nothing about any of the companies we put in front of them before we start rolling camera, so they have no idea they’re in the dark until the day they show up for filming.
Zach Smith: (35:03) That’s fascinating too by the way, I’ve heard that as well but it’s good to hear you say that literally when you walk out in the Shark Tank you know more about the Sharks then they know about you.
Mindy Zemrak: (35:13) Yes, yes the Sharks know absolutely nothing. We keep everything very under wraps from them because we want to see their genuine reaction if a naked man comes out and they have to or you know, the wine company that Kevin invested in the drip blanking on their name, it’s the wine and painting and drinking wine. Or if we have goats, or if we have dancers or fire dancers, or if we have a celebrity walk-in, like we want to catch that all on camera, so that’s why we don’t tell the Sharks anything beforehand. And so in real-time those pitches lasts much longer than what we obviously edit it down to. But yeah, I would say the types of companies that do well are consumer products or companies, but we take everything from food, baby products, tech companies, we’ve had multiple apps come on the show. We’ve had tech companies that we found at CES that have come through. We’ve had I’m trying to think of the creative, we had a guy a couple well, this is a long time ago but I want to draw a cat for you he literally drew.
Zach Smith: (36:15) I remember that.
Mindy Zemrak: (36:16) Roll stick cat figures and Cuban invested in him and they did pretty well. He had potato parcel on who it was two guys who shipped potatoes to people and write on it with a sharpie and Kevin O’Leary invested in them. Now, we’ve had Scrub Daddy, we had Simply Fit Board, we had Bombas Socks who actually I believe if I remember correctly, they just became our most successful that is they still own their company, they’ve done I think over $140 hundred and $160 million maybe they surpass Simply Fit Board, and Scrub Daddy, and that was Bombas which is great company and they have the best socks ever Daymond invested in them. So, we take companies across the board. If it’s B2B, we will still consider it and look at it. It just we have to see if it makes sense. Agencies or anything like that that gets a little tricky because there’s not really anything that the consumer or our viewer can kind of get from that, so you don’t typically see those types of things. But way back in the day when we had a band come on one time we had a movie scripts come on one time. So, we’re always looking for different things and going into the 12th Season, you know it is getting I always think being that I’ve done this now for almost 12 full years it’s like I feel like I’ve seen everything. And then every year I’m like, Well, I haven’t seen that. And there’s a lot of things that I get pitched, that I can’t talk about, because it’s not safe for work or for the show, but I’ll just say that there’s a lot of there’s a very wide variety of things that I wish we could put on the show, but we can’t, and I’ll just leave it at that to your imagination of the things that I get picked, leave me speechless sometimes. Yes, never a dull moment I’ll say that.
Zach Smith: (37:56) We thought about Shark Tank A long time ago as well, even though we are an agency but the reason why we thought we may have been different was because we’ve helped about 3,000 entrepreneurs raise $300 million over the last five to seven years. And we thought maybe those stories or something could resonate or something but being the agency and like you said B2C is kind of the big thing. We never did apply because we didn’t quite no like you were saying, what would be the good angle, or how would it resonate with an audience or that sort of thing, but I mean a lot of our clients end up coming on Shark Tank, so maybe there were some synergy there so.
Mindy Zemrak: (38:30) Yes, absolutely, and we look at -- that’s not to say like an agency can apply, like we’ll look at it and consider it, but then just kind of have to kind of mall over like this make sense, because we are a TV show at the end of the day.
Zach Smith: (38:41) Yep, exactly.
Mindy Zemrak: (38:42) You know, if we were doing this and you know, outside of a TV show, you would probably see way different types of companies because again, it’s not for entertainment at the end of the day, but we look at every single company that comes through and just kind of we and we vet every company we do a lot of due diligence because we have to, so you know, everyone gets a fair shot. You know, everyone’s considered its level playing field across the board. We just have to see if it makes sense from a show perspective. Because again, the Sharks know nothing so we don’t know if they’re going to invest in anything or not, it’s up to them. So, did I think that’s something like Mark Cuban would invest in I want to draw a cat for you no, but oh.
Zach Smith: (39:19) Does Daymond John regret missing out on The Comfy because he’s kind of the fashion guy.
Mindy Zemrak: (39:23) I think Daymond is pretty fine with his Bombas and we actually just found them recently there they actually just expanded into t-shirts and sweatpants which I just ordered some yesterday which I’m really excited about.
Zach Smith: (39:36) Oh very nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (39:37) But I think the biggest one that they’re kind of all a little like oh I missed out on that one would have been “Ring” Jamie Siminoff he had back in the day it was called Doorbot he obviously rebranded to Ring which everyone knows Ring for the most part and Amazon bought it for a billion, and he came back two years ago as a guest shark. So, it kind of came full circle which was really cool. But Mr. Wonderful, Kevin O’Leary was technically the only one who made him an offer and he turned it down so all the other Sharks I know are kind of like oh, I we missed out on Ring.
Zach Smith: (40:12) Gotcha yes that makes sense. It’s good to hear those stories to have where they miss out and Ring is the Smart Doorbell System.
Mindy Zemrak: (40:17) Exactly, yep.
Zach Smith: (40:20) Well, done really well. All right so our listeners, they crowdfund, they love Kickstarter, they love Indiegogo. You’ve talked about it a little bit. It sounds like even on the online forum, which by the way, we’ll put that in the show link as well, so everybody can see that, so hopefully you’re, you don’t get 30,000 this year, Mindy, but we’ll see what we can do in terms of more submissions but, what about crowdfunding? Do the Sharks like it? Do they understand Kickstarter and Indiegogo pretty well, from what you’ve seen? Do they -- does that help you? If you’ve like, hey, I’ve raised $100,000 in 35 days on Kickstarter for my project, check it out.
