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Doing business with Mark Cuban, I imagine, is probably a lot like sleeping with Kate Upton, in that 1) It’s something I will only ever be able to imagine, 2) It’s really, really awesome, and 3) It tells the world that your business and/or penis is a hot property.
Enter our friends over at BeatBox Beverages, who not so long ago appeared on the hit ABC show “Shark Tank” to present their product — a line of party booze in the vein of trashcan punch/jungle juice/whatever the hell you call it at your school. They believe their boxed booze, which can, of course, be removed from the box and passed around in bag form to be aggressively suckled and slapped (BeatBox has gone so far as to make the bag replete with a handprint target) is the next big college party drink. Because we have several boxes in the office and I have no sense of professional decorum, the way many of my afternoons in the office have gone after having a few glasses of the stuff has me agreeing with their assertion.
But forget what I think. I’m a nobody. If I ran outside and leapt into traffic right now, whatever damage my body wound up doing to the Westlake housewife’s Range Rover that ran me down would probably cost more than my funeral. You know who else thinks BeatBox is a great idea? Mark Cuban. The Dallas Mavericks billionaire owner threw down an investment of $1 million for a third of the company (that’s a $3 million valuation from Mark Cuban). Of course, that agreement was only after Cuban’s initial offer of $600,000 for a third of the company. But BeatBox CEO Justin Fenchel decided to go balls out and make the million dollar counteroffer to Cubes. Thankfully for Fenchel and crew, not only did Cuban actually like BeatBox when he tried it — a tasting that no doubt took him back to his days of playing college rugby and opening a bar while still a student at Indiana — but in Cuban’s own words about the booze to its creators, “You sell fun.” Now, Mark Cuban sells fun with them. (And you would definitely buy “fun” from Mark Cuban.)
Aimy Steadman, Justin Fenchel, and Brad Schultz, the fantastic people behind BeatBox and the members of the company’s “Shark Tank” team, were nice enough to answer a few of our questions about their appearance, and what teaming up with Mark Cuban was like.
What was it like interacting with the Sharks?
Justin: After watching literally every episode, it felt crazy to finally talk to the Sharks in person. They looked like cartoon characters. It was definitely intense in there with questions flying from everyone, but we made sure to tell our story of how we started and tried not to let them intimidate us as best as possible.
Aimy: Actually, preparing and being nervous before the taping was way worse than actually interacting with the Sharks. It’s like anything you are nervous about, usually the worrying part is worse than the actual experience. I actually found them to be really nice and supportive. You can tell they really care about encouraging entrepreneurship and the people behind the ideas.
Brad: Imagine being placed on the set of your favorite TV show and interacting with the main characters…pretty wild. The sharks don’t always speak in turn so we had to do our best to control the room. Things got really fun once the Sharks got some BeatBox in their systems…I don’t think that was a coincidence.
Was there a Shark you were going after?
Justin: We wanted Mark. We assigned different valuations to the Sharks based on how much value we felt they could add to us, and Mark was at the top of that list. He’s in Texas, he’s a genius, and he knows how to party!
Aimy: We definitely were trying to sync up with Mark Cuban because we knew he would get what we were trying to do. We also wanted Mr. Wonderful to get involved because of his connections with the alcohol business, but he also drives a really hard bargain!
Brad: Without a doubt Mark! There’s no denying Mark knows how to have fun, but even more so how to sell it!
How did you prepare for the show?
Justin: You watch every episode, many, multiple times. You know the key questions the Sharks will ask. You eat, sleep, and breathe the tank. It was literally all I could think about for weeks leading up to the show. Also – know your numbers! They will crush you like the cockroach that you are if you don’t.
Aimy: I studied all our numbers on flash cards and we practiced a ton. I also bought some really nice jeans. You can study all you want, but if you feel like you look good when you’re doing something scary, it always helps give you an extra boost of confidence.
Brad: We went in hoping for the best, but prepared for the worst. We’d have friends pretend to be the sharks and hit us with the raziest questions they could think of. By the time we went in to the tank, I knew we were prepared, which allowed us to have some fun in there.
Were you nervous?
Justin: Completely. How could you not be? I actually forgot one of my lines during our pitch because I pretty much just couldn’t believe we were actually filming for the show. I honestly blacked out when I asked Mark if he would do the deal for a million dollars. I couldn’t remember what I had said.
Aimy:Uh, yah! I couldn’t sleep for weeks before the show recording. I’ve never been on TV before and of course the whole experience on being grilled on something you’ve put your heart into is super scary. It all turned out great though. Phew!
Brad: Wildly. I had dreams of being in the tank the nights leading up to the show. It felt like the feeling before a championship game. The 6 cups of coffee and 3 red bulls before the taping probably didn’t help.
What is it like working with Mark Cuban?
Justin: The guy is as advertised. He is always to the point and is ridiculously smart. He’s been more hands on than I would have thought, which is great. He’s been helping us get into retailers and helping with our distributors. We’ve gotten quite a few e-mails from him and I still feel like a little school girl every time I see them come through.
Aimy: Mark is awesome. He’s super accessible to us via CyberDust and email. I never feel like I can’t get ahold of him. Our first meeting after we got our deal was one of the highlights of this whole BeatBox experience to me. I felt like I got a 3 hour entrepreneurship/life coaching session from one of the world’s most successful business people.
Brad: Mark has been incredible. He’s “always on” which is exactly how we like to work. Our first meeting was just days after his hip replacement surgery, and he was up game planning on the white board with us. (He even showed us the scars at one point) Working with him on BeatBox is like the equivalent of getting to work on your fastball with Nolan Ryan.
You can watch Cuban and the BeatBox team reach their deal in the clip below.
BeatBox is currently available at HEB, Spec’s, Albertson’s, and other retailers throughout Texas, and is available to purchase online in 20 states. Early next year BeatBox will be expanding into several new states, including California, Georgia, Louisiana, Arizona, and Oklahoma. You can find all the locations BeatBox is sold here. You can order BeatBox online here.
And in the words of Mark Cuban after he spends $1 million on booze, “Let’s party!”.