As the “Queen of QVC” and someone with connections to some of America’s biggest retailers, Lori Greiner has a knack for turning her “Shark Tank” investments into sensations.
Judging from the immediate reaction to the latest deal she made in season six, she’s got another hit with stuffed, bite-sized bagel company Bantam Bagels.
Husband-and-wife team Nick and Elyse Oleksak come into the tank looking for a $US275,000 investment for an 11% stake in their company, which they developed in 2012 and launched the next year.
Elyse quit a job at Morgan Stanley to dedicate herself full time to Bantam, and Nick says he plans on leaving his job as a credit broker at GFI Group when his baby is born. While their careers have allowed them to build up a comfortable level of savings, they have had enough of Wall Street and want to make a deal so that they can commercialize Bantam on a much larger scale and commit fully to it.
Since 2013, the couple says, the company has made $US200,000 in sales from its Manhattan retail location and its appearances on QVC. The latter has been great for building their brand, but because they lack a commercial bakery, they have been unable to crank out enough to make the home shopping network a very profitable outlet.
Investors Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec think the Oleksaks are sitting on a company with huge potential but one that requires too much effort. They don’t make an offer.
Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary are both interested in helping steer the ship, at a high price — they will give the Oleksaks the $US275,000 they’re looking for but for 51% and 50%, respectively. Either deal would be especially heavy blows to the couple, since they have already given 23% of Bantam equity to other investors.
Greiner jumps in and says she’s a much better bet and only wants 30% in exchange for the same dollar amount.
The cofounders first tell Corcoran her deal is too big an ask and see if she’d be willing to go in for 25%; she says she’ll settle for 30%. Greiner then says she’ll go down to 25% but only if the Oleksaks immediately agree, no questions asked — which they happily do.
Following the Jan. 9 television premiere of the show, thousands of “Shark Tank” fans rushed to order the cream cheese-stuffed mini bagels from Bantam’s website. Greiner took to Twitter to announce that even though the site’s servers couldn’t handle the rush of traffic, the Bantam team would be checking its email inbox to make sure everyone’s orders went through. The next morning, she tweeted a photo of Bantam’s retail location and how happy she was to see it so busy.
She left her followers with a note that suggests she made the right move by aggressively moving in on and closing the deal:
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