The third entrepreneur into the Shark Tank this week presented her business DARTdrones and was seeking $300k in exchange for 10 percent of the business. She has developed one of the first national drone training school for both commercial drone pilots and hobbyists.
As for the numbers, in only 18 months they did $520k in sales. They are on track to see between $900k and $1.2Mill in sales next year. They have 22 instructors in 27 cities with 250 years of combined flight experience. As of the filming of their episode an 8 hour class costs $400.
As this entrepreneur was presenting her business, I just kept getting more and more excited about it! She had all the right answers and seems to be on exactly the right path!
She is currently going through the process of developing new curriculum to put increased focus on commercial drone flight. As a commercial drone user myself, I can tell you that I am seeing more and more competition in this space. There are definitely still hobbyists out there, but the commercial drone market is growing rapidly!
As for her marketing plan, it is spot on! She is working with colleges to license out the curriculum, she is partnering with hobby shops for references, and her plan for the future is to partner with the manufacturers themselves and get info about DARTdrones into their boxes. Customer acquisition is everything for this business, and she is doing a spectacular job of reaching out to her target demographic!
As I mentioned before, I use a drone in my business so I might be a bit biased on this one, but I just love this concept and hope that she continues to expand the brand and keep building the curriculum. Something I would really love to see them start doing is offering short pieces of video content for YouTube. Obviously they don’t want to just give away everything for free, but if they were to release quick tips, drone reviews, Q&A’s and other content along those lines, I think it would be a powerful marketing tool to reach even more people with their courses.
Anyway, as cool as I think this is, it seems like Mark Cuban was even more excited about it! Kevin was able to get in there with an offer of $300k for 15%, but Mark didn’t want to mess around with any back and forth. He threw out an offer of $300k for 10%, exactly what she walked in asking for, and to my great relief she accepted the deal immediately! This is the only kind of situation in which I advocate for people to take the deal before hearing out all the Sharks. Mark obviously saw something awesome in her business and just wanted in as quickly as possible. He was willing to take a little less than he might have liked for the opportunity to get in before the other Sharks had their say.
I am so excited for this entrepreneur and I wish her luck! I might just be a customer at some point in the future, too!