How to Win in Business

How this sports start-up with $2 million in sales won over Mark Cuban on 'Shark Tank'

Rick Pescovitz pitching on "Shark Tank."
Photo by Kelsey McNeal
Rick Pescovitz pitching on "Shark Tank."

An Ohio inventor and entrepreneur managed to wow the billionaire tech investor and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, on "Shark Tank" Friday.

Rick Pescovitz from Cincinnati invented a pop-up mini tent to carry to outdoor sporting events that protects users from the elements. He appeared on the hit reality entrepreneurship show to seek a $600,000 investment for 10 percent of his company, Under the Weather.

The portable pod weighs less than seven pounds, Pescovitz said, and is water, wind and sun resistant. Inside the pod is 35 degrees warmer than the outdoors, because the person sitting inside the pod warms up the space with body heat.

The pods retail for $99.99 and cost Pescovitz $23 per unit to make. So far, 85 percent of Pescovitz's sales have come from online. In the year before appearing on the show, Pescovitz sold 22,000 units, brought in $2 million in revenue and $1 million in profit.

The seven figure sales impressed the sharks, though Pescovitz dismissed their praise, because he reinvests much of what he makes back into the business to grow it. The part of Pescovitz's growth that really got Cuban's attention, though, was that he was been able to bring in $2 million in sales almost entirely thanks to word-of-mouth.

"We have spent $11,000 on advertising in two years," Pescovitz tells Cuban.

"That is incredible," says Cuban, who goes on to offer Pescovitz a deal.

Cuban offered Pescovitz $600,000 for 15 percent of the company, more equity than Pescovitz wanted to give away, but less than Daymond John and Kevin O'Leary offered. John and O'Leary both offered Pescovitz $600,000 for 20 percent equity.

Cuban also asked for the option to buy another 10 percent of the company for another $600,000 in the next 12 months.

Pescovitz clearly came on the show looking to get an investment from Cuban. Even after John and O'Leary made offers, Pescovitz specifically asked Cuban if he was interested.

In the course of his pitch, Pescovitz told the emotional story of his brother and previous business partner's untimely death.

"My brother Mark meant a whole lot to me and now I am partnering with a guy named Mark. Maybe that's fate. I am happy. I am very happy."

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