Local tech entrepreneurs are eaten alive on Shark Tank premier


My Wonderful Life Shark Tank

A long and intense journey came to fruition last night when Sue Kruskopf and Nancy Bush’s big pitch for funeral planning and preparation service My Wonderful Life aired on the season premier of ABC’s Shark Tank.

Now entering a third season, Shark Tank provides a national stage of 6 million viewers for budding entrepreneurs to make their best business offer in front of ultra wealthy ‘sharks’ who negotiate with the entrepreneurs (and themselves) on making a deal in real time.   Catchy stuff.

The business-oriented reality TV show is designed to be entertaining above all else, but between the sharks and the editors, there was no Minnesota nice around to save these entrepreneurs from attack.

Their pitch starts with a show of hands for “how many of us are going to die,” followed by a demo/ego appeal to Kevin O’Leary, a shark who “is opinionated, ruthless, hungers for big deals and loves to take control—yet made his millions helping children learn how to read.”

“The death rate is going to double over the next 30 years, what a huge business opportunity that is,” Kruskopf  exclaimed. “It’s an 11 billion dollar industry, and we’re going to lead the way, so who’s going to join us,” asks Bush, seeking $100k investment in exchange for $10% of the company.

“I like the dead guy business,” O’Leary responds, “…so what’s the plan to make money?”

Bush reveals the formation of a partnership with “one of the largest insurance companies in the nation,” and 7,000 registered users, but admits that no revenue has yet been realized — an aspect which sends the sharks into a feeding frenzy.

Click here and forward to 16:15 (2nd marker) to see it all for yourself. Although Kruskopf and Bush didn’t capture the cash, they did receive some priceless gains that every startup needs: candid feedback and brand exposure. 

“We got exactly what we wanted — we aired and have no involvement from them. Our partners are very happy,” said Kruskopf.


  • http://twitter.com/casey__allen Casey Allen

    Here's what I liked: Their valuation was reasonable, they've experimented with CPA, and their service is so different that's it's pretty remarkable. That's better than 98% of startups.

    Unfortunately, except for Cuban, none of the sharks understand SaaS at all. 100k and some advice could put a huge dent in this.
    But maybe I just like the dead guy business too.

    • http://tech.mn Jeff Pesek

      Early-stage/pre-rev company valuations are never clear cut and many times arbitrary numbers. Certainly there's value, but I do wonder what they're basing this valuation on and what you are looking at to determine reasonability in this case?

      • http://twitter.com/casey__allen Casey Allen

        Valuation is always this messy thing..there's no shortcuts or formulas to turn to. The only formula that matter is this: What will the market (angel investors) bear?

        Given where they are at with the development and users I would expect a fair pre-money of between 750k and 1m, more towards the former because anything experimental has a higher burden of proving that it has staying power.

        Their biggest hurdle to REAL investors? Why they have not quit their day job yet. So far I like their monetization model.

  • http://vidtiger.com/ Chuck Olsen