In 2013, Jamie Siminoff appeared on the American version of Shark Tank.
Siminoff was already successful in his own right. He had developed the company DoorBot, which made a WiFi enabled doorbell that allows you to remotely see and talk to people at your front door, via your smartphone.
When he went on the show, the startup already had a staff of eight people and was valued at $US7 million. But it was struggling.
“At that time our team was eight people, working in my garage and going out of business. While we had some sales we did not have enough to cover the massive costs that we were going to face in creating the product and company we have today,” Siminoff wrote on his blog.
The entrepreneur believed he needed an investment of $US700,000 (approx $AUD890,000) from the Shark Tank judges to take his business further. In return, he was offering a 10 per cent stake in DoorBot which would go on to be worth $1.1 billion (approx $AUD1.4 billion).
According to CNBC Make It, Siminoff invested $US10,000 (approx $AUD13,000) preparing his pitch and props for the reality TV show, and his staff worked on the pitch for a month.
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But at the end of the episode he walked away with nothing.
After delivering his pitch, the majority of the Shark Tank judges said they didn’t want invest.
Mark Cuban claimed, “It could be worth $7 million, $80 million, $90 million, [but] I just don’t see the progression, and for that reason, I’m out”.
And Kevin O’Leary made what Siminoff believed was an unacceptable offer.
But Siminoff was used to roadblocks and he didn’t let this very public rejection set him off course.
“I can’t count the number of people who didn’t invest in this, who said ‘no,’ the number of people who said it was going to fail,” Siminoff wrote. “I don’t think [Microsoft] Excel could hold the number of records for it.”
Rejected, but not willing to give up, Siminoff went away and worked on his business. In the two months after he filmed the show, he was able to raise the $US700,000 (approx $AUD890,000) himself.
Then the show aired and people flocked to the website to buy their very own DoorBot.
“We think we got at least $US5 million of additional sales through the airing of Shark Tank,” Siminoff told Business Insider.
“It just absolutely throttled our revenue, awareness in the market from every level. Everything just popped after that.”
When Siminoff changed the name of the company to Ring, it started to be stocked in some of America’s biggest retailers including Target, BestBuy and Home Depot.
Then Richard Branson invested $US28 million (approx $AUD36 million) in the business. The company was now worth $US60 million (approx $AUD76 million) and it kept going from strength to strength.
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Now Amazon has bought Ring for $US1.1 billion
It will become a part of the retailer’s Alexa product range and will play a major role in the company’s bid to dominate the home-services market and edge out their biggest competitors, Apple and Google.
And it all started in Siminoff’s garage.