AfterShark: Kevin O'Leary is gleeful about profiting from the depressed and grief-stricken
You can see our interview with WalletPop's Jason Cochran by clicking here. To see more outtakes from our chat with John, head over to our Facebook page, where you can find even more gossip from ABC's Shark Tank, including some surprising admissions about how he tricks the other Sharks into backing out of the deals he wants for himself.
And make sure to bookmark our AfterShark page, where every week, we add more interviews with the Sharks, the entrepreneurs, and the small business owners who dared to turn their noses at the big money.
So what happened in the Shark Tank on Sunday night?
* Weirdo inventor Cactus Jack, an eccentric Iowan who boasted of never having had a real job in all of his 65 years, showed up in the Tank seeking $180,000 for 20% of his Body Jac, a gadget that helps heavy people do easier push-ups. He would have funded it himself, Jack said, except the millions he claimed to have made from a cleaning product had evaporated. "I know how to make these things happen, and I want you to give me a shot at it," he said. Barbara Corcoran and Kevin Harrington agreed they would only invest if the 260-pound Jack, whose gut hung ominously over his belt, agreed to lose 30 pounds using his own product. There was a pregnant pause, followed by a commercial for Jell-o Sugar Free Pudding. When they came back, Daymond John, recognizing that Jack craved an investment in his personality, offered to give full financing for all Cactus Jack products without his even having to lose the weight. Surprisingly, Jack went for the weight-loss option, although he gave up half of his company to do it. "I've got news for you guys. There's no way in hell he's losing 30 pounds. The 30 pounds is gonna keep it off the table forever," quipped Kevin O'Leary.
* Irina Blok came in with Face Blok, a collection of designer surgical face masks, and wanted $50,000 for a 30% stake. She passed them out to the Sharks -- Kevin O'Leary got the one with the pig's snout on it -- but said that without investment money, her product couldn't actually protect from airborne disease. "There's really no company here," said Robert Herjavec, and the other Sharks agreed, praising the masks' whimsy but ultimately rejecting them as a mere novelty item.
* Jeff Cohen from California was a diabetic with a challenge: Come up with a healthy snack that wouldn't cause his blood sugar to spike. His next challenge was to draw $175,000 for 25% of his Granola Gourmet energy bars. Then, as it always is when food products show up in the Tank, it was snack time, but the praise was polite at best. "Very nice," said Corcoran. "Very good," offered Harrington. Cohen continued with his tale. In about seven months, he managed to get into 24 Whole Foods stores in Southern California, and now he wanted to expand. When he admitted to a recent personal bankruptcy, though, Shark eyes fell to the carpet, and they saw an opening. O'Leary: "Jeff, let's be real. You went bankrupt. That wiped out your ability to raise money from a bank. That's life. It's not my fault." Harrington didn't think the bars were anything unique: "I'm looking at your granola business, and to me it's a 'Me, Too' business, okay?... Everyone's in it... I'm out." Finally, the honesty began to flow, and John laid the hard truth down: "I really didn't like the taste of them." Corcoran must not have loved them either, because she called herself out because she didn't see herself making her money back despite the quality of the product.
O'Leary, though, true to character, zeroed in on the money and drew blood even though he had no intention of making a deal: "I understand your decision to go bankrupt. Cleans the slate. But it carries a weight. If I was your partner and the business was successful, you would require more capital, and no bank is going to loan you any money. That causes me to put up more capital and more capital and more capital. It's a fact. You need a bank at some point. You'll never have a bank, Jeff. Ever. To me, you're radioactive." Herjavec tried defending Cohen, praising "the measure of a man," but ultimately, he backed out, too, and Cohen, glowing in the dark on our television screens, took the long walk home. One he was gone, Herjavec berated O'Leary for dumping on a guy who was trying for his second chance. "There are a million people out there who are going to get the wrong message from what you're saying," he said. O'Leary: "No, they're getting the right message. They should not go bankrupt!"
* Next up was Rikki Farrar of Good Grief Celebrations, who wanted $50,000 for 20% of her funeral concierge company, which functions as a party planner for final arrangements. O'Leary might as well still have had the pig mask on: "There's never a better time to upsell than when a family is stricken with grief because they're not really looking at the margins anymore," he chirped. That was icky enough, but Farrar did her best to out-creep America by saying she takes a "therapy dog" to hospices to expose her brand to the soon-to-die. Herjavec, for one, was grossed out. "I think she's a slick businesswoman, and I think deep down, she knows she's taking advantage of people. And she doesn't have a problem with it. But you know what? I do. And I don't want to be in business with you for that reason. I'm out." Harrington agreed he didn't want to be in an ambulance-chasing business either, and he went out, too. O'Leary, the one Shark who didn't object to counting dollars with the Grim Reaper, said he didn't see how the current structure of the funeral business could enable her to make much money, and "for that reason only," he went out, too. Good Grief Celebration's chances were dead and buried.
* Lastly, Brazilian brothers Rodolfo and Alexis Saccoman, looking as if they had peeled themselves from the cover of a cough drop box, merrily asked $80,000 for 20% of their MyTherapyJournal.com, a site that tracks personal goals and mental health. O'Leary expanded his bloodless streak for the evening by interjecting, "Okay, that's wonderful. But how do I make money off depressed people?" (The answer: subscriptions.) With only 121 paying members, the brothers looked for a moment like another case of having to pitch a product for its potential instead of its present reality, and while they struggled to paint a rosy picture of tomorrow, Corcoran and Harrington bailed. They were hasty, because that's when brothers belatedly hinted at interest from the Aetna insurance giant, and O'Leary and Herjavec stirred. "Well, my fellow immigrant friends," said the Croatian-born Herjavec, "you're onto something." Then he sneaked in an offer for the money, joining with O'Leary, but for 51% -- meaning they would have control of the company. That's when the male Sharks started comparing the size of their bankrolls. John tried to get in on the existing offer (it was, you could say, a "Me, Too" moment), but O'Leary shook him off: "What do we need Daymond for?... I think we have to throw Daymond under a bus."
While that was going on, the Saccoman brothers privately decided to counter-offer with 49%, and sealed it with a Wonder Twins-like fist-bump, complete with whooshy, mouth-made sound effects. When they came back to the bargaining table, John, insulted by being blown off, surprised everyone with a solo deal of his own: $120,000 for 50-50 control. Herjavec tried to combat that by pointing out that he was the one with experience selling Web companies for millions. Alexei grasped his brother's shoulder, nodding and practically salivating, and it looked like Rodolfo was about to bite, when John again worked the psychology angle. "Did you guys come to this country to have someone control your business?" he asked coolly, legs casually crossed and hands peaked as if in prayer. "You guys are good!" gasped Alexis, but the brothers agreed they needed Herjavec's Internet expertise. John remained under the proverbial bus, where he could perhaps use the services of Good Grief Celebrations, and the Brazilian boys locked hands with O'Leary and Herjavec. They lost control of their website, but they were confident they had gained the right partners to make a mint.