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Agreed - the only way to get a really favorable deal, where favorable is "the best kind of deal they offer, but not necessarily good" is to have a large order that you can't finance and to not need them for anything else.

The best deals some of the participants on that show make is no deal. They get the TV exposure, and potentially some validation from the Sharks, but choose not to accept the terms of their offer. If you can take that and use it to market yourself as an "As Seen on The Shark Tank" product, you've got much of the benefit without giving up a major equity stake to the sharks. With that said, this contract seems to indicate that ABC can take a share of your company whether you choose to enter into an agreement with a shark or not ... so you're trading TV time for a percentage of equity.

Also of interest ... I've read a few post-mortems from companies that appeared on TV, and every one of them said their portrayal had been edited for time (actual negotiations had gone as long as an hour in some cases) yet fair.

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