“Shark Tank” investor Lori Greiner often comes to the defence of entrepreneurs on the show after fellow Shark Kevin O’Leary lays into them with an aggressive insult.
But Greiner became so angry with Mark Aramli, founder of BedJet, that she pulled out of a deal due to Aramli’s behaviour.
Aramli tells Business Insider that he prepared his pitch hoping to get Greiner’s attention due to her ability to get a product to become a sensation on QVC and in retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond.
It’s a perfect example of how, whether you’re on the set of “Shark Tank” or pitching a venture capitalist, you need to listen and occasionally deviate from your rehearsed points.
Here’s how it all went down:
Aramli enters the Tank seeking $US250,000 in return for 10% of his company.
Greiner is interested in the product, a bed heating/cooling device, and wants to know more about the attention Aramli received from mattress manufacturers.
He says that his time spent as an engineer working on a space suit for NASA helped him create the product. Aramli tells us he briefly worked as an engineer for UTC Power as his first job after getting his engineering degree, and the company was contracted to work with NASA. He since spent most of his career in sales.
Aramli tells the Sharks he has a purchase order from an Australian bed manufacturer for $US1.1 million in product, and that others are interested. Greiner agrees with Aramli that pairing the BedJet with premium mattresses is the right step forward. O’Leary objects, and Aramli reacts to him. “Ignore him… Mark, if you don’t listen, I’m out,” Greiner says loudly, over the noise.
Investor Barbara Corcoran then asks a question, which Aramli promptly answers. Greiner pulls out of a deal.
She writes on Twitter, referring to the moment:
O’Leary is appalled that the product retails for $US499 when it could be cheaper, and Corcoran doesn’t like how it’s not compatible with upholstered beds, which are popular in the target premium bedding market; they’re out.
Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec both think the product is interesting and works well, but Aramli’s failure to connect with the investors hurts his chances again. Cuban needs to repeatedly ask Aramli how the BedJet works on a technical level before Aramli stops repeating his pitch and explains that it uses convection heating. Both investors say this broke their trust in Aramli, and that they wouldn’t feel comfortable investing.
Aramli stays in the Tank to ask Greiner why she pulled out of the deal. “If you valued me, you would have answered back,” she says.
Aramli apologizes and starts to pitch his company again, despite the fact that all the investors are out. O’Leary and Cuban tell him he needs to leave, and the camera dramatically pulls toward O’Leary’s searing gaze:
O’Leary told Business Insider in a separate interview that when he becomes angry with an entrepreneur, it’s because “there’s nothing worse than arrogance with ignorance — it’s horrific. I actually don’t care if you’re arrogant, as long as you know what you’re doing and you know what you’re talking about.”
Aramli says he didn’t ignore Greiner deliberately and that he felt badly. “What you don’t see behind the editing is that taking the Sharks’ questions is like being the president at a press conference,” he says. “Questions are firing off from every direction, all the same time and even the Sharks themselves are talking over each other — it’s a very noisy, fast paced Q&A.”
He adds that, “By definition the Sharks are investors with large egos and I think hers was hurt by not getting my attention quickly during all the noise. I’ve learned a long time ago when you let your ego get in the way of business, you tend to make bad decisions.”
BedJet will be available on Mattress Firm’s website in March, and Aramli says the product will also be in Bed Bath & Beyond, Jordan’s Furniture, and Brookstone.
He says that despite having one of the most controversial pitches of season six, he is “on track to be the Shark Tank loser that is laughing all the way to the bank.”
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