Unlike Don Corleone in the Godfather, Mark Cuban on Shark Tank sometimes can make an offer you can refuse. On CNBC’s Shark Tank, a startup called PhoneSoap that deals with the mainly neglected problem of making cellphones free of germs passed on Mark Cubans offer of $300, 000 for a 20% stake.
At first, the sharks didn’t seem overly interested in the concept. While the disgusting fact that the average cell phone has 18 times more germs than a public toilet might momentarily disturb someone enough to inspire them to buy the product, which kills cellphone germs through ultraviolet rays, shark Robert Herjavec said the average consumer is “too lazy” to spend money on the device. PhoneSoap’s founders, Wes Barnes and Dan LaPorte said they had already made $540, 000 in sales, but the sharks weren’t biting until Mark Cuban said the product could be targeted to healthcare professionals who don’t want to carry germs from the hospital back home.
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Cuban offered Barnes and LaPorte $300, 000 for 20%, but fellow shark Lori Greiner asked for 15% because she imagined generating hundreds of thousands of sales on her show. She then lowered her stake to 10%, half of Cuban’s offer, which was accepted by Barnes and LaPorte. This is what startups want nowadays: a bigger investment, but less outside control.