On last Friday’s episode of Shark Tank, Black Sands Entertainment’s Manuel Godoy pitched the sharks, and when I heard this was coming up, I knew I had to watch it. Black Sands got a lot of attention last year when they launched an app for digital comics by Black creators, and I thought that if Mark Cuban could be persuaded to invest in webcomics, there is really no stopping comics.
I was on a panel with Godoy back at Anime NYC, and he’s a very sharp and knowledgeable publisher/creator who has already raised a lot of money for his venture. But could he convince the famed sharks in a heavily staged reality show setting?
(In case you have never watched this show, various entrepreneurs come and pitch their ideas to a panel of real life zillionaires who choose to invest their real money or not.)
With Kevin Hart as the guest shark, Godoy arrived in the last segment along with wife Geiszel Godoy and partner Teunis De Raat. Their pitch was a bit easier to understand than mobile comics – an animated series starring characters from their flagship Black Sands comic that offered a good yarn and Black representation. However their ask – a $500,000 investment for a 5% state – was greeted with that universal screeching string sting that indicates a setback in reality TV terms.
Black Enterprises also covered the show and had this account:
Their unique company piqued the interest of guest Shark comedian and actor Kevin Hart and billionaire Mark Cuban. Initially, Manuel was hesitant to make a deal with Hart and Cuban because he would have to give away a significant amount of the company’s equity. He made a counteroffer for a lower equity stake with a royalty clause. The Sharks were not satisfied and pointed out to Manuel that they would achieve actual revenue through movie or television deals and brand sponsorship. Hart also told Manuel he brings a whole ecosystem that can help with production, animation, and marketing, and Cuban said he would facilitate the technology angle, according to Meaww.
Godoy looked a bit pained as he had to make the lightning fast decision whether to accept Hart and Cuban as 30% partners, but in the end I think taking the money was really a no-brainer. The publicity from the show alone was worth the deal.
Guessing here, but taking on two mega busy business partners who only heard about your project (which is your life’s work) 5 minutes ago is indeed a risky venture…but that’s why people love Shark Tank, right?
A few other observations about the show:
- The Godoys and DeRaat came off quite well, especially compared to some of the other pitchers on this episode. (I don’t watch Shark Tank but I’ve seen enough episodes to have some idea of how it works.) They clearly had a well defined business plan and were able to talk about it clearly, had enough flashy trailers and what not to back it up.
- That said, the Sharks are no dummies either. When Godoy tried to give them a larger stake of publishing royalties, they saw right through that immediately. The big money is in the toys and the media.
- Viewers also liked the idea!
Of course it’s hard to know what really went down given how stylized the editing is on these shows, but the Black Sands crew acquitted themselves well and walked out with $500,000 so I’d call it a positive outcome.