Sam Parr and Shaan Puri

We Hosted A “Shark Tank” For Tech Startups | My First Million Demo Day with Sam Parr and Shaan Puri

Check out My First Million’s Episode Page and Show Notes 

Intro 

  • Sam Parr (@thesamparr) is an American businessman and podcaster co-hosting the My First Million podcast. He is best known for founding The Hustle Media Production company and selling it to HubSpot for an estimated $27 million. 
  • Shaan Puri (@ShaanVP) is an entrepreneur, investor, and co-host of the My First Million podcast. He shares insights and frameworks on his website and newsletter, which has +30K subscribers.
  • In this conversation, Sam and Shaan field six pitches from founders trying to raise capital for their respective startups. This is My First Million meets Shark Tank!
  • Check out these Podcast Notes from Sam and Shaan’s conversation with the guy that bought Sam’s company 

Background  

  • Sam Parr (@thesamparr) and Shaan Puri are on a video call listening to six entrepreneurs pitch their startups in hopes of getting Sam, Shaan, or the audience to invest 
  • They’re using Stonks to hear the pitches, which is a platform that was created when Twitch, AngelList, and Shark Tank had a baby 
  • The entrepreneurs have two minutes to pitch, Sam and Shaan will ask questions for five minutes, and then they (and the audience) can decide if they want to invest or not 

Luke at Cherry 

  • Cherry is a free browser extension that helps consumers direct book their travel accommodations
    • Cherry sends the consumer to the property owner’s website so they don’t have to pay the large commission fees on Expedia, Airbnb, Booking.com, etc. 
    • Launched in April 2022
  • It currently is for hotels and resorts but plans to expand into the attractions, air travel, and car hire markets in the future
  • Sam’s dumbed-down description of Cherry: “Expedia with a chrome plug-in” 
  • The consumer pays less, and the hotel also pays less to Booking.com 
    • Hotels are sick of paying such large commissions to booking sites, according to Luke
    • Cherry takes a commission on conversions, but much less
  • Sam: Out
    • He doesn’t think it’s good enough to be “crazy different” from all the other travel-related companies operating in this highly competitive industry 
  • Shaan: Out
    • He didn’t like Luke’s answer on the unit economics of Cherry’s business
    • Shaan wants a founder to demonstrate a deep understanding of how the money machine of their business works
    • He thinks that Honey would expand into travel bookings if it were an opportunity

Ankur at Pillup 

  • Pillup is a modern pharmacy that pre-sorts medicines by dosage and has the time and date the consumer is supposed to take the medicine on the packaging 
    • Startup launched in 2022
  • Sam’s dumbed-down version of Pillup: “Pillpack for India” 
  • Pillup has formed business-to-business partnerships with old age homes to onboard old people, in addition to forming partnerships with doctors 
  • Ankur wants Sam and Shaan to be his first investors because he loves the show, then wants to break into Y Combinator 
  • Ankur: there are three unicorns in the space, but no one is working on what happens to medicine post-delivery  
  • Shaan: In
    • Sam wants to know more about Ankur’s previous company that ended in 2021, and about the disagreement that ended Ankur’s previous company 
    • He wants to talk to e-pharmacy people and find out why there isn’t already a “Pillpack for India” 
  • Sam: Out
    • Sam doesn’t know anything about the pharmaceutical industry in India and doesn’t have the e-pharmacy connections that Shaan does, and for those reasons, he is out 

Steven at Campus Ink

  • Campus Ink is a merch platform that helps college athletes make money off their name and likeness 
    • Marc Cuban invested $250K after a cold email from Steven 
    • The company also has a program that teaches regular college students design and sales 
  • Campus Ink’s primary business is trying to benefit from regulatory changes in the NCAA as college athletes can now monetize their name, image, and likeness (NIL
  • “It crosses the threshold of being interesting enough to not say no.” – Sam Parr 
  • Shaan: Maybe 
  • Sam: Leaning towards Yes, but wants to look into it more

Jared at Terrashroom 

  • Terrashroom is a mushroom grow changer that is intelligent and automated so that anyone can grow mushrooms at home 
    • “All the billionaires I personally know, almost without exception, use mushrooms on a regular basis.” – Tim Ferriss 
    • Wants to raise $500K pre-seed at a $3.25 million dollar valuation 
  • Another company in this space, Back to the Roots, is doing $100M in revenue per year 
  • The long-term play of Terrashroom is to break into therapeutics 
  • Jared used the terms “legal loophole” and “if you catch my drift” in his pitch, which Sam and Shaan were a little skeptical about
  • Shaan: Out 
    • Hardware is hard
    • Doesn’t know how real the shrooms trend is
  • Sam: Maybe

Morgan at DealBuilder

  • DealBuilder is an online marketplace to buy and sell businesses 
    • Has sold 250+ businesses in the past decade 
    • The lead investor is a friend-of-the-pod, Andrew Wilkinson of Tiny  
  • Sam likes the macro trend of emerging, tech-enabled boring businesses 
  • Sam and Shaan were skeptical about the equity founding team listed on the website not being the real team that works at the startup
  • DealBuilder got a lot of interest from the viewing audience 
  • Shaan: Curious
  • Sam: Curious 

Tim at FieldComplete 

  • FieldComplete is a free app that helps a plumber or electrician run their business
    • Over time, the app will become the contractor’s point-of-sale, bank, and credit card
    • Approximately 80% of contractors are using pen and paper to manage their business, and the ones that use digital tools have to sift through seven different apps
    • “Shopify for the home contractor”
  • FieldComplete is currently monetizing the credit card transaction and plans to further monetize at the financial layer as the company grows 
  • Shaan is confused about how large the business opportunity is
  • Shaan’s harsh truth about the business: FieldComplete has burned $1.8 million to reach 200 customers and generate $50,000 in revenue this year 
  • Sam thinks the startup could be great; the pitch might have just been fumbled 
  • Shaan: Out
  • Sam: Out

Wrapping Up

  • Shaan plans to follow up with Campus Ink and Pillpack 
  • Sam plans to follow up with Campus Ink and DealBuilder 
  • The viewing audience of 500 people expressed $1.3 million in total interest   

Additional Notes

  • Is it smart to pitch: “We are the Pillpack of India” or “We are the Airbnb of Costa Rica”
    • According to Shaan, yes it’s a good pitch style because it allows the investor to quickly understand the business and size of the prize at a high level 
    • Using the Pileup example: Tell the investor why Pillpack isn’t or cannot operate in India, tell them how Pillup is similar to Pillpack, and tell them what Pillup is doing that Pillpack is not doing 
  • Shaan is bias to investing in India because his familiarity with the region and the internet boom in the country 
  • Some of Shaan’s worst startup investments are from following the herd of what other smart investors are investing in at the moment 
  • Your startup is more attractive to investors if it has an impressive revenue number or an impressive user number, ideally both, but at least one of those 

Books Mentioned

My First Million : , , , , , , ,
Notes By Stan Rizzo

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