When Beatbox Beverages stepped into the Shark Tank in 2014, they might not have expected to walk out with $1 million investment. The Austin, Texas, company makes a boxed fruity wine aimed at millennials, and they were asking for a mere $250,000 for 10 percent of the company. After a bit of a shark scuffle, with each member of the panel expressing interest in Beatbox, the upstart entrepreneurs left with a $1 million promise from Mark Cuban in exchange for one-third of the company.
Since the investment, things haven’t been without some bumps in the road for Beatbox. Shark Tank viewers will get an update on Tuesday night’s Beyond the Tank, but members of the Beatbox team have already discussed their expansion with media outlets in the past couple of months.
Interestingly, they were able to take only limited advantage of the “Shark Tank effect,” where entrepreneurs usually have a boost in sales after their episode airs. AustinInno reported that, as an alcohol product, Beatbox was at the time limited to sales in about 100 Texas stores and online to certain states.
— Beyond The Tank (@BeyondTheTankTV) March 21, 2016
Once their licensing issues were worked out, Beatbox was able to use Cuban’s significant investment to get its product to more consumers. According to the September, 2015, AustinInno article, Beatbox is on the shelves in 750 stores in 18 states.
But that isn’t the end of the story, as Cuban will push the company to expand its market share on this installment of Beyond the Tank. The television crew shot for 20 hours and followed the Beatbox team for three days — CEO Justin Fenchel said Cuban’s advice was to treat their meeting like any other business transaction and forget about the cameras.
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Also in September, Fenchel told Heavy that Mark Cuban is a hands-on investor and advisor to the Beatbox team.
“Mark is super involved. We’ve met face-to-face three times this year to go over strategy, and we talk via email or cyberdust at least once a week. He cares a lot about seeing us succeed and grow and most importantly keeps us focused!”
Cuban was not shy about giving the team advice, however. An article in Inc. revealed that Cuban did not like Beatbox’s original promotional strategy of adding new flavors and going to tailgating parties across the country. He urged them to wait before adding SKUs and to hire brand ambassadors instead of personally hitting the road.
Heavy reported that the company has now added a smaller box and new flavors to its product line. Co-founder Brad Schultz told Inc. the company is aware that eyes are on them to succeed, especially given their Shark Tank experience.
“You don’t want to be the company that got $1 million and didn’t do anything with it. It’s an added level of expectations.”
Fenchel’s advice to future Shark Tank entrepreneurs was to “over-prepare” by watching old episodes and getting to know each shark’s quirks and preferred investments.
“Watch every episode. If it’s an episode that relates to your business, watch it multiple times. Learn the Sharks’ patterns, stalk them. Go to their personal websites and learn about all the companies they invested in and why. When it comes to your pitch, record yourself and answer every question you think you might get out loud and review it. There is always more to be prepared for!”
It is a strategy that obviously worked for Beatbox, which went into the Shark Tank with $235,000 in sales over 14 months. Although every shark was eventually interested in Beatbox, Kevin O’Leary initially spat out the beverage while using an expletive.
Beyond the Tank airs Tuesday night at 10 pm on ABC. Shark Tank airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. on the same network.
[Photo by Steve Jennings/Getty Images]