Saturday, January 09, 2010

[Updated] Nashvillian on 'Shark Tank' gets gentler rebuff

[Updated Jan. 9, 9:42 a.m.] Franklin resident Andy Sperry's (left) taped appearance last night on ABC's In the Shark Tank had many waiting in anticipation of seeing Sperry treated roughly. Sperry was offering 20 percent of his Inkflip seed company for $150K. Inkflip offers consumers replacement inkjet cartridges via continual-recycling mail delivery, a la Netflix. The sometimes ham-handed Sharks were, it turned out, pretty gentle in telling Sperry he'd failed bigtime in not bringing with him the cost of acquiring each new Inkflip customer. They said that was a deal-killer, and they were quickly "all out." Episode 12 with Andy is here. There was a poignant moment when Andy explained he had not yet tested scaled-up marketing, because he and his family had invested $50K and couldn't realistically sink more money in it, without help. That may have tempered the panelists' tone. Andy taped the Shark episode last summer, for airing Jan. 8. Andy told VNC yesterday morning he has about 300 customers and needs "in the neighborhood" of 3,000 to be at a real breakeven point. In 2009, another Tennessean, Jeff Cohen, took his foldup guitar to the Shark Tank. The product, Voyage-Air Guitar, has a rockin' website here. HT: NBJ Jan. 8.

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