Rugged Races entered the Shark Tank in Season 5 with their obstacle course event company, and clinched a deal with Mark. We interviewed COO Rob Dickens who told us, “Our long-term strategy is to continually grow our portfolio of brands until we’re the largest event production company in the United States.” Here is what else he said about…
Mark is pretty hands off with us. We were a bit different than the other companies that normally appear on Shark Tank in that we weren’t a startup; we had been around for five years and were already profitable so we didn’t need a lot of mentoring on how to successfully run a business. Of course, we communicate with him often to keep him up to date on our operations, and whenever we need advice, he does whatever he can to help.
Significant Increase in Sales Since the ‘Tank’
We appeared on Shark Tank in April of 2014, which was right at the start of our event season. In 2013, our Rugged Maniac Obstacle Race brand had revenues of $4.1 million, 2014 saw revenues of $5.2 million, and 2015 revenues grew to $8.5 million.
Interesting Additions to the Course
We used some of Mark’s investment to implement a few new and unique obstacles at our Rugged Maniac events, like “Antigravity” – a trampoline obstacle, and “The Gauntlet” – an obstacle that requires runners to avoid large swinging balloons while traversing balance beams suspended over water. It’s a constant arms race in this industry to have the best and biggest obstacles, so Mark’s injection of cash helped us stay ahead of the competition.
Advice for Future ‘Tank’ Contestants
Watch as many old episodes as you can and pretend the questions the Sharks ask are directed to you. If you don’t know the answer to some questions, find them before you go on the show. The Sharks may try to fluster you with constant questions about the smallest details of your company’s finances and operations. If they succeed, they’ll be in a stronger negotiating position, giving them a higher percentage of ownership in your company. The solution? Know your business inside and out so there’s no possibility of getting flustered. If you don’t know anything about accounting, hire an accountant to get your company’s finances in order and then have them explain everything to you so you can confidently discuss – in detail – your profits, losses, projections, EBITDA, and anything else the sharks might ask you. Your knowledge and confidence will lead to better offers.