Mindy Zemrak: (40:50) It’s a great question. So, we obviously -- these days I would say, you know, five, six years ago crowdfunding was just starting out, and it was very new, and I think, you know, the Sharks were like, oh, okay, cool like, I think they were a little more open to it. But now that crowdfunding is becoming a little more mainstream and everything I can’t speak for sure on this because it’s not my money out of Sharkinvesting. But we do have many companies that come in that have done crowdfunding, typically if they’ve already delivered on the products to their supporters and their backers that’s better than that might be a little more enticing to the Sharks, because then they have proven numbers and sales and feedback. Whereas if they say they blew it out of the water in, you know, less than 30 days that they had to fund it, and they’re they’ve gotten all this press and everything and that’s cool and it really is really interesting and unique, but haven’t shipped I don’t know if a Shark would be as excited or invest. Obviously, it’s their money they make that decision. But it doesn’t deter us from not having them on the show like we’ll put them on the show if it’s an interesting entrepreneur story and if it’s solving a real problem.
Zach Smith: (42:03) That 50-50 split.
Mindy Zemrak: (42:03) Then that’s put them in front of them for sure. The Sharks know all about it. They are way well-versed on it now. But I think the thing that we see the most from them is what okay have you shipped out that product have you know, gotten the stuff to your supporters and if they haven’t, then I personally think that they tend to take a couple steps back and they’re like, all right well you’re too early, because you bought it.
Zach Smith: (42:28) So Funded Today nation pay attention to this when you ship your product out the other thing that Mindy’s hinting at is you better have good reviews and good feedback on your product too.
Mindy Zemrak: (42:36) Yes.
Zach Smith: (42:38) So, look at your comments section, look at what people are saying on Facebook and Instagram or wherever else about your project, and make sure that the feedbacks coming and go to, because the Sharks will see that and they will consider that when they make an investment.
Mindy Zemrak: (42:49) Absolutely.
Thomas Alvord: (42:51) And I would add on top of that Zach, not only say for Shark Tank, but anywhere you’re selling right, if you’re going to be selling on your website, if you’re going to be selling on Amazon, especially you need to have good reviews. And I think it goes back to what Mindy said earlier which is you actually need to be creating this because you want to right? If you’re just trying to create something to make money, you’re not going to put enough into it. And yeah, it’s easy to get a whole bunch of backers or consumers when no one has seen the product, and can complain about it and give poor reviews about it. But, if you want to build it into something long term, and try to do something with Shark Tank, and outside of Sharktank, you got to build a decent product.
Zach Smith: (43:36) There’s something called the “10 years of silence”, and the “10 years of silence” state that almost everybody who was successful, we’re talking all the way back to Beethoven and Mozart to even our story and Funded Today and some of the other stories that you hear about as you watch Shark Tank, you’re basically by yourself for 10 years working on your trait, putting in that hard work, doing the stuff that Mindy’s talked about, and then you kind of get your big break. So, you shouldn’t be doing anything just for the money. If you’re doing it for the money, you’re going to fail. Now, we talked about this a little bit, but I want to kind of rapid fire with you. How do entrepreneurs apply? Is there like a link right now that we can give to them?
Mindy Zemrak: (44:12) There is yes, they can go to abc.com click on Shark Tank and then click Apply.
Zach Smith: (44:16) Okay perfect.
Mindy Zemrak: (44:17) Or they could follow me on Instagram and the link is in my bio.
Zach Smith: (44:20) What’s your Instagram, we’ll put that in the notes too.
Mindy Zemrak: (44:23) @Mindycasting.
Zach Smith: (44:25) Okay, perfect. Now, I know we’re in the COVID crisis. How do auditions typically work? Like when this is over if it ever is over if they if they want to go to a live edition, and how does the forum work online? Is it open? 24 X 7, and there’s cutoff dates. How does all that kind of jive?
Mindy Zemrak: (44:42) Great question. So, we take online submissions 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Zach Smith: (44:48) Very good.
Mindy Zemrak: (44:50) We never shut it down it’s open. So, that means even in the off-season, so we typically cast from January until August. Come August, we still accept online submissions, but once they submit the kind of auto response that they’ll get after it’s submitted, we’ll say thank you for your submission. We are on hiatus until the Spring, so if you’re going to get a call it won’t be until next spring.
Zach Smith: (45:13) But they don’t need to apply again on the cutoff that that saves and you guys follow up and go back to those even way bac.
Mindy Zemrak: (45:20) Yes, we still go through everything. And that’s just so we can have stuff kind of logging up piling up for us for when we come back in January, February, March so that we can hit the ground running and have stuff that we can look at. So, you’ll can apply anytime they want and we go through them we’re currently going through them right now, obviously, the only way to apply is online. If and when COVID subsides or we’re able to do a another open call sometime this year it probably wouldn’t be until the summer would be my guess. But I don’t know. I obviously don’t know until we know what’s going with this. But we love open calls and so hopefully we’ll be able to, and I’m always the first one to announce when we are doing an open call and where it will be. So, the best way to get that information is to follow me on Instagram, or Facebook because I’m the first one to announce it, and then ABC announces it, and then the Shark Tank social media and then the Sharks all announce that after that, so there’s a -- “where there’s a will there’s a way” and I spread it out kind of all the information rapid fire as I can, but right now it’s all online.
Zach Smith: (46:29) Are you personally involved in the vetting and reviewing of the applications to for design?
Mindy Zemrak: (46:31) I go through every single online.
Zach Smith: (46:34) Oh! Nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (46:34) Online submission so as they come.
Zach Smith: (46:35) You are the person to know.
Thomas Alvord: (46:37) You personally look at them I wondered if it was say like a team and.
Mindy Zemrak: (46:41) It is a team, but I kind of look at everything and then I filter them out for people to take a closer look at.
