"Shark Tank SA" means business

Shark Tank SA 2fSome entrepreneurs are set to fly, while others, in the true business world, will be false starters.

This was evident on the second episode of M-Net and Telkom SA’s rollercoaster reality show “Shark Tank South Africa”, as tough tech tycoon Vinny Lingham (pictured left) gutted three overly ambitious business plans before soft-spoken young mum Sarah Jeffreys (33) from Kempton Park melted his heart.

Vinny delved deep into his own pocket to invest in “Comfy Mummy Nursery Feeding Chairs”, the furniture line that she’s currently manufacturing in her father-in-law’s shop fitting factory. The deal was sealed with plenty of tears.

After Vinny’s fellow Sharks Gil Oved, Romeo Kumalo, Dawn Nathan-Jones and Marnus Broodryk (pictured right) complimented Sarah’s passion, drive and superb presentation, they all declined the proposal, prompting Sarah to give it one final go. She explained to Vinny in detail what her thought processes were, how willing she was to learn and illustrated how difficult it is for unexperienced entrepreneurs to make the right calls without proper guidance. Her heartfelt plea not only reeled Vinny in; it also made tears well up in Dawn, Gil and Marnus’ eyes.

While Sarah walked off with an investment of R400 000 in exchange for 30% equity in her business, seasoned business man Nelis Retief (44), rugby coach Reinhardt van Niekerk (38) and 3D design team Fabian Arends (27) and Carl Adams (30) left the pressure-cooker “Shark Tank” empty handed.

Nelis wanted a whopping R48 million to take tourists deep into the ocean to view South African marine life, coral, shipwrecks and sites that have until now only been reserved for the select few scuba divers in a 48-seater submarine. When the Sharks heard that it was a refurbished 19-year old vessel, however, and that no location has been tied down yet, his business plan sunk to the bottom of the ocean. Romeo, who is usually keen on investing in tourism, called it “a big, hairy, audacious concept”, Dawn and Vinny made it clear that they prefer light-asset investments and Gil only wanted to be on board once the submarine was in the water and functioning.

Committed rugby coach Reinhardt van Niekerk from Mpumalanga was ready to scrum the Sharks into the vision of a lifetime.  In what Gil called a “tour de force” presentation, he proclaimed that his social rugby career website “Rugby Tool” would connect and change rugby lives.

“It’s all a numbers game. Boom!” he explained, but when the Sharks started crunching the figures, they came to the conclusion that Reinhardt would not be the Mark Zuckerberg of the rugby world.

Gil was confused about whether he was selling an app or a website, Dawn was equally concerned that there was nothing tangible to invest in and Vinny, who has put money into more than 50 tech start-ups, told him outright that he was doing it all wrong and advised him to go back to the world of rugby as he would lose a lot of money in tech. Marnus loved his attitude, but when it came to the final decision he thought it best to rather drop the ball.

The Sharks also rejected a possible investment in ‘4D Pro Design’, the fledgling enterprise of architect Carl Adams and his suave business partner Fabian Arends. They all believed that the two young men did not have a viable business yet and that consultancies are not investable opportunities. Marnus gave them some solid advice and explained that they’re making a common mistake amongst young entrepreneurs. One can’t expect an investment based on an idea or concept only. You need the necessary traction and clientele.

This episode followed the premiere one were Gil Oved was the first Shark to clinch a deal in Shark Tank South Africa.

In the premiere episode of M-Net and Telkom SA’s new reality television show, Shark Tank South Africa, Vusi Ravele (29) became the first entrepreneur to benefit from a lucrative investment.

When Vusi passionately pitched his business Native Décor in the tank, the five Sharks - business tycoons who are willing to dig deep into their own pockets to support budding businesses - all circled in to take the bait.

However, it was Gil who wanted a 50% partnership and R400 000 he could provide mentorship, channel distribution and marketing and help him to turn into an exceptionally wealthy individual, who came out topsl. He would also sweeten Vusi’s expansion plans and cash flow with a longstanding credit loan of R3 million.

He bought into Vusi Ravele' (29) Native décor company. Vusi, who designs and creates unique and trendy, yet functional, proudly South African home and décor items and then sells them online, wanted R400 000 in exchange for a 25% equity stake in Native Décor. 

Ready to swim with the big fish, but not willing to give away half of his business, Vusi made Gil a counter offer – 40% for R400 000 – which sealed the first business deal in the history of Shark Tank South Africa.

To find out more about the businesses, especially if you’re interested in supporting them with an order or purchase, go to www.mnet.tv/sharktank or follow the conversation about the show on Twitter @MNetSharkTank with the hashtag #SharkTankSA.

Shark Tank SA, sponsored by Telkom SA, is screened on Sundays between 18:00 and 19:00 on M-Net 101. This corresponds with the timeslot on a Sunday when all DStv customers can get a taste of what’s available on M-Net 101, so if you’re not a DStv Premium customer, you can also go to channel 101 to watch Shark Tank SA. The series will also be available on DStv Catch Up and streamed live on DStv Now.