The Pitch

Start-up: Need a man? Just rent one.

Need a man? This start-up lets you rent one

Each week on CNBC's "Elevator Pitch" series, an entrepreneur gets an opportunity to blind pitch his or her company to a secret investor. The investor doesn't know anything about the business being pitched, so it's the entrepreneur's one shot to sell it.

Sometimes it takes a successful woman to know what other successful women want.

"I was the CEO of a $10 million start-up and was going to an event where my ex would be, and I didn't want to go on my own," Sara Shikhman, a corporate lawyer turned entrepreneur, told CNBC. "I searched online for a last-minute date but couldn't find anyone attractive enough on short notice."

And so the idea for Rent A Gent was born.

"Rent A Gent is a platform like Airbnb where women can rent men by the hour to go to events with them or do tasks for them," said Shikhman, its CEO and co-founder. The most common uses of the rental service have been dates to weddings, corporate events, handyman services and companions for nights out, she said.

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Shikhman had been given 30 seconds to blind pitch her company to Shark Tank's "Mr. Wonderful," Kevin O'Leary. After hearing the details, O'Leary was intrigued but troubled by Rent A Gent's likeness to an escort service.

Tom Merton | Getty Images

"Our gents are all highly screened and they all sign these very long contracts saying that there's not going to be any sex," Shikhman said.

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According to the start-up's website, only the top 1 percent of its applicants are chosen by Rent A Gent. Those who make it through the selection process earn half of the fee that the women pay, currently $200 an hour.

Since its launch in March 2013, Rent A Gent has grown to $20,000 per month in revenue, with dates going on in 12 cities. Shikhman, who grew her previous start-up, Bedroom Furniture Discounts, to millions in revenue, wants her new venture to expand to every major U.S. city and sell licensing rights to other countries.

It's "a very profitable and scalable model," Shikhman said.

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."