This was posted Wednesday, March 8, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Mark Bernstein, a former Atlanta-based King & Spalding and CNN attorney, failed to get the sharks to bite on "Shark Tank" last Friday for his appetite suppressant lozenge MealEnders but it did inspire 15,000 orders over the next three days totaling more than $400,000 in sales.
It's to be taken at the end of a meal to keep someone from eating too much. People tend to keep eating since the signal to tell them to stop tends to be delayed. The lozenges provide that signal, offering an outer layer that is sweet to help satisfy one's dessert craving, then has a tingly middle core to cleanse the palette.
"For me, it's mindfulness," Bernstein said.
The judges, sampling the lozenges, liked the sweet outer layer, hated the inner core. Lori Greiner called the aftertaste "funky" and said "it kills your taste buds." Kevin O'Leary compared it to a bad date. It starts well, ends poorly.
Bernstein personally invested $200,000 and raised $1.1 million from others. He said he had sales of $1.4 million with a 20 percent reorder rate over the product's first two years, mostly off his website and Amazon.
Mark Cuban said that re-up rate is miserable: "You got a good idea...but you don't have the solution yet. I'm out."
Robert Herzavec: "Everybody in the world wants to be rich. Everybody in the world wants to be thin. But very few people want to put the effort in so when you have a trigger point I think it really helps. I think you're really on to something. Here's what I don't like about it. It's kind of in the supplement, diet kind of business. You're going to spend a fortune getting the word out then one day, there's a hot new thing out there. I don't like that business. I wish you all the best I think you're going to burn a lot of money to get to scale."
O'Leary said most diet-related products get pilloried on "Shark Tank" so the fact they didn't rip him to shreds means something. But he just did not like the taste so he's out.
Lori Greiner was unenthusiastic and repeated that she did not like the taste. She, too, is out. Barbara Corcoran psychologically likes the idea but thinks it will take too much money to work.
Bernstein requested $300,000 for eight percent of his company, which meant he valued his company at $3.75 million. He got nothing.