What Does a Visitor Shark on ‘Shark Tank’ Look For in a Startup? 4 Phrases

Many entrepreneurs hope to appear on Shark Tank. A few actually make it.

Even fewer are invited to be guest sharks: people like Sara Blakely, Richard Branson, Troy Carter.

And KIND Snacks founder Daniel Lubetzky, who is performing for the second time in a row. (And its “and” instead of “or” perspective is one I’m trying to emulate.)

Aside from the fact that he’s been invited, why did Lubetzky choose to appear on Shark Tank last season?

“Long before I was invited,” says Lubetzky, “I was watching with my kids and I’m still watching. It’s entertaining, informative, gives advice … and celebrates the entrepreneurial experience that is very important to our culture.”

Why come back for a second season? These reasons and the challenge. “It’s incredibly stimulating and challenging. You are bombarded with information from people you have never met. They tell their story, sharks come up to them and towards you. You have to read between the lines and make quick decisions. This year.” It took me days to decompress and digest what had happened. “

For Lubetzky, the show is all about the experience and the opportunity – that’s what entrepreneurs hoping to attract investment are about.

What is Lubetzky looking for in a Shark Tank place?

“First and foremost,” he says, “it’s the person and the idea, not the business. You will work with them, support them. Do they have integrity? Can you trust them? Are they hardworking, creative, and resourceful?” For me, it’s all about integrity, work ethic, and resilience. “

Then and only then does Lubetzky look at the product: whether it is popular with consumers. Whether there is a market. Whether it has a unique selling proposition. Whether it is really differentiated and really solves a need or a pain point.

Even then, Lubetzky could not decide to invest. “If a person brings something that I can’t contribute to, that could be a disqualifier. I generally don’t invest in areas where I don’t feel I have sufficient experience and mastery.”

Then he adds with a laugh: “Although sometimes I’ll make an effort if I love the person and the idea.”

An example from this season: FitFighter and its SteelHose system. FitFighter was originally founded by Sarah Apgar to train firefighters (she is a military veteran and volunteer firefighter). A SteelHose is a fire hose filled with metal shot which can then be used as a barbell / dumbbell / kettlebell for physical training.

Lubetzky says he was initially drawn to Apgar’s energy and presence. “She just filled the room,” says Lubetzky. “She had an incredible command of the space. We were all in awe. Your presentation was simply one of the best.”

Lubetzky also liked the product. According to him, they are much more malleable than standard weights and easier to use and control.

Lubetzky was also impressed with their resilience. “That was a key trait of her,” he says, “probably the key trait. She’s an incredible high-flyer in a way that I love: serving the community and other people. She’s not just offering a product. She’s teaching a Mindset, a discipline. It embodies resilience and discipline and always does its best … and does it for a greater purpose. ”

As you will see at the beginning of Season 12, Lubetzky became an investor.

He “stole” one from Kevin O’Leary. Here’s a funny little story: “As far as I can remember, I was the only one who bid,” says Lubetzky. “And after filming, some sharks take the presented products and let their friends and family run them. ‘Mr. Wonderful’ [O’Leary] said FitFighter was the winner among the products he showed people. Later he came to me and said, “Wow. I missed that. ‘”

If you are an entrepreneur, the chances that you will showcase your product and business on Shark Tank are very slim.

But if one day you hope to attract investors – or partners, or even employees – Lubetzky’s perspective is still valuable.

Integrity is important. Work ethic is important. Resilience – the ability to overcome challenges, stay on course despite adversity, and be the last person to give up on yourself – is important.

Show people that you have these qualities and that they are much more likely to want to work with you.

After all, this is how Lubetzky turned KIND into a company with over $ 3 billion in sales. And are a foundation on which the most successful startups have been built.

The opinions expressed by Inc.com columnists here are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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