Wine Balloon: ‘I turned down $400,000 and have no regrets’
Not all deals come together after the "Shark Tank" cameras shut off. That is what happened to Eric Corti who appeared on the show in 2012 with his product—which at the time was named Wine Balloon—which helps preserve wine after the bottle has been opened.
Many of the sharks were so interested that they offered to buy the entire company, something Corti wasn't prepared for.
After a lot of balking, Corti accepted a deal with Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban for $400,000 and a 2 percent royalty in exchange for the whole business, but when the show was over he told CNBC in an email that the deal was not finalized.
Corti said that in the end he "wasn't ready to give it up for the accepted on-air offer of $400,000."
Corti, who has since changed the product's name to Air Cork, said he has seen huge interest in the item worldwide.
Was there a price at which Corti would have been willing to part with his company? And what has happened since his "Shark Tank" appearance?
Check out the Q&A with Air Cork CEO Eric Corti for the answers.
What was it about your pitch that had the sharks biting?
I think it was the straightforward and intuitive solution to preserving the remaining wine in a bottle. Air causes oxidation in wine. I tried to come up with a solution in the most simple form.
I am pretty sure that all of the sharks know their wine, although Kevin [O'Leary] is a clear standout in his love for wine. I had seen a show that featured a tour of his home and vast wine cellar. When he ... agreed that the Wine Balloon [Air Cork] was better than the vacuum devices, I knew we were headed in the right direction.
What was your favorite moment from being in the tank?
I would love to see the unedited version of my time with the sharks because I am sure that there are several things that I don't remember. So much is happening so quickly and you're incredibly nervous.
There are a lot of people talking at the same time. I was in a conversation with one shark while others are discussing options among themselves. I found myself looking at one person and trying to listen to the others discuss options.
One thing that caught me off guard was that the entrepreneur makes that walk down the hallway to the sharks and out to the carpet in complete silence. No music, nothing.
You had a deal on television but ultimately walked away. Any regrets?
Absolutely not! I never expected to receive an offer to buy the entire company, but the number in my mind was more than $600,000. I had put a lot of effort into this product and it was shelf-ready just before the show. I had barely had it on the market and wasn't ready to give it up for the accepted on-air offer of $400,000.
It has been a great experience building a business and all that goes with it.
What was the impact of being on 'Shark Tank?'
Being on the show has been tremendous for our company. The exposure and visibility both nationally and internationally has provided great interest from around the globe. It has really accelerated our growth. We've learned a lot in a very short time ... truly drinking from a fire hose.
By Jill Weinberger
Tuesdays have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC every Tuesday night at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET.