Guest Shark Richard Branson on Shark Tank

Guest Shark Richard Branson on Shark Tank

Date: December 18, 2017

 Shark Tank Season 9 Episode 10 Recap: Featuring Guest Shark Richard Branson

Sharks looking to invest: Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec and Guest Shark Richard Branson


The tank was back for another episode this past Sunday! Get your wet suits on and get ready to dive-or fly. This episode of Shark Tank featured guest shark Richard Branson. The Virgin Airlines Mogul had some great things to say about the products featured on episode 10. Read on!



Tom Burden, a U.S. Air Force F-16 weapons mechanic, presented the Grypmat tool tray. Available in 3 sizes, the Grypmat keeps tools organized and stationary on slick work surfaces. As the owner of Virgin Airlines, the product gained credibility from guest shark Richard Branson announcing that his CEO was a user!

Asking Investment Terms: $200k for 10%


Product Positioning: Although Grypmat  is an undisputed lifesaver for fighter jet mechanics (it’s even been purchased by NASA!) it definitely solves an everyday problem for garage mechanics and hobbyists.


How We Would Have Helped: As far as we’re concerned, Grypmat and Idea Buyer are a match made in product development heaven! Tom revealed his desire for guidance with navigating big box retailers-one of our specialties. Idea Buyer’s outreach specialists would identify an appropriate strategy for retail and licensing opportunities. With an end goal of a royalty or purchase orders, we would communicate with the targeted relationships for Grypmat.


Shark Tank Feedback: While Robert praised Tom’s pro-activeness, calling him “incredible” for raising and investing over $200k into Grypmat, Mark zeroed in on his weakness. advising that Mark noted Tom’s greatest challenge as building a solid team to handle the business mechanics. Daymond saw the potential product application in more areas than just aviation and mechanics.


Conclusion: Every shark wanted a bite of the Grypmat. Daymond, Robert and guest shark Richard Branson all offered up $200k for 15%.  Additionally, Lori and Mark offered a $200k partnership for 20% equity. Serving in the air force must have preprared Tom for these negotiations! Tom made a deal with Lori, Mark and guest shark Richard Branson for a remarkable $360k and 10% each. While he ended up losing more equity, he not only gained a greater financial investment, but three great partners! We’d say he’s definitely got a grip!




DNASimple landed creator Olivier Noel on the Forbes 30 under 30 list, for 2017. Created to facilitate genetic research that requires saliva samples, DNASimple surveys anonymous donors and matches them to research studies. For $50, a participant provides DNASimple with their sample. The potential to help researches find the right samples for a study could be monumental. 

Asking Investment Terms: $100k for 12.5%


Product Positioning: DNASimple has a dual appeal to both research companies and individuals looking to make easy extra money. Utilizing DNASimple can lower costs and accelerate result generation for research companies. Definitely something we look forward to seeing more from.


How We Would Have Helped: DNASimple is a fantastic idea but like so many others, it needs a solid marketing plan to convey its value. Building trust with research companies, as they are the primary audience and largest source of revenue, is essential for growth. Communication with the DNA sample providers should provide a level of trust from the company and how their DNA will be used. The marketing team at Idea Buyer would do just that by creating mindful, targeted marketing materials, with a focus social media, as a source for finding appropriate donors.


Shark Tank Feedback: In an atypical break from her normal role, Lori played devil’s advocate. She questioned the accuracy of the information being collected. Olivier assured her that each individual research company would be able to request information from users to assist in determining usability.


Conclusion: Although guest shark Richard Branson was vocal about his admiration for Oliver, his offer of $100k for 25% was rejected. Mark initially offered DNAsimple $200k for 20%. The deal settled at $200k for 15%. 


Robin Lawn Care


If you enjoy getting sweaty and exhausted from moving a lawn (or forking over cash to someone else to get sweaty and exhausted) then you probably won’t have much use for Robin, the smartest gardening tool to ever set blade on a lawn. Robin robotic lawn mowers are similar to Roomba vacuums but they cut grass instead of dusting hardwood floors. Justin and Bart from Dallas, TX use Robin robots to manicure the lawns of their lawn care service clients.

Asking Investment Terms: $500k for 5%


Product Positioning: Landscaping service (human or robotic) is definitely a luxury and for those who can afford it, what’s not to love about Robin? An environmental selling feature, Robin has no carbon emissions and the micro-clippings act as a chemical-free fertilizer. Even more, the novelty of a robot visiting to cut the grass every week is something to get excited about!


How we would have helped: Robin’s biggest expense right now is customer acquisition-and it is hemorrhaging capital. Idea Buyer has created hundreds of successful partnerships with a multitude of different business types. Using these connections to match up services with complimentary products would increase visibility in related markets, lowering acquisition costs and increasing consumer awareness.


Shark Tank Feedback & Conclusion: Unfortunately, Robin’s europe-originated technology, coupled with it’s lofty price point, makes Robin Lawn Service a little too luxurious to be a viable investment opportunity-currently. Robin’s customer acquisition costs are through the roof and those costs will likely eat through any investments before investors would see a return. The lack of ability for a timely ROI especially worried Lori and Mark. Robin did not receive a deal while in the tank. 




Sharmi Albrechtsen rounded out this episode with SmartGurlz, a hoverboard riding doll. The product and app combo intends to teach young girls about coding, in an effort to diversify a male-dominated field. The SmartGurlz app connects to the dolls hoverboard and to carry out actions programmed by the user through the app.

Asking Investment Terms: $200k for 5%


How We Would Have Helped: In less than six months, SmartGurlz has done an impressive $250k in sales, primarily through Amazon and their e-commerce website. Idea Buyer would be able to walk Sharmi through increasing her retail presence using targeted outreach strategies. The right connections could definitely trigger a substantial sales increase.


What the Sharks Said: Daymond applauded the core value behind SmartGurlz-getting young girls excited about STEM fields at an early age will hopefully encourage them to seek careers in those fields. Though the concept is admirable, Robert was concerned with declining sales of similar products like Barbie dolls. Lori predicted that companies like Mattel would be able to combine the idea with their established market presence and eclipse a fledgling company like SmartGurlz.


Conclusion: The uniqueness of the balancing algorithm employed used to make the SmartGurlz dolls stay on their hoverboards definitely impacted Sharmi’s valuation-sending it through the roof. Guest shark Richard Branson tested the product, but did not make an offer. Daymond offered Sharmi her asking price of $200k but at a larger percentage, 30%. Once the other sharks backed out, her only option was Daymond.  The mutual agreement was 25% for $200k and she had a deal-smart girl!


The products featured on Shark Tank just keep getting better and better…maybe next week someone will invent a bed making robot! Did you enjoy guest shark Richard Branson? Who was the breakout company in this episode? Given the chance, which one would you invest in? Let us know in the comments!

For more information about how Idea Buyer can help you to prepare your product for investment opportunities, like Shark Tank, Contact Us!

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