For iCapuslate founder Kane Bodiam, scoring the largest investment in Shark Tank history still hasn’t sunk in, with the entrepreneur itching to tell friends and family since the episode filmed eight months ago.
“We haven’t been able to share it with anybody. People saw all the investments we were making and how the business was growing and asked us if we had gotten an investment,” Bodiam told SmartCompany ahead of last night’s episode.
“I just had to keep responding” ‘I wish’.”
However with the airing of Tuesday’s episode, the wraps are finally off, and Bodiam is free to share his record-breaking $2.5 million investment from shark Andrew Banks.
Bodiam has been in the coffee industry for 15 years, working as the global coffee manager for Gloria Jeans before noticing the fast-encroaching trend of coffee capsule machines.
Seeing the success but recognising the environmental issues the plastic capsules could cause, Bodiam decided to take things into his own hands, founding capsule manufacturing company iCapsulate with co-founder Peter Draper of Fantastic Furniture fame, focusing on a fresher and more sustainable approach to coffee capsules.
Since then, iCapsulate has landed deals with the likes of Woolworths, Coca-Cola, Robert Timms, and New Zealand’s Bell Tea & Coffee. The company also allows small businesses and roasteries to contract small batches of coffee capsules.
With the business already boasting impressive accolades and $4 million in sales in 2016, Bodiam said the reason for diving into the tank was in some ways for publicity but notes the risks were still there.
“We’d had some private equity offers in the past, but we knew the publicity around Shark Tank which would be good for the business. Still, you run the risk of entering the tank, as you don’t know if they’re going to like what you do, or if they’re going to destroy you,” Bodiam says.
A nerve-wracking experience in the tank
Despite practising his pitch over 500 times, as soon as Bodiam entered the tank, he says he “forgot everything” and started to mumble. It wasn’t until the sharks started to hit him with questions that he got back into his groove.
“[The sharks] are so direct. People might think a lot of it is dramatised for the cameras but it wasn’t. They really get stuck into each other,” he says.
“You only see 15 minutes of it on the show, but I pitched for two and a half hours. There was a moment when I prepared coffees for the sharks, and I thought I was going to drop one on Janine.”
Despite Janine Allis loving Bodiam’s product, she was forced to tap out of the deal due to a conflict of interest with her already existing coffee business. This left the rest of the sharks free to fight it out, but ever-skeptical Steve Baxter also passed on offering a deal.
Glen offered Bodiam $2.5 million for a 40% stake, believing he’ll need to put a significant amount of work into the business. Similarly, Naomi Simson offered the same amount for 33.3%, and Andrew Banks offered $2.5 million for 25%.
Finally, after a counter offer of 20%, Bodiam settled with Banks for $2.5 million for 22.5%, locking down the biggest deal in Shark Tank history. After a thorough due diligence process, Bodiam and iCapsulate had locked in the investment with Banks, which he says has been “awesome”.
“All of the sharks have great contacts, but Andrew’s established contacts were what we wanted to help us expand. Him being best mates with the founder of Vittoria coffee helped a bit too,” he says.
“But having all the sharks back us like that felt really really good. It showed what I believed in the business they also believed.”
For any founders toying with the idea of swimming with the sharks, Bodiam warns you should be prepared, and know much like their namesakes, the sharks can smell blood from a mile away.
“You’ve got to be on the ball. Know exactly what you want and be prepared to walk away if you don’t get it. We had a certain percentage and we would have walked away if we didn’t get it,” he says.
“You’ve got to know your business too, they’re on the hunt for people who are full of crap. Show the passion you have for your business, or they’ll rip you apart.”