Start-ups

'Shark Tank': Daymond John threw Lori Greiner 'under the bus' to invest in this sneaker company

ABC/Eric McCandless

Investor Daymond John wasn't into sharing an investment with his fellow Sharks on Friday's episode of ABC's "Shark Tank." Not even with Shark Lori Greiner, who has had some of the most successful investments on the show.

"Oh no... my buddy @TheSharkDaymond just threw me under the bus!" Greiner tweeted on April 3. 

John replied, "I love you @LoriGreiner but this is a Chocolate Thunder-only offer." (Chocolate Thunder is John's nickname.)

The offer at the center of the exchange was for Muvez, a convertible sneaker-to-slipper footwear company. Ryan Cruz, his brother Eric Cruz and their best friend Kevin Zamora founded the company and asked the Sharks for a $200,000 investment in return for a 15% stake.

"When guests enter my home and leave their shoes on, it drives me crazy," Eric said during the episode. Ryan and Zamora said they'd prefer to go in and out of the house without having to change from slippers to sneakers, so they created Muvez. 

The Muvez looks like a lace-less, slip on sneaker with a thin sneaker sole. And it comes with a separate, removable shell that can be clipped onto the sneaker sole to create a slipper when going indoors. 

A pair of Muvez sneakers sell for $99.95, and a pack of two pairs sell for $184.95, according to its website.

The concept and design impressed the Sharks, especially once they tried on the sneaker.

"This is cool as hell," John said. 

But their work ethic when faced with adversity is what drove a stronger interest, especially from John.

"We traveled to China twice. Our first factory, after financing samples and mold costs and material sourcing, they were about three or four months into it, and they told us that the project was impossible. That it could not be done," Zamora said.

"So truth be told, we purchased supplies from an over-the-counter hardware store, brought them to our garage in New Jersey, where we casted my foot as a mold, and then that was our first proof of concept with rubber."

"That's the power of broke, baby," John said in response. "That's it."

Sharks Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary and Robert Herjavec decided to opt out of a deal, citing the footwear industry was not for them.

But Greiner and John had an interest.

"I think it's really quite brilliant. As an investment for me, I am just not sure," Greiner said during the episode. "Listen, there are so many people that do not want shoes in their house. If you can get another Shark to go in with me, I'll go in."

ABC/Eric McCandless

"I love the design, the product, the ingenuity," John said, "I don't even want to insult you with an offer. The reason why is because I would purely be taking you someplace to license this. Do not want to do this business ourselves."

But the three founders were fine with going the licensing route, and in response, John gave them an offer.

"I"ll give you $200,000 but for 33.3% of the company," John said, excluding Greiner. 

O'Leary asked John, "Is Lori in on that deal?" And John replied, "Absolutely not."

"I've not been in the men's footwear space before. I think it's more that I would prefer to have another Shark with me on this. Daymond would have been a great partner, but he threw me under the bus," Greiner said.

The founders countered John's offer, asking for $200,000 for a 25% stake, and John accepted.

Check out: The best credit cards of 2020 could earn you over $1,000 in 5 years

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

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How I Made It: Daymond John and the Power of Broke
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