Chocomize: A Lesson of Loyalty

Joe Dauenhauer walked confidently into the Shark Tank hoping to secure a $500,000 investment in exchange for a 20% equity stake in his company, Chocomize. Chocomize allows chocolate buyers and eaters to customize their own bars of chocolate in different shapes and sizes, and add on toppings and even edible pictures or messages. The company was founded three years ago, and is the largest customized chocolate company in the United States. But that's not saying much, as revenue last year was only $440,000.

None of the Sharks were really interested in investing in Chocomize for a whole slew of reasons. Barbara didn't like the packaging and felt that the customization element makes the business too expensive. Robert and Lori felt that the market was just too small, and Mark didn't see any differentiating factors in this particular business that makes it superior than any rising competitors. Kevin also wasn't interested in investing, but he did make an interesting offer to Joe, asking him to leave his current partner and company to start a new customized chocolate business with Mr. Wonderful in his Boston offices, for $500,000 and a 25% equity stake in the company. Dauenhauer declined Kevin's offer, showing loyalty to his current partner and brand, and walked back out of the Tank eager to prove him wrong.

This might be the first time in Shark Tank history where one of the Sharks offered an entrepreneur the option of leaving the company he currently owns and operates, to start a competing company together with a Shark. Dauenhauer demonstrated that he has a real vision for Chocomize and that his loyalty to his company is
stronger than such an offer from a Shark. The question is, how any entrepreneurs would do the same? If you were on Shark Tank, and one of the Sharks made you an offer to start a brand new company with them, would you accept the deal or stay true to your current partners. The chances of reaching success together with a Shark (with deep pockets and lots of knowledge) is undoubtedly higher than the chances of making it with your average businessman. So do you walk out of the Tank empty-handed, or do you take the once in a lifetime opportunity and accept the offer from Kevin O'Leary? Answer in the comments below!


Jeff Hopkins1 Comment