[Warning: The following post contains spoilers from the all-new episode of Shark Tank airing Sunday night on ABC.]
When Robbie Cabral entered the Shark Tank with Benjilock, he knew he had something of value. According to Cabral’s own LinkedIn profile, the product has won numerous innovation awards this year. So it was probably not a surprise that he was well-received by the panel from the moment he set foot on the carpet.
Benjilock is a padlock that you open via fingerprint — no more combinations to remember or keys to keep on-hand. According to an Engadget review from January, the product will store up to four fingerprints and, yes, it does come with keys, just in case someone tries to break in. Too many incorrect tries and the lock wipes out the stored data, including the fingerprints.
Cabral had his own interesting story. He became an entrepreneur as a young father who’d lost his job the day his child was born. An immigrant to the United States from the Dominican Republic, he holds a degree in advertising.
That’s where Cabral’s pitch became a bit unusual. Although new Shark Tank episodes now air Sundays on the American network ABC, Canada’s CTV network still broadcasts the show in its old Friday night timeslot. That means Canadian Shark Tank fans were the first to see the unexpected, but somehow immensely satisfying, end to Cabral’s pitch.
Of the five sharks, only Mark Cuban did not offer Cabral a deal, saying Benjilock was not technology of the kind he’s interested in. Lori Greiner offered to invest the $200,000 the entrepreneur was seeking for 15 percent of the company. Barbara Corcoran said she would put up half, $100,000, for 10 percent, if Cabral could find another investor to kick in the remaining funds. As Shark Tank viewers are well aware, it’s against the rules of the Tank for a deal to be made for less than the dollar amount the entrepreneur is looking for.
Kevin O’Leary said he’d also do the deal for 15 percent, stating his intention to license the product and make sure it gets made and is not “buried” by a company who might otherwise purchase a license and then fail to offer distribution. Purchasing and burying a license is one way, according to the shark, that brands decide to control the competition.
Alex Rodriguez, the episode’s guest shark, pointed to the fact that he and Cabral shared some commonalities in their backgrounds. The former baseball player spent some of his childhood years in the Dominican Republic, according to Biography. He started to speak to Cabral in Spanish, saying that he would do the deal with Barbara for a total of $200,000 for 20 percent of the company.
That’s when Lori Greiner jumped in with some Spanish of her own, showing that Rodriguez was not the only bilingual member of the panel. O’Leary threw in some French for good measure.
Cabral seemed visibly pained at the decision before making the choice that few probably expected him to make. Faced with the options of Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran and Alex Rodriguez, and Kevin O’Leary, Cabral chose O’Leary. In his post-pitch interview, he said he’d been impressed with O’Leary’s intention to license and promote the product.
Fans of Shark Tank know this doesn’t happen very often. It’s true that O’Leary often throws out an offer, but entrepreneurs don’t always bite. The Inquisitr reported in May 2015, that O’Leary was tied with Greiner as the shark most likely to offer a deal, doing so 31 percent of the time. Unlike the other sharks, however, the O’Leary of the past was a fan of the royalty deal more than equity relationships, which did not always interest entrepreneurs.
Not so this time.
An all-new episode of Shark Tank airs Sunday night on ABC.
[Featured Image by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images]