Yahoo! Voices Interview: Shawn Davis Talks Shark Tank
The massive appeal of ABC's hit reality series Shark Tank, which is now airing its third season on Friday nights at 8/7c, is that the five wealthy investors, or "sharks," negotiate investment proposals from emerging entrepreneurs. But the investors can't financially support every product they see, but some entrepreneurs they turn down ultimately do find success from other ventures after leaving the show.
Shawn Davis, who is also known as Chef Big Shake, appeared on the second season of Shark Tank to seek an investment of $200,000 for his line of gourmet shrimp burgers. While the show's investors turned his idea down, his company, CBS Foods, was immediately approached by 10 to 15 different investors after his episode aired. The chef, who plans on expanding his shrimp burgers nationwide, has seen the sales of his creation grown from $30,000 to a purported $6 million in 2012.
Davis took the time to speak about his Shark Tank appearance and his shrimp burgers over the phone from Manhattan. He discussed why he decided to pitch his burgers on the show, how he initially felt about being turned down and why he thinks Shark Tank offers opportunities to all investors.
Written by: Karen Benardello
Question (Q): You appeared on the second season of Shark Tank to seek an investment of $200,000 for your line of gourmet shrimp burgers. What was your motivation in trying to seek financing from the entrepreneurs on the show?
Shawn Davis (SD): My motivation, obviously, was stop living paycheck to paycheck, and to pump some money into my business. So basically not living paycheck to paycheck, and to expose my burger.
Q: After presenting the shrimp burgers to the investors on Shark Tank, they decided to turn the idea down. After the taping, did you feel deterred from continuing trying to find investors to support the burgers?
SD: You know what, I didn't have, or go in, with any initial expectation. If I got the money, it would have been fantastic. But on the other hand, I look at it as a fantastic three-minute commercial. So it was either the exposure or the money, or both. I was a little hurt, I'm not going to lie, after they turned me down initially, but I got what I wanted, as far as the exposure, so it worked out great.
Q: Immediately after your episode aired, you were approached by 10 or 15 private investors to put money into the shrimp burgers. What is the feeling like, knowing so many people were interested in financially supporting the burgers?
SD: I felt extremely humbled and blessed, first off. Secondly, I was excited that people took notice and really supported the idea that I had. So definitely blessed and very humbled that people wanted to put money into my company. It was a very humbling feeling. Ultimately, (I was) overwhelmed.
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