‘Shark Tank’ review: Xero Shoes, Bibbitec, Cuddletunes, and SoundBender

Shark TankFebruary is here, and you might as well re-name this “Shark Tank” month. There are going to be all sorts of great products featured on the show all month long … and probably a few duds. We’ll be here every step of the way with our quick judgments, and also some links so that you know just where to go in order to check out everything presented to the likes of Daymond John, Mark Cuban, and of course everyone’s favorite Mr. Wonderful in Kevin O’Leary.

This week, we had a little bit of everything from baby products to a rabbi with an iPad

Bibbitec – First of all, this presentation was pretty cheesy, and it completely fell apart the moment that the little skit about this specialty bib ended.

We want to be clear that the product itself is not a bad idea, since parents do go through countless bibs and it is a heck of a lot easier to buy one and keep it for years. However, the company founders did a pretty terrible job in selling it, they had a terrible margin on it, and they were at times so combative that they could not see the forest through the trees that without the proper tools at their disposal (like actual marketing and education on what the product really does), no shark would be able to give them the time that they need.

SoundBender – This product is something that we featured in our show preview, and we love every single thing about it. The pitch by Rabbi Moshe Weiss was hysterical, and he did a great job in getting the sharks hooked right away in what was basically a sound amplifier for iPads. The only real problem with the product is that it is niche: you have to not only own an iPad, but be someone who uses the speakers on it regularly. The Rabbi also did not offer many details on sales or his strategy, but was insistent that he knew how to handle his company.

This was one of the best negotiations that we have ever seen, at least in terms of entertainment. Moshe did not beat around the bush, and made it very clear that he had no interest in either licensing the product or making a deal for a royalty. Instead, he chose a deal with Daymond, which may be a sign that he was pretty comfortable with the idea that he had to close a deal with Walgreens in order for it to go through.

(Just a brief comment on the update: the Cousins Maine Lobster guys received an award from the State of Maine! How crazy is that! This show is the American dream in TV form.)

Cuddletunes – If Skype did not exist already, maybe it would be a good idea to have a teddy bear that you can use to send recordings to from anywhere around the world. Even if there was no Skype, though, we’re still not sure that this product is a winner. Barbara Corcoran had an outstanding point here, that there is no replacement for genuine human interaction. All hearing a familiar voice through a teddy bear may do is make children sad, especially when you can pick up a phone and speak to them live. Nobody wanted to cuddle with this bear, especially with an evaluation of $2 million.

Xero Shoes – This product was an interesting one for runners, as it gives you the closest feeling to barefoot running while wearing what is effectively a specialty sandal. Robert Herjavec, the only real runner in the tank save for the business owners, actually really liked this. But trying to actually value this business at $5 million right now is crazy, even if there are a good many runners out there who could benefit from trying something new.

The only person to make an offer on this “rubber and string” (as the sharks called it) was Kevin O’Leary, who would not be willing to value this at anywhere close to what they wanted. Neither was willing to judge, and these shoes ran straight out of the tank.

What was your favorite product from this week’s episode? If you want to check out some other highlights from “Shark Tank” this season, you can do so over at the link here.

Photo: ABC

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