‘Shark Tank’ review: Hot Tot, Dura-Tent, The Gameface Company, and Arkeg

Shark TankIt’s back! We all love a little “Shark Tank,” and on Friday the smartest reality show out there at the moment returned for its first new episode of 2013 … and it was a crazy one. Granted, we’re still more on Team Barbara Corcoran (who was not around) than Lori Greiner at this very moment, mostly because we find the former to have a better rapport with some of the other sharks.

At the end of the day, though, this was still a thoroughly entertaining hour that reminded us why we love this show so much to begin with. There were a number of good concepts this time, a hilariously awful dud, and some great shark circling that included gigantic offers and plenty of bickering. As always, we’ve linked to all the product websites in case you want to check them all out at your own convenience.

The Gameface Company – This was a product that we previewed on Thursday, and we had two major problems with it then: the evaluation ($450,000 for 25% of the company), and the basic idea that painting your face is something that is supposed to be creative and fun. We do think that people on the go would appreciate this still, as would somebody scrambling for an affordable Halloween costume at the last minute.

On paper, there is a lot of things here that will make Mr. Wonderful smile from a business perspective: the margins are great, there are profits here, and there does seem like a reasonable market for the product despite our reservation. However, it then felt like the guy totally blew it by saying that his main reason for getting an investment was to give himself $100,000 a year salary.

Somehow, the offers ended up pouring in here, and Mark Cuban’s was the most interesting given his background in sports: in return for all of the company, he would give away $1 million and add to it a salary of $80,000 a year. This is a risky offer, but at the same time one that gets you a great deal of money at once. Somehow, this guy managed to not only turn away this deal (and ignore Kevin O’Leary almost entirely), but he forged a new one with Mark and Lori that allowed him to keep the company, more than half of his stake in it, and also earn himself a salary of $80,000 a year in addition to extra cash. Well done.

Arkeg – This actually would have been perfect for “Hot Tub Time Machine”! It’s an arcade and beer tap in one! Seriously, this product would be awesome if you were a billionaire in 1991 and you wanted to brag to your friends about how rich you are. Otherwise, this was like a bad “American Idol” audition. It was kind of awesome, largely pointless, and also hilarious. Nobody of course wanted to get into this business, especially for a $4,000 price point.

Dura-Tent – Just when it comes to being practical, this may have been one of the best products on the episode: a tent that actually covers up your food from insects whenever you are outside on a picnic. As someone who has gone through this problem time and time again, this is something that we would actually buy if we were having a huge party and wanted to do it on a hot day outside.

To make things better, there really wasn’t any major problem with the concept of a “food tent” save for the obviously-nervous guy pitching it being scared to death and doing a terrible job at math. A few sharks went out simply because they could not bring value to the product, and then we were surprised to see that Lori (the big get for him) pulled out fearing that there was not enough of a market. Kevin still had an offer for him, but this was actually a pretty smart decision: since he was there for marketing more than money, why take an offer where the investor would bring nothing to the table other than money in return for a royalty? Even though the Dura-Tent has not support from the sharks, we still feel as though it could do rather well.

Hot Tot – There is a massive kick of parents right now who are interested in getting organic goods for their children, mostly because they keep your kid healthy at a very early age. As for organic hair care products, this is something new. We do think that this is a nice idea for parents who really have the extra money to burn, but the concern here is that most parents will just continue to buy the more affordable product.

The other issue here comes with the styling: it looks like something you buy in Sephora, and there is a reason why children’s products are often colorful and have cartoon characters on them: you need to scream to parents that this is for kids. If the owner of this product can fix this she may still be successful even with the economy being tough, and she did find a perfect partner in Mark Cuban who is already in the business of healthy and organic products.

Which one of these products could you actually see yourself buying? If you want to view some other “Shark Tank” highlights from the season, be sure to head on over to the link here.

Photo: ABC

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