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U-Lace Update: Shark Tank Season 5, Episode 19

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?


Mark Cuban made a "say yes right now" type offer of $200,000 for 35% of the company (after company founder Tim Talley countered Kevin O'Leary's $200K for 50% offer with this). It seems like Cuban is still an investor in the company, although his involvement ended once Talley was able to buy back his investment after a few years of solid profit.

How Did the Business Do After the Show?

Talley claims that U-Lace does about a million and a half in sales per year, and given that his margins on the show were fantastic, it's probably safe to assume the company has continued to do reasonably well, although it doesn't seem to have scaled up very much. Having said that, and having been a fan of the book Small Giants, it doesn't always mean failure if a company doesn't become huge... in fact, it can be a huge benefit to the owner's sanity and bank account, maintaining control of product integrity along with profit margins. Given that Talley bought his 35% back from Cuban, and very likely at a profit for Cuban, I'd say the company is doing well.

One of the Best Answers I've Heard on Shark Tank

What Do I Think?

I think Tim Talley is the real deal. There's a certain electricity that goes along with a true entrepreneur, and he seems to embody that spirit. His answers on the show (and in brief online interviews I've read since seeing the pitch), along with his insistence on overcoming all of his obstacles along the way (and very obvious legitimate intent on doing so) have me convinced that he's one of the rare folks truly cut out to be business owners, very likely successful at many different types of ventures. U-Lace isn't necessarily something I like or admire as a product, but I respect the hustle and appreciate the undeniable sales metrics that report back that there's a market for these things. I'd be willing to bet that Mark Cuban walked away with a reasonable return on his investment, and getting his money back relatively quickly speaks to this being a very good investment. Small businesses don't have to be ten-baggers or nothing, as Peter Lynch might put it, but instead, the well run ones can often be steady, boring cash-producers. U-Lace may be just that.

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