- Wombi Rose, a cofounder of Lovepop, successfully earned an investment deal on “Shark Tank” in 2015.
- He spoke with Business Insider about how he and his business partner prepared for their big pitch, and his advice is relevant for any budding entrepreneur.
- He said that knowing the financial details of his company inside and out was most important.
In the nine years “Shark Tank” has been on the air, we’ve seen hundreds of hopeful entrepreneurs pitch their ideas in front of a panel of celebrity investors, only for a fraction to actually land a coveted business deal.
Wombi Rose and John Wise did exactly that on a 2015 episode of “Shark Tank” when they persuaded O’Leary to invest in their company, Lovepop, which makes pop-up greeting cards. Three years later, Lovepop has mushroomed from six employees to more than 1,000 worldwide.
Rose recently told Business Insider how he and his business partner prepared for “Shark Tank,” and his advice is relevant for anyone preparing for a big pitch.
“We probably watched almost every episode of ‘Shark Tank’ in preparing. I think it’s a really good way to understand what kinds of questions we would be asked and how we needed to prepare,” Rose said.
“We made sure that we knew who was going to answer which questions so that we wouldn’t be nervous in the moment, trying to come up with answers – we had already thought about what we were going to be asked.”
Rose said he and Wise noticed that in previous episodes, entrepreneurs often got tripped up on financial questions on details like their company’s profit margins or growth projections.
“I was surprised by how many very good business-related questions we were getting and just how deeply they dove into the numbers of everything in the business,” Rose said. “We knew we had to be really solid on our financials, but I was really surprised by how much they probed and how deep they dug, and how we essentially had to give them every line of our financial model throughout the course of filming.”
Still, despite the hard work, nothing could prepare Rose for the real thing.
“In terms of the intimidation, you’ve seen the show so many times, and then you’re standing in front of those doors before they open, and I think it was probably one of the most nerve-racking moments of our lives, that anticipation,” Rose said. “But once we got started telling our story you kind of forget about all the cameras and the lights, and you’re just into pitching mode.
“At that point you’re just telling a story you know really well because it’s everything we’ve been doing for the last year and a half.”
Their preparation paid off: Both O’Leary and Robert Herjavec made offers to invest $300,000 in Lovepop for a 15% share of the company, with O’Leary getting the nod in part because of their shared Boston connections. Thanks to O’Leary’s investment, Lovepop says its sales have surged to more than $8 million from $300,000.
Rose offered one piece of advice for entrepreneurs trying to score a deal on “Shark Tank” or anywhere else.
“Make sure what you’re doing is what you love,” he said. “If you’re taking someone’s money to go build a company, you want to make sure it’s something you’re personally passionate about, because you’re going to be doing it for a long time.”