The evening started with a fine intimate gala affair for the VIP members in attendance. This allowed for a very close encounter with each of the sharks and also allowed for some dedicated face time with those who attended as a VIP. It was clear there was something on the horizon.
As the clock neared 5PM and the doors swung open into the courtyard at the Franklin Park Conservatory to begin the main event the air changed, the vibrations changed. The bright beaming sun streamed down on all in attendance. The beat of the latest tunes swirled across the airwaves and produced an audible thump in the collective ear of the masses.
Then sudden quiet, the calm before the storm, and then THEY appeared… The Sharks had come to Columbus Ohio. These were not just any sharks, these were angel investors, and entrepreneurial power houses. Their hunger for a piece of the next big deal, the next breaking company yet to be fulfilled. And perhaps the bloodshed of some who may be presented, and then spat back into the sea of startups.
Who were the sharks preying on?
MedPAC: Software that’s changing long term health care outcomes
Enforcers Technologies: A product that revolutionizes automobile travel
Rekovo: A new technology solving a common healthcare problem
Weed Zinger: A tool that adds a new twist to gardening
Inlightened: A digital solution that addresses a popular sports injury
How did each of the above competitors fair with the sharks. Each competitor was given 9 minutes to make their pitch. To put this into perspective of how long it should take: Kevin O’Leary shared some wisdom before starting, “90% of successful pitches are 90 seconds or less” and “100% of successful pitches know their numbers.” Using this as a baseline some of the contestants nailed it in their approach others well let’s say the remaining 7.5 minutes left treading in the water with the sharks was treacherous.
While each presentation was great, and entertaining there were some moments that stole the show during the event.
WeedZinger – They have already put up inpressive numbers having a 49% margin on their product, but have yet to land a deal with a major “depot” type home and garden store. This was strongly urged by the sharks as they felt this product and its presenter were more than ready.
Enforcer – Initially it seemed like this presentation was not going to go over very well, but then out came a screwdriver….talk about someone coming prepared to fight off some sharks. With a quick jab into a tire on stage it became clear this product was ready for more exposure, but it too simply had not been licensed out to a larger manufacturer which the sharks held as a contingency to buy into the company that it be licensed to a major chain.
So what were the sharks motivations to be involved in this event?
I took time during this event to visit with each of the sharks and get their own personal taken on 2 key questions in my view:
- Why did you want to take part in this event?
- What is it specifically about the Columbus, Ohio region that made you think here was a good place for the event and that you wanted to be part of it here?
The responses I received were similar in nature there seemed to be a consensus among all of the sharks that Columbus is somewhat of a diamond in the rough still in its recognition as a Entrepreneurial key player. All of the sharks also shared a bond in their love for the spirit of the Entrepreneur and each has a true desire and drive to help entrepreneurs make a name for themselves.
From Luke Westerman I was told that he wants to bring more focus back to Columbus and how great of a community it is and the opportunity it presents.
In my discussion with Tanisha Robinson one of her key points was that she has a desire to show that 30-somethings can still be successful and create the next empire to come.
Rich Langdale is truly a passionate man for entrepreneurs the way in which he spoke to me about his desire to help others succeed at their entrepreneurial dreams, and his commitment that he feels a responsibility to help others achieve their success was nothing short of inspiring.
The sharks were led by none other than “Mr. Wonderful” himself, Kevin O’Leary, from ABC’s Shark Tank fame. I was truly interested in his reaction to the answers to my above questions. More so because the other sharks are from the area, so their drive and passion is clear, but why someone in his position would who could be at an event anywhere in the world feel this was important.
I asked that very question and like many of the others his answer was very simple. He loves to help entrepreneurs, any event which has a sole purpose of driving that love he was glad to be a part of.
This SharkMeet was a truly inspiring event for all involved, and in attendance. If you would like more information please check out the @ITMartini Twitter account or Facebook Page for more photos and information from the event
If you would like any more information about the event, the presenters, please feel free to comment!