Zach Smith: (46:47) Oh, very nice. So, you are the go to person?
Mindy Zemrak: (46:52) Yes I guess.
Zach Smith: (46:55) I love it. Now, we talked about a lot of these already, you’ve done so good at answering them, how many people apply nationwide, our audience want to know about 20,000 typical competition pretty good?
Mindy Zemrak: (47:03) 20,000 to 30,000 a season apply for the show.
Zach Smith: (47:08) Okay. So, the competition is pretty great. She said it’s as hard to -- harder than trying to get into Harvard Business School, Harvard Law School?
Mindy Zemrak: (47:15) Harvard Business School, yes.
Zach Smith: (47:16) Harvard Business School okay. And standing out from the crowd, she talked about that too 50-50 split, you got to have a product that solves a need, and you got to have a good personality, you got to be cool. You got to be great on camera because this is entertainment.
Mindy Zemrak: (47:28) If I could just add to that, I would say there’s kind of like two I always get asked one of the top three tips that you know, have for someone, so I’d love to add that right now, the first one is “have energy and passion” if you are not excited about what it is you’re pitching, how are the rest of us? How are five to seven million viewers, and how are the Sharks supposed to get excited? So, I know it’s very nerve-wracking to stand up in front of anyone and talk about something that you’re developing, but fake it till you make it if you have to, and just have energy because if you’re not excited about it, and you’re not showing us your passion and how like “Oh my God, this is the best thing since sliced bread” like, you could pitch me I always joke but I’m serious about this is, you could pitch me or rock and if I’m like Oh my God, that is the coolest rock ever I need one then I’m going to go buy it, and it’s just a rock. So, you know, that kind of salesmanship and the energy and passion goes a long way knowing you’re numbers I mean everyone should know the first thing about Shark Tank is knowing your numbers. So, even if you don’t have numbers yet, like if you don’t, if you’re pre rev and you don’t have sales still be able to tell us how much money you’ve invested what you need an investment for? Know what those costs are? What you’re going to retail wholesale for? And then the third thing I would say is be able to succinctly tell us what makes you different and unique from any other competitors out there, because going into our 12th Season, we see a lot of things that are very similar. No one’s really reinventing something brand new. It’s usually a spin on something that’s been done. So, just really be able to kind of like you said, quick fire, rapid fire, bullet point for us here’s how I’m different I’m better than XYZ, and it’s like, “Oh! Wow, okay, got it”. And so those things really will kind of hopefully get you to that next step in our process.
Zach Smith: (49:11) I love it.
Thomas Alvord: (49:12) And what you just said, right, there is the same actually believe it or not for crowdfunding. Crowdfunding that’s been around for about 10 years or so now right the age of crowdfunding and Shark Tank is about the same give or take a little, and you could launch a wallet and raise $300,000 no joke when things first started. Now, people have seen so many wallets. They, they’ve seen so many luggages, and so you actually have to have a strong USP Unique Selling Proposition. What makes this different? Why is this better? If people don’t have that it's not as easy to have a successful crowdfunding campaign, like it was five or 10 years ago. I imagine it’s the same for getting on the show perhaps that you need to have something that stands out it can’t just be another X because you’ve already seen many of them.
Mindy Zemrak: (50:04) Yes, and if you have again, I’m not telling anyone to go out and like fake your personality, but like there are some people who just have really outgoing personalities and they’re like it slices it, it dices it, like a great Aaron from Scrub Daddy he was on 70 years ago maybe.
Zach Smith: (50:22) And until recently, the most successful story ever too right?
Mindy Zemrak: (50:25) Exactly, yes, and I have many Scrub Daddy’s. I love Aaron, and I love my scrub Daddy, my scrub mommy and everything else but the thing with Aaron is that he came out with this energy that you were like whoa as Kevin O’Leary was like it’s a sponge with a smiley face like what the heck, he was solving a real problem it was a scrubber and a sponge in one, and obviously he’s developed two skews and his products and everything since then, but like if you go back and watch his presentation and his pitch, I mean the man’s energy was insane. Not everyone will be able to do that and that’s fine. We don’t want everyone to do that. We want you to stay true to who you are. But definitely be excited because like you were saying is we have seen a lot and the general public has seen a lot now on all these crowdfunding okay another water bottle what’s this water bottle do that I hadn’t seen done already. So, if you come out of the gates, really just hot and you’re like okay here’s how it before you turn me off like here’s how I’m different and better and those things will be like oh, okay, got it. I would say get that information out in terms of our process if they’re pitching us or sending us an online submission is right off the back within the first minute, or the first couple sentences it say okay, this Mindy’s cupcakes I always give this example and my team is going to make fun of me, because my, my pitch that I give at open calls when I’m like, “hey, have energy” there’s a difference between hi, my name is Mindy and I make really good cupcakes. My name is Mindy, and I made the best cupcakes ever. So, and my teammates might be constantly but if I come out like my cupcakes are made with unicorn tears I’m going to be like, oh, okay, and that’s within the first 10 seconds. I’m going to be like, wow, all right, I want to talk first and let me know more so.
Zach Smith: (52:05) It’s that elevator pitch. It’s that cliffhanger it’s what leads to curiosity homework for you Funded Today nation, go listen to Aaron on Scrub Daddy his Shark Tank vision. By the way, where is the best way to go and watch or listen to old Shark Tank episodes, because sometimes I search for things and I think it’s a little hard to find them?
Mindy Zemrak: (52:22) To my knowledge the current season that’s airing is all available on abc.com I do think that much like all of the other network websites, you have to be able to you have to have a internet -- or cable provider service.
Zach Smith: (52:35) Yeah that make sense.
Mindy Zemrak: (52:35) And network, but I think the last season the Sharktank is on abc.com and I think old episodes don’t quote me on this, but they might be on Hulu or the ABC app I’m not sure, I’m not positive, but I know that they’re probably out there somewhere.
