Shark Tank: How Boona’s Blunder Exemplifies the Ultimate Startup Pitfall

Brett Skaloud and Jeff Feiereisen, two former Amazon engineers, seized the entrepreneurial spirit and launched a venture that would redefine the morning routine.

They established Boona, a company nestled in the heart of Seattle, which rose to popularity through its innovative offering—a $249 showerhead known as the “Tandem.” The Tandem is designed to transform ordinary showers into a dual experience aimed at couples.

With a solid social media following, thousands of satisfied customers, and an impressive projection of $5 million in annual revenue, Skaloud and Feiereisen’s brainchild was poised for success.

However, their aspirations of rapid expansion and building a diverse product portfolio led to a stumbling block on the path to securing an investment.

On an episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” they sought $400,000 for a 10% stake in their company, aspiring to grow beyond their flagship product.

Their pitch, which included plans for new product lines to complement Tandem, sparked concerns among the investors.

The duo’s vision for Boona involved branching out, but some seasoned investors saw the approach as a potential misstep. They favored a more focused strategy on perfecting and maximizing the potential of their current innovation.

A Glimpse into the Advisory Aquarium

During their appearance on a well-known business pitch show, Jeff Feiereisen and Brett Skaloud came equipped with ambitious financial forecasts for their innovative shower accessory, Boona. They anticipated a substantial leap in their annual revenue, eyeing the achievement of $1.7 million by the end of the same year, ascending to a hopeful $5 million in the subsequent twelve months.

Their efforts had already drawn the attention of a multitude of enthusiasts, with a 5,000-strong customer base and a mailing list boasting 40,000 subscribers. Their fundraising prowess was evident, with a commendable $774,000 raised through a crowdfunding campaign.

Regrettably, the duo faced early setbacks as three prominent investors quickly excused themselves from negotiations. Barbara Corcoran was clear about her disinterest, citing a lack of personal connection with the product and concerns over its effect on water pressure.

The remaining two investors, Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary, deliberated over the potential of Boona but ultimately decided against investment. Cuban highlighted the potential for the Tandem showerhead product to be a significant cash flow generator but thought an investment would not be congruent with rapid business growth. In contrast, O’Leary extended two investment offers, which he withdrew after feeling the entrepreneurs were indecisive in their responses. His withdrawal came with a sharp quip, pointing out that the entrepreneurs seemed to have ventured more into an advice dispensary than a capital investment scenario.

Despite walking away without a deal, Feiereisen remained optimistic about the venture’s future, justified by the level of interest the community showed.

Derived from the investors’ insights, Feiereisen showed enthusiasm to forge ahead with their business, adhering to the wisdom gleaned.

Snapshot of Boona’s Journey:

  • Financial Ambitions: Projected annual revenue of $1.7 million scaling to $5 million
  • Community Presence: 5,000 customers and 40,000 mailing list subscribers
  • Fundraising Success: Attracted $774,000 via crowdfunding

Funding Episode Highlights:

  • Early Dropouts: Barbara Corcoran, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner.
  • Remaining Contenders: Mark Cuban – concerned about scaling, Kevin O’Leary – rescinded offers.
  • Outcome: Departure without investment, yet with actionable advice.

Editorial Credit: waldru / Depositphotos

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