Pooch Selfie and Putting It All Out There
Episode 16 of Season 10 of Shark Tank saw a new wave of entrepreneurs pitch their businesses in exchange for equity and the financial backing of one of the Sharks. This episode’s guest Shark was Matt Higgins, Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins. This episode was a great reminder for entrepreneurs, that sometimes when pursuing a dream you have to put everything on the line, and that’s exactly what Jason Hernandez of Pooch Selfie did.
Jason introduced Pooch Selfie to the tank asking for $100,000 in exchange for 20% equity in his company. He boasted of $380,000 in sales from 25,000 units of his product, which the Sharks thought was commendable.
Pooch Selfie, is an accessory for smartphones that helps people get the perfect selfie with their pet. Jason came up with the idea when he found it difficult to take pictures with his own pets. It consists of a squeaky ball designed to draw on a dog’s natural attraction to a ball to distract them, so owners can capture the perfect selfie. To use Pooch Selfie, someone simply attaches the accessory to their smartphone. Pooch Selfie can also be used to capture portraits of dogs as well.
Jason is seeking the $100,000 to redesign not only to redesign Pooch Selfie and make it compatible with more smartphones but to redesign the packaging of Pooch Selfie as well, and to make a follow-up product that is the same thing as Pooch Selfie, except for a ball the new product will hold a treat.
Jason had a well-rehearsed speech complete with his own personal selfies, selfies from satisfied customers, and handed out a sample for each of the Sharks to examine. Then the nerves started to kick in for Jason when the Sharks were asking him questions about his manufacturing prices.
He then went on to explain how he approached retailers and managed to get into his dream retailer Bed Bath & Beyond, and that one of the main problems he faces is that compared to other dog products on shelves, Pooch Selfie needs some customer education, so potential costumers know how to use the product.
After answering more business questions related to debt and personal investments, Jason revealed that he doesn’t devote 100% of his time to Pooch Selfies. He is an electronic salesman during the day in order to support his family. That’s where things took a bit of a downward spiral, as the Sharks were confused as to why Jason didn’t devote all of his time to Pooch Selfie and retain all of his company instead of getting an investor that he would have to report to.
Then, Jason put it all out there. He explained that he dedicated a lot of his life to Pooch Selfie, and got emotional explaining how hard it is to see knockoffs of his products come up and explain that he’s trying to protect Pooch Selfie as well as grow it, something that resonated with Lori from her early business days. That he made Pooch Selfie out of love for his dog and wants other dog owners to have a product that helps them express their love for their dogs. Despite receiving mixed criticism Jason persevered and continued to pursue his entrepreneurial dreams.
Despite his proven passion and pride for Pooch Selfie, the Sharks weren’t that moved, except for one. Daymond John’s dog Spartan recently died, and Daymond John never took any selfies with him; he could never get Spartan to look. Touched by his passion for his product and love for dogs, Daymond offered Jason $100,000 for 33.3% equity in Pooch Selfie. Jason took the deal and was ecstatic to have Daymond’s backing for Pooch Selfie.
Jason took a risk by leaning away from his presented presentation, and allowing his emotions to come through, but it worked because he was able to relate to one of the Shark’s on a personal level and get a deal. Jason’s can remind us that sometimes when you have a dream, you have to put it all out there.