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'Shark Tank' Season 13: Why were the Sharks hesitant to invest in Pricklee?

Pricklee is a delectable beverage made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus
'Shark Tank' Season 13 (ABC)
'Shark Tank' Season 13 (ABC)

Mohammed Hassoun and Kun Yang, two entrepreneurs from Boston, Massachusetts, pitched Pricklee in Season 13 of 'Shark Tank.' But the Sharks were not convinced by their pitch, even though they believed they had a groundbreaking product in hand.

Although coconut water is a delicious and healthful beverage, it has grown rather repetitive over time due to the lack of other plant-based beverages on the market. During Season 13, Episode 22 of 'Shark Tank,' pharmacy postgraduates from Newton, Massachusetts, addressed the issue and proposed an alternative solution. They debuted Pricklee, a delectable beverage made from the fruit of the prickly pear cactus. The Sharks were quite impressed with the company, but found it hard to make a deal.


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Pricklee co-founder, Mohammed Hassoun on 'Shark Tank' Season 13 (ABC)

Pricklee is an alternative to coconut water for individuals who dislike the flavor. The drink is described as a "delicious, hydrating beverage packed with antioxidants and prepared from a common desert shrub." (Thank you, cactus!) In addition, it has half the sugar and calories of coconut water. Mango Ginger, Strawberry Hibiscus, and Prickly Pear are the three flavors available in Pricklee.

Even though Kun Yang and Mohammed Hassoun were confident in their product and pitch, the Sharks' lack of interest in investing in a beverage startup made them nervous. Kevin O' Leary was happy to point out everything that prevents him from making beverage deals. He discussed how the company's high shipping expenses were preventing them from making more money. He also mentioned that retail distribution, client acquisition, and production scaling are issues that many small retail enterprises face. There's no point in investing in a company that hasn't found out how to address these issues. He did, however, make a $200k bid for a 20% ownership.



Barbara Corcoran, on the other hand, shares her beverage sector experience. She recalls a time when she invested in a beverage company and continued to lose money year after year. Her business experience has made her wary of investing in a beverage company further. Mark Cuban, who had expressed interest in the offer at one point, suddenly withdrew when he and the Pricklee founders couldn't agree on the stock split. Pricklee's co-founders were adamant about not giving up more than 5% of their company's equity, since it would cost them in the long run and make it impossible to obtain additional funds.

When the entrepreneurs feel themselves in the thick of the sharks' proposals, they reply with a $200k line of credit in exchange for a 5% ownership. Kevin stated that he would accept a 10% cut in exchange for a royalty. Barbara finally joins in, offering to raise the same amount of money for 5% of the equity, since she wants to see them succeed. Barbara believes Kevin was attempting to loot the entrepreneurs with such a large stake, which causes a breach between the two sharks. After much back-and-forth, the Pricklee's co-founders decided to accept Barbara's offer and close the deal.