Many “Shark Tank” contestants strike a deal with one, or even two, of the entrepreneurship reality show’s investor judges.
Few are able to convince the five investors in the series to strike a deal together. Father-son duo Mark and Kenzo Singer nailed Friday’s episode of the ABC show, landing a combined $125,000 investment bid from each investor in exchange for 20% of their Toronto-based reading glasses company. Santa Barbara, eyewris.
The foldable glasses “spring open and close,” converting to a wristband for easy on-the-go wear, Mark’s son Kenzo explained. The design was inspired by his own father, an avid carpenter who happens to be the creator of Gorilla Glue.
“As I got older, I needed reading glasses more and more and they were never with me when I needed them,” Mark said. “I thought the solution was to buy a dozen pairs and put them everywhere. I still didn’t have them when I needed them.”
Kenzo, a structural engineer with a degree from Cornell University, decided to put his expertise to good use. Soon after, he quit his job as an engineer to make eyewear full-time. “Skyscraper-scale physics also applies to something as small as a pair of reading glasses,” he said.
The Singers originally asked for $25,000 in exchange for 5% of the company. But they didn’t need the money: Gorilla Glue has been popular for decades, helping Mark invest $630,000 of his own money in Eyewris, he said.
What’s more, the new company had already been profitable for just nine months, the duo added – despite only grossing around $28,000 in lifetime sales at the time of filming.
This prompted one of the investors, Daymond John, to ask, “Why do you need a shark?”
“Your most valuable asset isn’t your money, it’s your time,” Mark replied, choking. “I don’t have the guts to start another business. My time is up. My main reason for being here is to leave Kenzo in good hands, and by that I mean with successful, smart, honest and ethical like you.”
One of the other investors, Lori Greiner, visibly gave in and was the first to make an offer: $25,000 for a 10% stake. “I know this business, I know what it takes. I’ve made millions of dollars in sunglasses…and I think it’s really ingenious,” she said.
Kevin O’Leary called, offering $50,000 for a 10% stake. “I know how to blow this huge,” he said. “It’s an extraordinary situation.”
A bidding war ensued. with John asking Greiner if they could partner up. The Singers chimed in, saying they didn’t want to give up 10% of their business for any amount of money.
Seemingly sensing a bluff, O’Leary offered to join Greiner and John, potentially giving Eyewris access to three Sharks for a 10% stake. When the two remaining investors, Mark Cuban and Barbara Corcoran, tried to step in, the group decided to take a moment to deliberate.
They came back with a collective offer: $125,000 for a 25% stake. “Every Shark wants to support you guys,” O’Leary said. “Virtually never happens.”
Kenzo countered with 20%, and investors agreed.
“I couldn’t be prouder of my dad,” Kenzo said after closing the deal. “I’ve never seen him get emotional like that.”
Disclosure: CNBC has exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”
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