The Cycloramic Feeding Frenzy

By: Elizabeth Francois, Writer & Designer
Twitter: @elizfrancois
Facebook: Elizabeth's Note Book

When this episode was first filmed in June 2013, the number of downloads of the Cycloramic app was 660,000. Now, it is over 8 million. Ladies and gentlemen...I bring you the Power of the Shark Tank!

Bruno François is the co-founder and CEO of Egos Ventures, an innovation lab with projects in mobile application and accessories, as well as the developers of Cycloramic. Bruno came into the Tank seeking $90,000 for a 5% stake in the company.

Cycloramic is a smart phone app that is capable of taking hands-free 360-degree panoramic photos and seamlessly stitching them together, so one can truly capture the picture in its entirety. How does it work? The app uses the phone's own vibration to make it spin while it’s taking pictures. The app is currently being sold on the iTunes store for $1.99, and there is nothing else quite like this in the marketplace.

Bruno did a short demonstration by taking pictures of the Tank. Once the app had seamlessly completed stitching all the pictures together, the image was shown on the big screen. The Sharks were surprised and puzzled at the same time with everyone wanting to know, “how’d you do that?” Their initial thoughts was that the base that the phone was sitting on was what made the phone spin, but once it was understood that that wasn't the case, the Sharks were like kids in a candy store. Everyone wanted a nice bite. Now, it was just a matter of strategy and wit to see who could close the deal with Bruno and his revolutionary creation.

As Bruno answered the Sharks’ questions, the intensity in the Tank rose. The company had made $175,000 in sales from 660,000 downloads, and projected $1 million in sales this year. The company was being valued at $1.8 million, and Bruno explained how it was difficult to put a valuation on the company since this app has never existed before. Lori, who never misses an opportunity to boast her talent of sniffing out products to be “a hero or a zero”, made the first move, calling the product a “mega-watt hero” and offering $200,000 for a 10% stake. With that offer on the table, the feeding frenzy began!

Daymond jumped in with an offer of $250,000 for a 10% stake. Kevin attempted to sway Bruno in his direction by pointing out that there was no need to give up any equity (typical Kevin) and made an offer of $90,000 for a 15% royalty on the revenues of the current app but no equity whatsoever in the company. Mr. Wonderful really piled up the charm by pointing out the commonality between him and Bruno; he once made a living as a photographer, cinematographer, and editor too!

Steve Tisch, a rookie in the Shark Tank, quickly partnered up with Lori and together offered $250,000 for 10% stake (going 50/50 with her on the deal). Bruno now had three offers on the table and needed to make a decision. The Sharks were getting antsy. Lori then suggested Bruno try a Zen-like approach to help him decide, by closing his eyes and focusing on what he really wanted - which Lori hoped was to partner with her, the Queen of Inventions. But like a high-stake auction, the Sharks continued vying for the precious deal.

Although Mark first listened carefully as to what the other Sharks had to offer, he wasn't about to let this deal get away. With many previous business dealings in the technology industry, he blew the other Sharks out of the water as he sold himself to Bruno and told him how his experience will be of tremendous value. Mark upped the ante by offering $1 million dollars for a 30% stake. The Tank was speechless! Daymond, realizing that Mark now had the best offer, countered with an offer of $300,000 for 10%. Mr. Wonderful countered as well offering $200,000 for 10%, which would then drop to 5% once the $200,000 is recouped. Not to be outdone, Steve countered with a slightly better offer of $250,000 for a 10% stake, which drops to 5% when the $250,000 is recouped. Daymond then tweaked his offer once more, offering $350,000 for a 12% stake in the company. With so many deals with such slight variances, it was very easy to lose track of who was offering what.

Decisions! Decisions! While most entrepreneurs prepare extensively before entering the Tank, there is no way Bruno was fully prepared for this record-breaking feeding frenzy. Finally, after each Shark changed their offers multiple times, Bruno spoke up asking Mark and Lori to work together, culminating in an offer of $500,000 for 15% stake (7.5% per Shark). Mark, who doesn't take losing so easily was elated. Lori, who got placed into the deal by Bruno couldn't be happier. But poor Steve got kicked to the curb by Lori. Welcome to the Shark Tank Mr. Tisch!

All in all, I would equate this episode to a great tennis match where all the players were equally skilled. In an interview with Jordan Kahn of, Bruno François gave an update the company’s recent activities. During the airing of the show on Friday, downloads of the app skyrocketed to 100,000 downloads, bringing in $200,000 in roughly an hour! As they are most certainly rejoicing the company's success and praising the Shark Tank effect, the developers are hard at work and will be launching a new free app called Selfie 360 where users will be able to create animated 3D and panoramic selfie shots. And now with two Sharks on board, who knows what they will put out next...but I can't wait to find out!