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How PiperWai fished a deal from the ‘Shark Tank’

December 14, 2015 Category: FeaturedFunding

In a room on the 10th floor of the Ritz at the Bourse, Jess Edelstein and Sarah Ribner stand before an anxious crowd of 70 or so family and friends. In 20 minutes, the PiperWai founders will be on TV, pitching their natural deodorant on ABC‘s Shark Tank.

Most of the folks in the room have no idea how they fared yet.

A screen displays the number of users on PiperWai’s website. Before the episode airs, that count is at 11. At showtime, the number falls to 10.

“You come in here and say you’re unique, you’re special,” says investor Kevin O’Leary during the previews.

“We are,” Edelstein and Ribner respond. In the room at the Bourse, the room erupts — but they have to wait an additional 45 minutes before PiperWai’s pitch is televised. Seconds before that happens, the site’s user count begins to climb. When Edelstein and Ribner are seen entering the Tank to make their pitch, the count is at 10,000.

On TV, Edelstein and Ribner want $50,000 for 10 percent equity. Most of the Sharks are skeptical. O’Leary blasts them for attempting to edge into a market dominated by “behemoths who could crush me if I get on their nerves.” Mark Cuban tells them they aren’t self-aware. Robert Herjavec casts doubt on their business savvy.

That leaves Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner — and as the two battle it out for stake in the company on TV, PiperWai’s site user count surpasses 24,000.

“I think you’re natural born partners,” Corcoran says. She would like to make a deal based on the mettle of the entrepreneurs driving the business. “You haven’t wavered one bit believing in your product.”

The two decide to strike a deal with Corcoran, handing over 25 percent of PiperWai to the real estate mogul for $50,000.

The deal hasn’t been finalized yet and is still in the throws of the negotiation process. Corcoran, say Edelstein and Ribner, is still in the midst of doing her due diligence. Either way, the two have high hopes for the future.

“We think Barbara would help us grow PiperWai,” says Ribner, adding as she looks at the screen displaying numbers over 26,000, “more than she already has.”

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