I had the opportunity to speak with Scott Jordan, the Technology Enabled Clothing entrepreneur who appeared on last Friday's Shark Tank. This is the third in a series of three posts based on that discussion.
One thing he agreed with is the publicity power of appearing on the Shark Tank. Every entrepreneur who appears on the show, whether they get funded or not, sees their business bounce. More than six million people watch the show and the entrepreneurs know it's great exposure. Jordan said “you'd be a fool not to want maximum exposure.” Whether Scott was there for strict PR or not, he still wants to fund the licensing portion of his business and I believe he'll be successful.
As for the greed factor he's been accused of, there is certainly no shortage of greed in the shark tank. In the sharks, it's viewed as virtuous, for Jordan it was not. Greed aside, Jordan couldn't include ScotteVest in any deal. He has a Board of Directors to answer to and can't just sell off bits of the company willy nilly. The TEC patent is all his, so that's what he was able to sell. This is similar to the conundrum Jared Joyce found himself in with his 5 minute furniture- he couldn't sell off any more of the business than his Board of Director's had approved. This gets into the contractual trickiness of the Sharks' deals. Any deal that is struck between the sharks and an entrepreneur results in Mark Burnett Productions getting a cut of the action. Neither Jared nor Scott would tell me, but I got the sense from how they were dancing around the issue that Burnett gets a piece of any offers as well and when an entrepreneur starts negotiating with portions or percentages of a business not originally “on the table,” it is sufficient enough for Burnett to take his contractual cut. It makes for delicate negotiations, to be sure. This is a big reason why Mr. Jordan never mentioned ScotteVest by name.
Editing is another thing viewers can overlook when absorbing the totality of the presentations. Each entrepreneur is with the sharks for about two hours. The sharks have no idea who is going to walk through the door or what product they'll be pitching. Every single entrepreneur I have interviewed has said the sharks are all very nice, personable and helpful off camera. The sharks are certainly playing a part, but so are the entrepreneurs. Unfortunately for the entrepreneurs, they don't have editorial control. Robert Herjavec actually tried on the vest, which was not shown. He shook all the sharks' hands, though Herjavec gave him some “attitude.” He even claims Daymond John called him “brilliant.” That stuff stayed on the proverbial cutting room floor.
Scott is still a bit upset because he feels the sharks “dissed” him, but that's show biz! The long and short of it is TEC isn't going away. It's going to continue to grow as a licensed product and the continued success of the ScotteVest line will probably end up funding a lot of that growth. If you've ever seen these things, they are very cool. Loading up a ScotteVest with your gadgets is an efficient way to transport and store everything. It even speeds up airport security- just take off the vest and put it in the bin. While Scott Jordan didn't get a deal, I wouldn't cry for him. The business is sound and profitable and will make him very rich. Like him or not, he aint no patent troll; in fact he'd probably make a pretty good shark.