Zach Smith: (52:51) Okay, very cool. I love that, so takeaways.
Mindy Zemrak: (52:54) Oh, and we’re always on Syndication on CNBC, and that’s when they were five or six episodes in a row every night.
Zach Smith: (53:01) Okay, gotcha yes our mutual friend Dallas talks about how his show even now, many years later, sometimes still gets re-aired, and he loves that aspect of being on the show, because every time that re-airs new people hear about his company and what he did, so that’s a really cool thing.
Mindy Zemrak: (53:16) Definitely.
Zach Smith: (53:16) And a huge advantage that I think a lot of people don’t take into consideration. 10 years later my shows might be re-aired again so.
Mindy Zemrak: (53:21) Exactly.
Zach Smith: (53:22) Yes, that’s awesome. So her takeaways Funded Today Nation, passion, energy, human calculator, know your numbers and the last one Mindy, your third one was?
Mindy Zemrak: (53:31) Succinctly, be able to explain to us in a couple bullet points what makes you different and unique.
Zach Smith: (53:36) Why are you different? Why are you unique? And that’s the thing on Kickstarter what we talking about in so many episodes, we say, has this ever been done on Kickstarter before? Never been seen on Kickstarter, huge chance of success, if anybody thinks it’s something similar, that’s already been out there your chance on Kickstarter, raising a lot of money is small. And it sounds like your chance of getting the deal on Shark Tank is also going to be a lot harder now, another rapid fire session with you Mindy?
Mindy Zemrak: (53:59) Okay.
Zach Smith: (53:59) How does it work in terms of, I’m out there on stage, here we go the Sharks are finally hearing my pitch. How long do I have? How do they turn that into a TV show and make it really exciting and engaging? Is it several hours? Is it really just a few minutes? How does all that play out? For somebody who jumps on the show? What does it look like if you make it to the show?
Mindy Zemrak: (54:19) You are one of the lucky entrepreneurs who makes it through our very long process. You go on the tank there’s no timer that’s the good news. So, you go in and give your pitch you’ll be asked a barrage of questions by the Sharks and hopefully you know get into negotiations. On average, most people are in there for 45 minutes to 90 minutes, but the shortest pitch was 22 minutes and the long was the longest was two and a half hours so.
Zach Smith: (54:45) Did the 22 get a deal, and did the two an hour get a deal?
Mindy Zemrak: (54:49) Yeah, I don’t know if the two and a half hour one did I can’t remember but the 22 minute one did that was Heidi Ho’s cheese and it was that.
Zach Smith: (54:56) Oh nice.
Mindy Zemrak: (54:57) Yes she got the cheese from nuts. So, it was vegan cheese.
Zach Smith: (55:00) That goes to your point to know why you’re different, standout, be quick and you can -- you say everything you need to say.
Mindy Zemrak: (55:04) For 16 minutes and Lori gave her a deal it was pretty amazing.
Zach Smith: (55:08) Wow, that’s awesome so no rehearsals, is there any prep before you get on the show? Do you?
Mindy Zemrak: (55:12) Oh, yeah.
Zach Smith: (55:15) Does somebody say, okay gotcha.
Mindy Zemrak: (55:16) Yes, there’s definitely prep you get through process you work with producers who you know work with you on your pitch and we know like any sort of props or art department, like if people have food that they need to cook like we take all that into consideration. We don’t just throw people in and say, okay, good luck we don’t know what’s going to come in its a long process that they have to go through so.
Zach Smith: (55:39) If you get about 100 out of 20,000, how many those hundred make it on TV? How do they know if they’re going to appear on TV?
Mindy Zemrak: (55:47) Once they film their segment if they use film and not everyone does, but if every but for those who film when they’re done filming, they go home, they will have to wait and see if the network wants to air them not everyone does, but they will get a heads up either way. But, I’m not familiar with that process. Once they’re kind of done filming then I don’t really I’m not involved in anything after the fact but.
Zach Smith: (56:10) But you know if it’s like 50%, 20%, 90% you get to the.
Mindy Zemrak: (56:14) It just depends on how many episodes we get per season, so if there is.
Zach Smith: (56:17) Okay, got you.
Mindy Zemrak: (56:18) So if there is episodes you know 88 will air it If there’s 26 episodes that’s obviously more, but it just depends on how many episodes it’s all in network decision.
Zach Smith: (56:27) And what time do the new episodes air on ABC?
Mindy Zemrak: (56:29) So luckily the last month we have gone back to Friday nights at 8pm which is great. We used to be on Sundays, before that we were on Fridays. So luckily, we’ve gone back and we’ve actually seen that.
Zach Smith: (56:40) Sunday’s aren’t as good?
Mindy Zemrak: (56:41) Sunday’s are not as good. Nope, we actually our sweet spot has always been Fridays at eight because families were kind of staying home for and watching the show together at 8 o’clock. Whereas on Sunday, you have other shows you have football when that was a thing, which hopefully it still will be this Fall you know, it’s just a harder night because kids are going to bed earlier because they have school Monday. So, we’ve we’re lucky enough to go back to Friday nights at 8 o’clock, and our numbers have actually gone up in the past month. So we’re really excited and typically, our seasons run from the Fall into the Spring, so the current season that’s airing is Season 11 and though we started airing those episodes in October of 2019, and we’ll be right running at least until I think another couple weeks maybe into late May of this year. And then Season 12 we’ll hopefully air later this year Fall into next year.
