Two entrepreneurs strike it lucky in the tank tonight
Tonight in M-Net and Telkom SA’s Shark Tank South Africa, two deals to the value of R1 Million were struck, with the Sharks even negotiating with each other to get the most out of one entrepreneur’s very scalable business. Up until the start of the episode, only tech tycoon Vinny Lingham and marketing guru Gil Oved had made investment deals in the series, but tonight female Shark Dawn Nathan-Jones and Romeo Kumalo joined them.
Dawn delved deep into her pockets to support another up-and-coming female entrepreneur in her candle making business. Moreover, Romeo cleverly partnered with Vinny to invest in an online mathematics numeracy programme.
35-year-old Tanya Byrne from Johannesburg has been making birthday party candles out of her small factory for a few years, and is one of the only local producers of number candles in South Africa. Once Tanya started breaking down the numbers of her sales for the Sharks, illustrating success despite fierce competition from Chinese imported candles that are very similar to hers, Dawn couldn’t help but be intrigued. “I see a bit of myself in you and I relate to you,” Dawn told Tanya, before offering her R500 000 for 50% equity in her company. Originally, Tanya was willing to give only 20% of her business away, but when questioned about Dawn’s bold counter-offer, Tanya told the rest of the Sharks that she’s happy give away half of her company to Dawn, because “it will only make me hungrier to succeed.” With that can-do attitude, the deal was sealed for “Party Candles”.
The second entrepreneur to walk away with the Sharks’ money tonight was Gavin Horn from Hillcrest, whose online mathematics literacy programme, “Numberwise”, piqued the Sharks’ interest right from the start. Gavin needed capital to turn his online maths programme into a mobile app that can be used by schools and private clients across the country and beyond on an international level. Gavin already had 3500 active users signed up to his product, which is focused on basic maths numeracy, but when the Sharks were informed that Gavin has a reputable chain of schools lined up to use “Numberwise” as their preferred supplier, it was just a matter of deciding which Sharks’ deal was the best for him.
Accounting expert Marnus Broodryk, Vinny Lingham, Gil Oved and Romeo Kumalo all circled around the tank, trying to make deals with each other so that two of them could invest together in Gavin’s business. In the end, Gavin accepted an appetising offer from Silicon Valley-based Vinny Lingham for his tech knowledge, and local businessman Romeo Kumalo, for his myriad of contacts in the mobile industry locally and on the African continent. Gavin bagged both of these hungry Sharks for a 30% stake in his company, at R500 000. “This is tech that we can share across the whole world!” Vinny raved once Gavin exited the tank.
Then there were two slightly unluckier entrepreneurs in the tank tonight whose ideas just didn’t have the legs worthy of investments. Vivian Perry’s “Moo-Licious” mobile biltong carts did not fare well after it was revealed that three of the five Sharks did not eat beef! Despite that, once they listened to her business pitch, they unanimously decided that the numbers were simply not appealing enough, and she left empty-handed.
Thami Skosana from Johannesburg was last into the Shark Tank tonight with his revolutionary idea to create an app to assist South African mourners to find the correct funeral sites of their loved ones. The insurance salesman turned entrepreneur explained to the Sharks that it is in fact a common problem in South Africa, especially over weekends, when cemeteries are full of funeral service providers and hundreds of mourners and one cannot find the correct grave site to pay your respects. While Romeo Kumalo and Dawn Nathan-Jones could attest to the fact that they’ve personally experienced this problem, the fact of the matter was that Thami’s idea, called “Lastpoint SA”, was just that: still an idea. His app would still require full development, and when pressed about the figures of the business, Thami was unable to answer the Sharks’ basic questions regarding profitability. For that reason, they were all out.
To find out more about the businesses, especially if you’re interested in supporting them with an order or purchase, go to www.mnet.tv/sharktank or follow the conversation about the show on Twitter @MNetSharkTank with the hashtag #SharkTankSA.
Shark Tank SA, sponsored by Telkom SA, is screened on Sundays between 18:00 and 19:00 on M-Net 101. This corresponds with the timeslot on a Sunday when all DStv customers can get a taste of what’s available on M-Net 101, so if you’re not a DStv Premium customer, you can also go to channel 101 to watch Shark Tank SA. The series will also be available on DStv Catch Up and streamed live on DStv Now.