Now that all five of the Sharks in M-Net and Telkom SA’s Shark Tank South Africa have invested in a number of diverse local businesses, the gloves came off this week as they started snapping at each other in the face of some brand new budding business owners. Amongst the entrepreneurs who were brave enough to step into the tank this week, two received deals as Sharks Dawn Nathan-Jones and Gil Oved landed some interesting new additions to their portfolios.
Dawn, the only female Shark in the tank, made it clear from day one that she’ll invest in people who she believes in, despite whether their business projections are already big or are starting off small. It was no wonder then, that when 24-year-old Thabiso Mokomele from Gugulethu in Cape Town entered the tank, Dawn immediately got a glint in her eye.
Thabiso’s clothing line, “T-Squared” was started out of his own garage a few years ago. Since then, his distinctive streetwear brand has grown to the point where he now owns eight industrial sewing machines and his current premises is literally bursting at the seams. He needed the Sharks to give him the capital to expand, and quick. “You’re employing five people,” fellow Shark Marnus stated. “If we could get 400 000 entrepreneurs in this country on the level that you are, then unemployment is solved,” he raved. Dawn also loved Thabiso and his business from the start, and when he informed the Sharks that he is now branching into producing uniforms for local schools, it was enough for Dawn to take the plunge. Not only did she offer Thabiso much-needed capital to expand his business immediately, but she also gave him something that the other Sharks couldn’t: her time. She is relocating to Cape Town at the end of this year, and part of her deal included her one-on-one dedication to growing “T-Squared” in the Mother City.
A far cry from bustling Gugulethu, a husband and wife team from the Karoo became the second entrepreneurs to land a deal in the Shark Tank, with their novel business called “Creative Doormats”. Having married straight out of university, Henco and Chantelle Wiid had to get creative in order to make extra money to get by. They started “Creative Doormats” as a sideline business, and came to the Sharks in the hopes of taking it from sideline to full time. Their business is a simple one: they manufacture bespoke doormats with unique and personalised messages on them and are able to produce the mats at low margins, thanks to a secret time-saving technique that they developed themselves.
Again, it was a case of investing in the people rather than just in the business, as a number of the Sharks started showing some serious interest in the Wiids. Vinny was first to offer them a deal, but in a move that the rest of the Sharks deemed rude and arrogant, he only gave them five seconds to accept, and without giving them the opportunity to hear from any of his fellow Sharks. This left the young couple speechless and unable to take Vinny up on his offer, but luckily for them, both Gil and Dawn chipped in with counter offers to Vinny’s, and both for more money than they initially asked for! In the end, and despite a brand new offer from Vinny, Henco and Chantelle eventually decided to accept marketing guru Gil Oved’s offer of R150 000 for a 25% stake in their company.
As always, there were some unlucky attempts to receive a financial boost in tonight’s show too. Yet another tech endeavor, an app called “Farmboek” specifically aimed at the farming and agricultural community in South Africa, did not reap the rewards that farmer Andre Groenewald was hoping for. The fact that Andre’s “Farmboek” app seemed solid as an idea was not in question. Businessman Romeo Kumalo told Andre, “there may be a need in the market for what you are trying to do, but I simply can’t see how you are going to monetise it.” Accounting boss Marnus Broodryk also weighed in by telling Andre that “there’s so much that still needs to be done to turn Farmboek into a full-on business.” For those simple reasons, all five of the Sharks were out and Andrew returned to his farm empty-handed.
Another entrepreneur who made the mistake of coming into the tank with an idea but nothing to back it up as a lucrative business endeavour was young biokineticist Bram Brand (27). He entered the tank with a 3-D prototype of an invention that he had developed to help sufferers of back and neck pain massage their painful muscles from the comfort of their own home. Unfortunately for Bram, it was just that: a prototype. He did not have any medical research or endorsements to back up his invention, and while his intentions were good, he simply did not have the supporting evidence to convince the impatient Sharks. “The problem is, you lack hustle,” Gil told Bram. “As an entrepreneur you need to be a hustler. If you are hungry for this, come back with some real interest and an understanding of how you’re going to sell more products and make us our money back. I’m out.” His fellow Sharks were all in agreement too.
To find out more about the businesses that have been featured on the series so far, 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.