Zach Smith: (57:29) Very cool, very cool. Now, the final topic we want to talk about is basically how to leverage your Shark Tank appearance and I know you have contracts and NDA’s and we talked about stuff like that, but our mutual friend Dallas Robinson was kind enough to kind of provide some answers. So, as I go through his answers, Thomas and Mindy, feel free to just kind of jump in and share anything that you might have as well. But these were the questions Funded Today Nation wanted us to ask and Dallas of Kisstixx who got a really good deal with a couple Sharks provided these answers. So, the first question was, if people win an equity deal and or a television appearance then what should they do or not do? How can you make the most of this opportunity, any examples we’re sharing? And Dallas said if someone gets the opportunity to pitch and win a deal and get an airdate they really win all around, they need to do a couple things. First, they need to prepare airdate, make sure they are hosted and can handle the influx of online web traffic. Make sure they have marketing and retargeting, email capture all firing to capture that audience and be able to remarket to the hundreds of thousands of visitors over a few days that they will have. Prepare for the wave of customer service inquiries and prepare for the shipping of all the products to get them out as soon as you can. Implement cross sells and upsells as well as a really good abandoned cart campaign, that basically means somebody comes to your cart, and they don’t by you tell them “hey”, you sent them an email, “hey, it looks like you’ve left them in your cart, do you want to do this”, and give them a special Shark Tank deal as well, a week or so after the purchase to try to get them to come back and buy again, while they are still super excited about your appearance on the show. People can really maximize the Shark Tank effect this way, and there is an effect and it’s big. Also they should take advantage of their relationship with their Shark or sharks depending on who they are they should really learn to use their internal teams to get whatever opportunities they can. So, that’s the first one anything there stands out to either of you.
Mindy Zemrak: (59:08) Dallas is great. I don’t have anything to add. I think what he said I can’t really speak to so much, but I think what he said makes complete sense and I would agree with it.
Zach Smith: (59:17) The traffic is huge too a lot of you who are listening might not have a website they can handle the traffic that will come during the airtime? I mean, what did you say five to seven million, eight million?
Mindy Zemrak: (59:25) We have anywhere from five to seven million viewing.
Zach Smith: (59:28) Yes. I mean that is a lot, when we run your crowdfunding campaign we might only send five million people to your project the entire time, so keep that in mind and that’s over 30 to 60 days, this is happening in the span of a few minutes in terms of how many people are watching your product. So Dallas also said I think it’s really implemented a plan across all ecommerce, have Amazon stock, have your website ready, have all your marketing engines firing and offer deals? Use the experience to launch into retail and get buyers attention and launch as many places as possible while it’s hot and interesting so, there’s that one. Second one, how many entrepreneurs find equity less valuable than working with a Shark? What’s it like working with the Sharks over time? How involved are the Sharks in these businesses? How long do these relationships go for? Is there a way to get out of things down the road if you don’t like it? What if the business dies we decide to pithed it or transition into something new? And here’s what he said to this one. I think it depends on where the company is at and how sophisticated the entrepreneur is. In my case, I didn’t care about equities my little company was worth almost nothing. Some of these, however, are really big valuable companies. But I would still argue the relationship with your Sharks is more valuable than the investment and that is what is most intriguing to me as an entrepreneur. The other piece is the airing and free advertising and exposure is worth probably four to five million and ad dollars according to my last calculations. It’s the gift that keeps on giving Mindy and I just talked about this with all the syndications that they’re doing. I asked Dallas this and he said, as far as how I figured out that exposure was worth $4 to $5 million I just took the time we got on air and matched it up to buying primetime ads during that time, then added in all in the re-airing the reruns on cable affiliates, and then when Delta picked it up and ran it for about eight months as in flight entertainment and viewership at the time and ended up with a pretty good number based on if I were to go by the same exposure. I love that aspect of and I think that’s a huge selling point for you as well Mindy for people who maybe should I get on the show? Should I not? That sounds like an extremely valuable takeaway in your audience numbers definitely add up to very, very valuable as well in that regard, right?
Mindy Zemrak: (61:26) Yes, absolutely.
Zach Smith: (61:27) Dallas said in terms of his experience working with Sharks, he said I can only speak for working with Mark and Laurie. But both have been really good to work with, I found we got a lot of attention in the beginning and really gave it a great shot, I still can reach out to either of them with any new project ventures I have. And they will gladly talk to me I think each deal is different. But our situation changed many times. And Mark Cuban helped how he could and we had to pivot and change and it was just a conversation every single time. I think they are as involved as you want them to be. And they have a lot going on. So if you’re asking for involvement help etcetera, you’re going to get it, it’s kind of the person who speaks up is going to get the attention. So, it’s important to maintain those relationships as they go along. And then he finally said, I think many of their businesses don’t make it if they don’t spend the time on the ones so they’re going to the Sharks are going to focus on the ones that are going to be really successful. And it’s your job to help make it be really successful and make that stand out. The pitching continues essentially even after you get the deal. Kind of like what you were saying, Mindy. It’s all about always having that passion, always have that excitement so the Shark stay engaged with your project after they invest as well.
Mindy Zemrak: (62:25) Yes, a lot of a lot of times entrepreneurs have the misconception that once they get on Shark Tank, and if they get a deal, they’re instantly a millionaire. And what we’ve had to explain to a lot of them before they pitch is when you pitch in, if you make a deal, you are going to work harder than you have already to make that deal close and then to kind of gear up and go full force. And I think almost every single entrepreneur who I’ve spoken to after the fact has said, you guys were dead on when you said I would work harder and they’ve all worked harder, but the proof is in the pudding if you work harder, then you’re going to obviously jump to levels that you were not at previously. But some people I think have that misconception of oh, I’m just going to like lie back and collect a check and you know, go to Hawaii and that’s not the case.
