@ Joulies

What a brilliant story! David Jackson and David Petrillo identified a problem and solved it. They noticed that people burn their tongues daily on coffee and other hot drinks, and that when they do wait for their drinks to cool down, they have a short period of time before it starts getting cold. So the two engineers started a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise $9,500, and ended up in the Kickstarter Hall of Fame as they finished with a whopping $306,944! Partnering up with a U.S. manufacturer, the two Davids began filling orders and are ready to move forward. They appeared on Shark Tank on Friday seeking an investment to fill purchase orders and move into retail and wholesale, and an investment is what they got...from all of the Sharks except for Mark Cuban.

This pitch really begs me to delve into a whole slew of topics, which we'll try to knock down quickly one at a time here. The first is Kickstarter, and on a more broader scale the new area of finance known as Crowdfunding. Without going into too much detail, crowdfunding allows entrepreneurs to raise money for projects or ventures through a website where they can list their ideas and anyone can give money towards it. Although some sites require you to be an accredited investor to put in capital, most do not. The way I like to look at crowdfunding is as follows: Imagine if you are standing in Times Square, the most commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan, and walk up to a couple hundred strangers asking each one for a few bucks. To each one of them it's just a few dollars, but collectively to you it could be a few thousand. Crowdfunding is the same basic idea, as you're essentially collecting money from people you never met, just through the internet. This new way to fundraise is taking off wildly with many different platforms that offer the ability to crowdfund and many different countries that are picking it up. It is allowing thousands of businesses to be created each week, thereby creating many new jobs and many happy new business owners. And although some investors hate the idea, many investors (including Mark Cuban) endorse it and recommend it to entrepreneurs and small-business owners.

While we are mentioning Mark Cuban, this would be a great opportunity to head into the next topic that I wanted to bring up which is...Mark Cuban! Out of all the Sharks that sit on the panel, Mr. Cuban is the wealthiest with a net worth of $2.4 billion (according to Forbes Magazine). But in addition to being the wealthiest he is also the most stubborn. While all the other Sharks were excited and enthused of bringing Joulies to wholesale and retail, Mark insisted that it was a horrible idea and that the strategy was to instead get bought out by a larger company. Going against one Shark is one thing. Losing a deal is another. But going against all four Sharks and losing a deal just plain sucks. Mark clearly hates losing and as much as he hates to admit it, he is a sore-loser. It's so evident from Shark Tank but perhaps even more obvious from his NBA experience in which he has been fined well over a million dollars for arguing with refs and violating basic rules. Don't get me wrong. Mark Cuban is one of my biggest role models and I mean that seriously. But at the same time, you gotta be able to admit when you are wrong, especially if it's causing you to miss a golden opportunity.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about how impressive their pitch was and how they demonstrated that they care about restoring employment in the United States. To start with the latter, from what it seems like the two Davids used the extra money they received on Kickstarter to manufacture their product in America as opposed to outsourcing them overseas. We know that outsourcing saves companies loads of money and that companies like Apple have been able to bring in crazy profits through outsourcing in China. But as you keep an eye out for developing trends in 2012 and 2013, you will start to notice how more and more companies are bringing production back to America to improve the way their brands are perceived and to create more jobs in this country. So kudos to Joulies for viewing this as a priority.

As far as the overall pitch, I thought it was exceptional with just one issue which Mr. Wonderful pointed out, that they weren't wearing suits. I've stated my opinion many times already about the importance of getting dressed up before facing investors or anyone you need to show respect to, and it's upsetting to see how little people value looking professional. Jeans and a t-shirt are cool for lounging around in, but when you're asking someone for money show some respect. Other than that, exceptional job.
Overall Performance: 9
Jeff HopkinsComment