Shark Tank: MONEY or visibility?

For us it was a no-brainer: we wanted visibility on national TV. Of course, we were just about to start our equity-based crowdfunding campaign and would’ve been happy to have the Sharks joining. But only – and I mean it – with the same valuation and under the same conditions as any other of the future 174 owners back then. We understood this was the biggest obstacle for us in the Shark Tank.

It is kind of shame that the concept doesn’t work as well as it could.

And yes, we were pitching our company last May for the Sharks/Lions. The TV show is called Leijonan Luola Finland. The concept is known under the names “Dragon’s Den”, “Shark Tank”, “Lion’s Den” and probably many others. The episode was aired on 7th March 2018, 9 months after shooting it.

shark tank blogi

It is kind of shame that the concept doesn’t work as well as it could. Many entrepreneurs go to the Tank just to get the visibility, rather than investments. And the deals that ARE being made, come with low valuations. In an ideal situation, of course, lower valuation would work because the angel investor/s would bring ‘something else’ to the table, such as knowledge, contacts or a possibility for further funding. The latter of these was the goal for at least one of the companies I was talking to while shooting the episodes, although the publicity was also very interesting for them.

We spent some time considering which of the Sharks we would need and what is it we’d be willing to “pay” for that. We concluded, that only a few of them would actually benefit us. But not enough to make us come up with a lower valuation deal. Or have us changing the plan of crowdfunding the capital from our future customers and co-operation partners, the community.

We concluded, that only a few of them would actually benefit us.

Basically, what we needed to decide was 1) whether to make a deal in the Tank and thus “succeed in the TV-program” or 2) to walk out only with the publicity benefits. At the same time, we were a bit afraid if the appearance would bring us positive or negative publicity. This was since in this concept you are heavily outnumbered and at a mercy of the Lions (and later at a mercy of the editing team). You simply cannot control the end result much. We took our chances. We only saw the episode later from pay-tv 2-3 months before the TV show was aired. It gave us enough time to prepare for the campaign.

However, I believe that Sharks would bring valuable help to many entrepreneurs. Tailored skills, know-how and capital combined with visibility and nice product will – for sure – bring awesome added value. It remains to be seen whether these combinations were found during this season. Probably it was.

It should also be noted that at the time when this was filmed – at the end of May 2017 – our firm was still very early stage in its development. The team was two members, both with business background, the technology was outsourced and sales were low. There were many things that were still uncertain. But the belief in our own abilities was high and the idea was already back then valid. Both of us had gathered wide experience over the years and the learning curve was steep. 1 Million pre-money valuation was high(ish), but justified.

Now – 9 months later – we have built our own technology, transformed and staffed the team with awesome skills. We have also started the internationalization. Sales grow and the number of users is increasing, all our metrics look good. After visiting the Tank, we launched our first crowdfunding campaign, which we were there marketing too, and successfully raised 114,000 euros with the same valuation.

The first one was 10.000e+ book about entrepreneurs, the second was Doerz 100.000e+ campaign and the third 700.000e+ directed share issue […]

I don’t know if anyone has previously launched an equity crowdfunding campaign when the TV show is aired. Perhaps. We decided to do just that. Maybe it helped when making the decision, that I now have three successful crowdfunding rounds up in my sleeve: the first one was 10.000e+ book about entrepreneurs, the second was Doerz 100.000e+ campaign and the third 700.000e+ directed share issue to establish an investment and development company. When the episode was aired, we launch our second ever share issue targeting 250k€ maximum.

The decision was also supported by the fact that the visibility we received was very positive. In addition to validating the business and the trend, three out of five Sharks went on to recommend crowdfunding as the best way to fund our sharing economy based business.

[…] full advantage out of this publicity.

I am glad that we did the show. Of course, I was hoping that the episode would have come out earlier in the autumn, as discussed. But it did not hurt us either that it came out now in spring. Like any other good entrepreneurs, we will in any case, take full advantage out of this publicity. We got the Shark Tank (and one national Radio interview) on the opening day to give us an amazing start for our campaign.

tomi webinar

Tomi Virtanen

Founder of Doerz


Our campaign site can be found at, where all our investor materials are also available.

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