Zach Smith: (63:13) Yes, no, I love that. Now this last one you can answer and you already have so I’ll share with Dallas has and then you can add in your input. The feedback, the question that Funded Today Nation wanted to know was can anyone go through the process again? And what makes a good repeat applicant? And Dallas writes, yes, anyone can go through the process again, my understanding is that if it’s good for TV, then they consider it. I know the Casting Director, Mindy. So that was cool when he said that, she’s really cool and just a really nice person. She was actually the one that originally found us, and they are really looking for compelling stories. It’s kind of like what you were talking about. So, it’s just a pitch to her as to why it would be good. I’m not sure how that would play if someone got a deal and then went back on. I think it’s more likely for someone to go back on if they did not get a deal the first time though. Copa Di Vino and Rebecca Rescate with Hoodie Pillow both have been on a couple times as well as the guitar guy, I believe has been on twice. So, anything you want to add to that answer Mindy in terms of re applications going through the process, again, that sort of thing.
Mindy Zemrak: (64:09) We’ve had a couple entrepreneurs I think it’s been less than five that have come back into the tank was those that you mentioned also, Aaron Marino came in twice he did not get a deal I don’t think either time he what he got an offer from Barbara she wanted a part of his YouTube company instead. So, I’m not sure what happened with that I can’t remember, but I we, it’s all up to the network executives if they want to let someone come in for a second time. Dave from Echo Valley Meats came in a second time, the first time we did not know as a customer acquisition costs and the second time that was the first time I’m sorry. And then the second time he came in, he knew it and he got to deal with Mark Cuban. And Dave’s a great guy. He’s a good friend of mine now and he’s having a story, but it’s a rare thing these days that an entrepreneur has a second chance. We just had another entrepreneur come in on last week’s episode actually he came in originally with a company called Fit Deck, and then they did not get a deal. But he came back a second time not with the same company with a different company and he had a really impressive background, and it was an interesting company very topical called Prep Well Academy, and he did not get a deal again BUT the Shark said maybe third time’s a charm. But the Sharks again do not have any say about who comes into the tank that is up to the producers. So, certainly if someone comes back and says “hey these are right updates”, we pass that information on to the producers, but it’s ultimately their call. And I don’t know what was the yea or nay back then of allowing someone to come back in a second time or not, but that his decision made way above me, but it has happened a couple of times I don’t know if that will continue in the future, but we’ll see.
Zach Smith: (65:54) Gotcha. I love talking with you. It’s just fascinating to kind of hear from somebody in the trenches and I’m sure this has been really valuable to all of our listeners as well. So, thank you so much for coming on. This has been very, very insightful, and I think everybody’s going to probably consider this maybe their favorite episode of our whole podcast. So, lucky you you’re going to be the winner here. So, thank you so much for coming on. I really appreciate I learned a lot myself as well, and I know Thomas did too.
Mindy Zemrak: (66:20) Of course thank you guys for having me and reaching out. I’m really glad we were able to talk and just want to, you know, encourage everyone to apply, apply online. Follow me @Mindycasting and you know, we’ll hopefully make a great Season 12 for everyone.
Zach Smith: (66:35) So Mindy, something, I think that would be really good for everybody If you had to summarize everything that we’ve talked about, or some sort of like, wisdom or life advice that you have what would it be? And then what we like to do with every guest who comes on is if you have a certain book, a certain podcast episode, a mentor, maybe for you, do you have a favorite Shark or a Shark who you really resonate with? Maybe if you like them all, just maybe a couple of those answers from you to kind of shed a little light into your own entrepreneurial experience and kind of what you think about where you’re at right now?
Mindy Zemrak: (67:09) Absolutely. So, I would say this isn’t even based on my experience with Shark Tank. It’s just working in the industry that I do. I’ve always been told two things and I’ve kind of always lived by them. And I learned them really early on. The first one is, if someone asked you to do something, write it down. It doesn’t matter if it’s the most simple thing ever write it down. I always carry a notebook or a moleskin with me at all times and I write everything down so that it’s all accounted for and taken care of and everything I also was a bartender and a waitress for seven years, so it started there kind of, but, and then the second rule that I’ve kind of always abided by in my own life is “never run”. Because, the second you run, someone knows that you either messed up, or that something has gone wrong. So, there’s kind of an ongoing thing in the industry that I work in, in the entertainment industry, which is never run. I’m just always kind of take things by stride and you’ll get everything done but just don’t run. So those are kind of the two things that that I kind of roll by.
Zach Smith: (68:13) I love it that’s great, favorite book?
Mindy Zemrak: (68:16) I have not read in quite some time, but I would say the book that stands out the most in recent time would be the “Alchemist”.
Zach Smith: (68:25) Ah, love it Paulo Coelho.
Mindy Zemrak: (68:27) Great book, yes great book.
Zach Smith: (68:29) Great book, great book. What about do you listen to podcasts? Do you have a mentor somebody you really look up to?
Mindy Zemrak: (68:36) I listen to podcast, but I have a tendency to listen to the podcasts that are about like “Unsolved Mysteries” or murder documentaries and stuff like that.
Zach Smith: (68:46) Hey, that’s perfectly fine, that’s how my wife is to.
Mindy Zemrak: (68:49) It's I don’t know I just find it fascinating those are kind of the only podcast that I that I listen to you. But I also haven’t listened to a podcast in about two years ago.
Zach Smith: (68:58) I got you, you’re staying busy?
Mindy Zemrak: (69:00) For a while. Yes, just super busy Shark Tank and then with the Eco-Challenge show I did. I had no time for anything really, so.
Zach Smith: (69:08) And you said you have a dog.
Mindy Zemrak: (69:09) I have a dog his name is Dudley. He’s 10 months old and he is.
Zach Smith: (69:11) Oh puppy.
Mindy Zemrak: (69:14) And he is careful.
Zach Smith: (69:14) What type of dog?
Mindy Zemrak: (69:16) He’s a rescue I rescued him from a kill shelter when he was four months old. So we think he’s a Chihuahua Doxen mix, and he’s really cute. You can follow him on Instagram it’s the Dudley dog.
