May 14, 2014
At the beginning of the month, we saw yet another familiar startup face on ABC’s Shark Tank. John Tabis of The Bouqs, a Los Angeles-based flower company, walked in front of the Sharks, gave it his all, and asked for $258,000 in exchange for a 3 percent stake of his business.
Tabis has identified the major pain points in the online floral industry, namely bait-and-switch photos, cheesy up-sells, and bad flowers. The Bouqs, on the other hand, ships straight from an eco-friendly farm and provides healthy, strong flowers that can last up to three weeks in your home.
The Bouqs had launched about 11 months before filming, which took place last summer, and had done around $700,000 in sales. Additionally, they raised $1.1 million in a seed funding round right before stepping into the Shark Tank.
It sounds good on paper, but Mark Cuban wanted no part of it; he likes to be the sole investor versus one among many. Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec both backed down because they thought the competitor advantage was weak and unsustainable.
It fell to Barabra Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary, but they also felt like something was off. For Corcoran, the name of the company wasn’t right: she thought it was flat-out bad. O’Leary didn’t last much longer himself and ultimately closed the door on The Bouqs.
And so it was that Tabis walked out of the room with no funding from any of the Sharks. However, all was not lost because The Bouqs was able to take on an additional $600,000 investment from private parties after appearing on the show.
To date, The Bouqs has raised a total of $1.7 million without the aid of the Sharks. They’ve also been approached by countless others who think they have a dynamite business model, and Tabis won’t step down anytime soon.
“Before I was ever on the program, I thought it was an entertaining show,” says Tabis. “Having been on it now, for me personally, it’s a great platform for getting people to know about your brand.”
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