The Measuring Shovel
The Measuring Shovel is one of those products that appear on Shark Tank that is just such common sense, a viewer might naturally wonder, "How is that not already a thing?" In this case, the Measuring Shovel is literally a shovel with yardstick markings on the handle invented by a thirteen year-old.
As the inventor and entrepreneur pointed out, planting flowers and trees too close together is bad for the plants because their roots choke each other off. To prevent this from happening, and to give his own planting a little bit of uniformity, he marked up his own shovel handle with measurements so he could space out his seedlings.
The first prototype was built when the inventor was only in the Fourth Grade. Since then, it has been refined to feature measurement markings going up and down the handle on both sides and is intended to be used in lieu of a measuring tape or yard stick. Essentially, it's two products in one, and it is not intended to be used for super accurate measuring, more for rough diggings and the like. The entrepreneur claims that his father has friends in construction that actually prefer his shovel.
The Measuring Shovel is not currently in production and the entrepreneur says that what the sharks are seeing is actually just a prototype but he does claim to have a patent. He also says that he has researched what it would take to have it manufactured and says that the first batch would require between $15,000 and $25,000 in capital.
Currently, a standard non-measuring shovel costs between $10 and $30 at retail and the entrepreneur claims that the upper end of that price spectrum is always a better product. In contrast, he believes that his shovel would cost $10 to manufacture. He also admits that this is on the high side. Lori responds that, based on what she's seeing, it really shouldn't cost any more than a traditional shovel to make.
When asked whether he would consider licensing his product, the entrepreneur states that he would be open to licensing but would also like to get into manufacturing. To that end, he's asking the sharks for money so he can get a mold made and then the first 2,000 units manufactured.
Making A Deal
Robert quickly exits the deal stating that he's just not passionate about the idea and doesn't see the benefits. Mark, likewise, drops out stating that he has the very opposite of a green thumb and "didn't even know it was a shovel" until he was told.
Kevin seems to like the idea, stating that, if costs were the same, people would always go for the Measuring Shovel when given the choice. He cites Benjilock, a deal he made in season nine of an example where he's seen this happen. He then asks Lori if she'd like to partner up to do a licensing deal. Lori and Kevin then offer $40,000 in exchange for 30% of the business.
Guest shark Daniel Lubetzky also seems to like the product and states that he thinks it would be fun to work with the entrepreneur. But instead of licensing, he says that he'd like to help the entrepreneur build the business, presumably the manufacturing side of the business. To do this, he would need 25% of the business.
The entrepreneur counters Kevin and Lori at 25% equity but Mr. Wonderful doesn't want any part of it, stating that the entrepreneur is making a deal with two sharks and that means giving up more of his business. When the entrepreneur tries to get $50,000 from them instead of just the original $40,000 to go along with more equity, Kevin again says no.
In the end, the entrepreneur takes the deal, partnering up with Kevin and Lori in exchange for a 50% bite of his company's value. It must be a pretty incredible place for a fourteen year-old inventor to be.
- This reminded your Stats Shark of The Smart Baker from season three that made a baker's apron that featured common measurement conversions on the apron itself that were written upside down so the baker could read it by just looking down. Super common sense and, yet, not a product being made until after appearing and making a deal with Barbara Corcoran.