Zach Smith: (69:28) Awesome, awesome. We have a dog as well a little toy mini Golden Doodle so.
Mindy Zemrak: (69:34) Oh so cute.
Zach Smith: (69:37) Yes, really yes. Okay, last one for you out of all the Sharks do you have one you really love, resonate with and why?
Mindy Zemrak: (69:41) All the Sharks are great. I mean, I have spent a lot of time with them. I ran in Manhattan Beach 10-K with Robert a couple years ago. Laurie is just a doll. Barbara, I actually had dinner at Barbara’s house with her and Damon and Kevin, like right before COVID hit in New York and they’re all great. I was on Kevin’s YouTube channel recently, but I was the one that I probably resonate with the most is probably Cuban. He’s just a genuine guy like they’re all -- don’t get me wrong all the Sharks are general they’re all great, they’re all funny and they have fun. But something about Mark and I don’t know he’s just a really chill dude. He’s such a good guy, what he what he’s done for his community in Dallas, and all the workers at the American Airlines Centre and he’s still having them get paid during COVID it’s just it speaks to, all of these Sharks are at their core and they’re just such amazing individuals. You may not agree with everything from what they say from time-to-time, but I mean, they’re all really just great people and have become friends, which is weird to think about when I actually think about it.
Zach Smith: (70:49) Yes, sometimes they don’t seem very friendly.
Mindy Zemrak: (70:50) But they are just people like, when you talk to them? When I first started talking to them? I was so nervous to be like, oh, Barbara, no, hi, and now I’m like, oh, you’re just a human like if you’re all you’re eating, you know, craft service and pretzels like me, so.
Zach Smith: (71:07) I love that, I love that takeaway. And it’s so timely to we were just yesterday talking with Edmund Lowman he was the lead guitarist of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus a pretty famous band for a while, and he said the same thing. He’s like, we all eat, wake up, put our clothes on I know it sounds crazy, but we’re all just people. And honestly, I’m not too much different than you.
Mindy Zemrak: (71:26) I know and it’s like, it’s weird because when I meet people at open calls like, they’re like, Oh my God you’re Mindy and I’m like yes, like it I’m just, I’m just me doing my job. And like, some people come up to me like, I follow you on Instagram. I’m like oh, that’s awesome cool. But like, it’s a weird thing for get someone and be like they think I’m someone important and I don’t think that about myself. I just, I love what I do and I love my job. And I get to meet amazing people along the way. But it’s a really weird thing, like a situation to be in because I’m like, I’m just me doing my job. I’m this to me. I don’t know. It’s hard to put into words because I’m like.
Zach Smith: (72:05) I get it.
Mindy Zemrak: (72:06) It’s just me but they don’t.
Zach Smith: (72:12) You seem so happy though, what would you say are you happy first often, what would you say makes you that way?
Mindy Zemrak: (72:17) Despite all the COVID stuff happening and obviously I do hope that everyone stays safe and we flatten this curve because it is it is difficult and it is hard. And you know, I worry constantly about my grandparents, my parents and my best friend actually tested positive for COVID, and luckily, he’s clear and he’s better but I know that’s not the case. And despite all of that, you know, there are days where even me I’m like “Oh, God, this is this is hard and it’s I think it’s testing all of us, but I think it’s bringing us closer together as a community, but yes, I that all aside, I’m very happy I love what I do. I’ve been so fortunate to have been a part of this little show that occurred since season one, we didn’t know if it was ever going to grow to what it has become and it’s just I’ve done a ton of shows and I can find great personalities and outgoing personalities. But the special thing about Shark Tank is you are finding people who have put everything on the line. They’ve given up God knows what they’re still pushing through, because they truly believe in it. And it’s really heartwarming and special to have to see someone go from a very small startup or just a mom and pop or what have you to another level and to kind of see them grow right before your eyes knowing like, oh, wow, I met you when you were doing this, and now you’re at this level, it just really is special to kind of have a tiny little part in them growing. And I tell everyone like, “hey, even though it doesn’t work out this year, like you’re going to meet people along the way”, you’re going have connections like if we were doing open calls a lot of people network and they say, I’ve been talking to someone I met in line three years ago, you know, and they, we’ve kind of found this weird community, but I’m happy I love what I do. I’m very fortunate to be part of this show, and still be part of it years later, and I hope it continues and I just hope that you know, everyone doesn’t get discouraged by this. I know that there’s a lot of small businesses that are hurting right now but hopefully our show can you know shed light and some investment down the road on those who are struggling, and we can kind of showcase how our entrepreneurs in our country get through this, and I think there’s going to be a lot of those stories coming in the next season.
Zach Smith: (74:43) Absolutely. What are you most excited about for next season?
Mindy Zemrak: (74:44) Oh God, I don’t even know because we haven’t filmed it yet. I’m always excited to see what ends up in the tank and more often than not I’m really excited to just see what Mr. Wonderful has to say because he’s never short for words.
Zach Smith: (75:02) Gotcha.
Mindy Zemrak: (75:03) I love watching him in the tank. I love watching all of them, just their reactions are hysterical. But I have no doubt the overarching kind of message for our next season will be how are entrepreneurs adjust to the new normal, that’s about to happen with post COVID or during COVID. And I really think that we’ll see a lot of that in our stories and our entrepreneurs, and companies I think are going to start popping up amongst all of this and maybe they’ll end up on the show, and we’ll showcase them.
