Robert Herjavec and Bethenny Frankel Battle for Adventure Hunt

Adventure-Hunt-shark-tank

Guest Shark Bethenny Frankel appeared on Season 10, Episode 10 to fight an usual uphill battle against male competitors in the hopes of landing a deal with experiential contest company Adventure Hunt.

Founded by brothers Jared and Sean Bingham, Adventure Hunt is a Utah-based, “modern-day treasure hunt” game that allows as many as 300 players to compete at once. The premise is simple: to find a literal treasure box—stuffed with many goods alongside the grand prize of a free trip to “paradise.”

To find the treasure box, players will team up as a group of two to four people to complete 15 tasks out of a list of 50 as quickly as possible, uploading a footage of themselves completing each task onto the game’s app, allowing the administrators to approve the player’s progress in real time and unlock clues that lead them closer to the treasure box.

To participate in the game, players will have the option of choosing from three price points—the lowest being $32 and highest being $99—with the prices reflecting the differences in the rewards ultimately found in the treasure boxes. In the past, the Binghams have achieved $769 thousand in sales over a period of 18 months since the company’s founding. Today, the brothers are asking for $150k in exchange for 10% of the company’s equity.

“Can you imagine the thrill of digging up an actual buried treasure chest?” asked Jared.

“Adventure Hunt sends you off in teams of two to four people on the adventure of a life time, an exhilarating, adrenaline-packed ride we promise you will never forget,” Sean added. “You will complete both gut-bustingly funny and adventurous challenges that unlock a real life treasure map on our Adventure Hunt app. From there, you put your mind and will to the test as you solve the clues that guide you to the buried booty.”

“With Shark mentorship, expertise, and capital, we can turn this treasure of a company into something Captain Jack himself would envy,” said Jared, unable to resist the guilty pleasure of using the low-hanging—but still well-anticipated—fruit of pirate-related puns.

After laying out the premise of the game, the brothers brought in two past participants to demonstrate a few activities players might be asked to complete. The intensity of the activities varied significantly: starting from the more tamed, traditional outdoor activity of walking on a slackline, the app progressed swiftly to ask the players to upload a footage of themselves giving a wedgy to one another. Undaunted by the challenge, one of the past participants half-squatted heroically in front of his partner while extending one arm with an iPhone in an attempt to record this moment. A brief moment of silence flew by, ensued by his painful, elongated gasp and the Sharks’ collective, sharp—and exuberant—inhale.

The camera, quite humorously, zoomed into a close-up of Mark Cuban’s face—a face exhibiting the full range of human emotions of incredulity, horror, and intrigue that epitomized in this moment.

adventure-hint-bethenny-frankel-shark-tank

Laughter aside, the negotiation that ensued demonstrated the Sharks’ enthusiasm for this business. After hearing the about Adventure Hunt’s $769 thousand in sales over the past 18 months, Frankel, the Guest Shark of this episode, jumped in first, asking a technical question about how exactly a customer, chancing upon the company’s advertisement on the Internet, can get involved in the game. The Bingham brothers’ response—that their online advertisements direct customers to a registration portal on their website—led Frankel to identify that heavy marketing would be the most helpful next step to expand Adventure Hunt’s business.

“Honestly, the biggest thing we need,” Jared conceded, “Is a marketing expert who can come in and help us see what we’re missing.”

“I know what you’re missing,” Frankel immediately followed up. “You need this to be a travel experience—you need to make everything more thematic, and not just geared toward gearhead adventure guys. You need wild girls-night-out type of things.”

“Well, I’m going to make an offer,” she added. “$150 thousand dollars for 25% with a couple of conditions. So many people are afraid to try new things, challenges, so as part of this you make some of the tasks be like ‘send us a video of you doing something you’ve never done before’. And add [an element of] team building, because you’re missing out a whole lot on corporates.”

The expertise that Frankel offered is evident, spot-on, and precise—so precise that Robert Herjavec, exclaiming “Yes, I love the corporate idea,” decided to match the offer himself: with the exact terms that Frankel proposed, piggy-backing off of identical ideas that Frankel outlined.

“I see a huge business in the enterprise space with team-building” Herjavec said, “I love it! I love you guys!”

Faced with identical offers, the Bingham brothers asked if either Sharks would consider revising their terms.

“I’ll go down to 20%. But right now, no more BS,” said Frankel immediately, deviating from her usual poise, with her voice soaring to a high pitch. “He copied me! He’s a copycat already!”

shark-tank-adventure-hunt

As if to further a good-natured joke, Herjavec again matched Frankel’s new terms.

Stuck with the same situation, Sean asked if the sharks would be willing to partner together. Immediately, Herjavec rejected the idea—without making eye contact with Frankel, without attempting to gauge her opinion, and without supplying a reason to justify his rationale. The almost abrupt “no” that Herjavec blurted out resulted in an uncomfortable silence that led to Frankel saying, at one point, “I wouldn’t want to partner with someone who doesn’t know my values.” With no more time for further negotiation, however, the Bingham brothers solidified a deal with Herjavec.

Granted, it is hard to pinpoint the deciding factor that swayed the founders’ decision. But with more female investors in the Tank this season than ever before, the show provides a new window of opportunity for viewers to observe the interesting dynamics that take place between the male and female sharks. And seeing both sides of the good-natured and at-times charged gender dynamic that unfolded in this episode definitely adds a layer of complexity, as the venture capital industry is known to be dominated by males, with only 7.4% of investors being female, according to an article published by Forbes.

The glass ceiling that female investors face remains daunting, but there are high-achieving female investors precisely like Frankel who are fighting uphill battles in order to pave the way for change, innovation, and greater gender equality. The ending words that Frankel left were resounding.

“I have an army of women,” said Frankel. “And when you get the women, you get the business. I was a girl, broke, and I had an idea for the first low-calorie margarita ever to be made. I turned the brand in 18 months—broke, in a studio—to the cover of Forbes Magazine. Who do you want as a partner?”