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The Podillow

the podillow

Anthony and Tina Calvert come to the Shark Tank in episode 113 with their invention, the PODillow. The product looks essentially like the end of a massage table – a pad with a hole in it for the user to rest their face in. The PODillow is sold as a solution for tanning, massages, and lounging, and includes a plastic foundation with compartments for storing small items like a cell phone, MP3 player, or car keys.

Will the Sharks bite, or will the Calverts come away empty-handed?

The Podillow Shark Tank Recap

The Calverts are seeking a $250,000 for 33% of their company.  Anthony Calvert, during his time as a SWAT team member with the SanDiego police department, he suffered an injury. Upon having his chest shaved, Anthony realized he could use some color, and tried to acquire a tan, only to discover it was nearly impossible to get comfortable with a rolled-up towel for a pillow. The Calverts are accompanied in the Tank by a bikini-clad model, who demonstrates as Anthony tells his story. The Sharks are nodding, but they focus in on the meat of the pitch- they want to know about numbers.

The PODillows cost around $7 to make, and have been retailing for $29.95. With sales of 6,000 units in 2 years’ time, the numbers don’t seem strong, but Kevin Harrington asks if there are retail or catalog sales. Anthony responds that yes, they have standing purchase orders from two major catalog outlets, Lillian Vernon, and Solutions. Fulfilling those orders depends on a Shark investment, but will the Sharks bite?

Valuation Issues

Kevin O’Leary lays out the numbers. Based upon the figure of $250,000 for 33% of the company, he says the Calverts are valuing their company at $750,000, but they only made sales of about $21,000 in the past year. He wants to know why they’re asking for so much. Anthony responds that their lack of resources have limited their sales.

Robert Herjavec gives a brief lesson in mathmatics, explaining that the company, based on sales, is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000, making their request of $250,000 unreasonable.

O’Leary calls the difference between the valuation and the actual value “the difference between the earth and the moon.” He’s out.

Kevin Harrington says the product is “regional and seasonal.” He’s out.

Daymond John loves the story and likes the product. He says “I can make you filthy rich with this product. But you made a tactical error, and it’s all going to come back to valuation. At $250,000, I’d need 200% of the company.” He’s out.

Barbara Corcoran reprimands the Calverts for not doing more research before coming into the Shark Tank. She says “the money is whacked, so I’m out.”

Robert Herjavec tells them they “need a small loan today, maybe $50,000 or $100,000.” He, too, feels that the numbers are skewed. The final Shark is out, and the Calverts are sunk.

The Podillow Shark Tank Update

Although the Sharks didn’t take a bite of the company, the Podillow remains available through Amazon and the company’s website. The Podillow idea didn’t make it in the Shark Tank, but the Calverts have continued offering their product through direct sales, and presumably, have kept their small business afloat, despite their early valuation missteps.

As of July, 2021, the company website is dark, but the pillows are still available on Amazon. Annual revenue is $200,000.

Company Information

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  1. 6,000 units retailing at almost $30, is $180,000 sales in two years, with a gross margin of over 75%. How did they arrive at those numbers? How could they pass on?!

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