Zach Smith: (75:33) Oh, yeah, there’s going to be all kinds of new companies, I think when the dust settles on this so that’s exciting. Well, Funded Today Nation Mindy Zemrak, thank you so much for coming on. Now, what we like to do with every single one of our guests when we have a guest, we like to do our segment of the show that we really love. And it’s called the Funded Today products of the week. And the Funded Today products of the week, we showcase certain projects that we’re working with. And if you have one that stood out to you from all your time, 12 years on Shark Tank feel free to share it as well. I’ll go first, then Thomas, and then you can finish this off and that will be the show. So, my product of the week is a product that is live on Kickstarter right now it is called GOOVIS Young and it is a Personal Mobile Cinema. It has raised it just actually raised some more money right now right before our eyes, it’s raised $73,912 so far they’re one of our clients 24 days to go and the reason this is so great, especially during the COVID pandemic is you can stay home enjoy your private and portable cinema screen while all the theatres are closed. Compatible with your iPhone, your Android, your PS4, your Xbox, your Nintendo Switch, PC, Mac, the list goes on and on and on, escape anywhere with immersive big screen quality entertainment, and a pocket size, head mounted display. Check it out it really is cool, and the feedback has been amazing on this one so far. 24 days left GOOVIS G-O-O-V-I-S live on Kickstarter right now. Thomas, what do you got for us?
Thomas Alvord: (76:55) Thanks Zach. So, my product or project of the week is called the Herb Garden, and this is an indoor garden it looks like furniture, you could put it in your house, a dresser, you could put it somewhere nice, and it was actually created by a team of MIT engineers. So right out of the gate, you know what’s going to be good and they went and they researched the best way to make an indoor garden in the world. And they literally spent thousands of hours researching plant science, and designing and testing every detail of this Herb Garden because their goal was to put the best hydroponics plant growth technology into this beautiful garden that you could proudly display in your house. Now, it’s not for the faint of heart it is $1,299 so it costs a bit of money but if you’re into hydroponics if you’re into gardening into herbs, anything like that, go check it out, it’s called the Herb Garden on Kickstarter live right now.
Zach Smith: (78:07) It also seems like the products we talked about this week, Thomas were timely you’ve got something to create your own home garden well. The grocery store shelves always seem to be bare during this COVID pandemic and then he got away to entertain yourself while the theatre and cinema are closed interesting. Now, Mindy, what do you got for us?
Mindy Zemrak: (78:26) I’ve seen probably 10s of thousands of products at this point, but I would say one that kind of hit home and is very close to all of our hearts on Shark Tank would be the “Cup Board Pro” The young family came on two years ago, and it was it was three siblings who unfortunately lost both parents. They lost their mother a couple years prior to their appearance due to cancer, and then their father passed away from 9/11 illnesses because he was a first responder firefighter at during 9/11. And Kaley and her siblings came in Christian and Keira and they were amazing and they came in and we’re pitching their father’s cup. It’s basically a cutting board a bamboo cutting board with a tray that connects to it so you can pull it all up kind of like your product or anything that you’re chopping up in this board in the cup that’s attached to it and all five Sharks came in and did a deal together. And they have since relaunched in William Sonoma and online and they’re just they have an amazing story. All those Sharks were crying, all of us backstage, were crying because it was truly a very special moment for these kids who are just so resilient and so strong and obviously so are their father. They’re amazing. And so it would be Cup Board Pro for me that one is a very, very special company.
Zach Smith: (79:47) Love it I’m looking at it right now. This is a beautiful looking product. Wow the craftsmanship is amazing. We’ll post the link to that for anybody who wants to check it out. This is a very nice looking cutting board. I think I’m going to pick one up right after this podcast. So thank you so much. Well, that’s our show. Mindy, thanks so much for coming on. We have loved having you, Thomas. And I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure Funded Today Nation and all of our other listeners who hear this episode are going to get a ton of value out of this as well. We will link to your comments. We will link to all of your different notes and stuff that you share it along with your Instagram, and a way to apply to Shark Tank so you can inundate Mindy and her team during this Coronavirus pandemic with new submissions for a future season. Thanks again for coming Mindy we really appreciate it stay safe and keep on helping entrepreneurs succeed love the stories. And remember, Funded Today Nation like we always say don’t wait until tomorrow get Funded Today.
Announcer: (80:45) Funded today is the worldwide leader in rewards based Crowdfunding on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Combined, they have raised over $200 million and counting for thousands of new ideas and inventions worldwide. If you’ve got an idea for a new product or invention, visit fundedtoday.com to speak with one of their experts.
References and Resources
- ABC: “Shark Tank”
- ABC: “Shark Tank” Applications
- ABC: He Wants to Draw a Cat For You! - Shark Tank
- ABC: Potato Parcel Pitch - Shark Tank
- The Comfy: The Comfy on Shark Tank - Dec. 3, 2017
- Every Shark Tank Product: DoorBot Pitch (Shark Tank Season 5 Episode 9)
- Every Shark Tank Product: Scrub Daddy Pitch (2016 Sep 10)
- Firehouse Chef: Cup Board Pro
- Funded Today: Podcast: “Crowdfunding Stories: Tammy Rant & TushBaby”
- Funded Today: Podcast: “Crowdfunding Stories: Rob Peck & AquaVault”
- Funded Today: Ultimate Crowdfunding Page-Design Analyzer
- Funded Today: Ultimate Crowdfunding Pre-Launch Checklist
- Funded Today: Ultimate Crowdfunding Success Guide
- Instagram: Mindy Zemrak
- Twitter: Mindy Zemrak
- USA Today: “‘Shark Tank’ exclusive: The new list of the 20 best-selling products from the show” (2019 Oct 10)
- Wikipedia: Mark Burnett
- Wikipedia: Shark Tank
Thanks for Listening!
Thanks so much for joining us this week. Do you have some feedback you’d like to share with us? We'd love to hear it! Please just leave a note in the comment section below.
If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe and leave an honest review for The Funded Today Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews keep us going, are super helpful, and helps provide this show to more people who need this information. Most importantly, we read each and every one of them and it helps us to come up with new ideas for new episodes to help you!