From a Reality Show to the Reality of Business

Every business idea needs money, but selling your idea in front of millions of viewers and then being subject to scrutiny by a panel of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs is not for everyone.

Just the thought of competing among thousands of applicants -- the vetting process, the intensive documentation and most of all, handing over a part of your company for life -- for the privilege of coming on TV is what is required to be on the show Shark Tank.

We fished around and finally reeled in Brian Altomare, a Shark Tank participant and a budding entrepreneur. Brian runs Lugless, which specializes in sending your baggage ahead of your trip and claims to be a more convenient and safer way of ensuring your baggage does not get lost in the process.

Brian shares the story of his journey into the Shark Tank, and it’s quite a revelation to many who wonder what happens behind the scenes. It was interesting to know that participants have to give a percentage of the company to the show in exchange for being on-air. While some might question the ethics of this arrangement, Brian states there are so many applicants who are willing to sacrifice a part of their company just for the opportunity to come on TV.

Brian’s preparation with the Shark Tank team went on for months, and the main focus of this process was aimed at presenting the business to the Sharks for investment, in all of two minutes. No teleprompters, no second chances and no retakes. The pressure was intense as they were put in solitary dark rooms before coming on air. There is a bit of hazing that goes on when the contestant is brought into the studio face –to–face with the sharks. Brian noted that Mark Cuban and Daymond John were chuckling at him before the cameras came on.

Brian did his 2-minute pitch, answered the questions posed by the sharks but they did not bite and he did not get the investment. He felt the judges misunderstood his business as a version of FedEx.

Another interesting fact was that before and after the show, a psychiatrist was provided to each of the contestants to check for mental well being and feedback from the contestants. After his show, Brian was extremely frustrated with the outcome and asked for his segment to be edited out of the show. This did not happen and it aired.

However, Brian survived his ordeal and while Shark Tank owns a piece of his company, his business has boomed. Some of his customers have had unusual requests like shipping breast milk and gemstones from Africa.

The full account of his experiences and his business can be heard in a recent interview he gave to Vipp Jaswal on Fox News Radio.