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The Paint Brush Cover Update: Shark Tank Season 5, Episode 22

Andrew is a self-educated business owner and entrepreneur with plenty of free advice (which is worth exactly what you pay for it!).


Did the Deal Go Through?


Lori Greiner kind of stole this deal from Barbara Corcoran, wherein Barbara was going to make an offer and Lori said she's withdraw hers if they listened to Barb. That's pretty competitive, even for the sharks, but it does happen (reference Mark Cuban's earlier days of the "24 second shot clock" for examples). In the end, the team of John, Sal, and Anthony DePaola got $100,000 for 20% of their company, along with a $100,000 line of credit for purchase orders. Since they were only asking for $50,000 for 10%, I'd say they made out like bandits.

How Did the Business Do After the Show?

Quite well, although... well, it's interesting. Clearly, this product was a very innovative solution to a common problem, and the elegance of the idea allowed it to be marketed to a very, very wide audience. In a follow-up segment a short time later, the trio was already in some 14,000 stores, and had amassed over $2.5 million in sales (important to keep in perspective that they had virtually no sales before appearing on the show!). They're on Amazon now, and their products are available for sale at Lowe's and Walmart, among other prominent retailers. However, one of the founders, John DePaola, was arrested in a huge drug bust. Apparently, the business is still up and running.

What Do I Think?

Herein lies one of the risks involved with being a partner in a business: reputation. Lori may or may not have done well with her initial $100,000 she invested (assuming the $100,000 in purchase order funding was treated as a loan, and paid back in full with interest), but she probably regrets being involved with a business whose founder is now associated with cocaine distribution. On the other hand, some of the reputation is likely protected with the distancing that comes along with the nature of Shark Tank: everyone who watches the show understands well enough that these entrepreneurs are making their introduction to the investors, and due diligence is much, much shorter than it normally would be in any other type of investment. As for the numbers themselves, if the company has a standard 50% gross profit margin, they may have brought in somewhere around $125,000 to the company from the aforementioned $2.5 million, but that wouldn't include paying salaries. Beyond that, it's tough to say whether the investment has paid off yet, but given the potential scale of the business, it's tough to imagine them not generating a great deal more than a few million in sales to date.

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