Mark Cuban called this CEO a ‘great example’ for any ‘Shark Tank’ contestant—he landed 3 offers and a $200,000 deal


Successful business owners do at least one thing in common, according to Mark Cuban: They experiment.

Take Josh Thurmond, whose 3-year-old company LavaBox sells portable campfires — think Solo Stoves, but smaller — that took repeated trial-and-error to finally get right, he said on Friday’s episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”

While on a camping trip, someone asked Thurmond to create a firepit that wasn’t so “massive” and “cumbersome,” Thurmond said. “I went home. I built seven prototypes, and seven was the best one. I put it out on the market and I sold 40 in a week.”

By the time of the episode’s taping, the Denver-based startup had brought in $610,000 in 2022 revenue, and was on track to hit $1.2 million by the end of the year, Thurmond said.

Cuban, himself a billionaire entrepreneur, seemed impressed by Thurmond’s commitment to getting his product right. “What a great example for entrepreneurs,” he said. “You figure it out, you do multiple versions of a prototype, keep on testing and iterating and you put them out there to see if people buy it.”

Thurmond asked the show’s panel of investors — including Cuban — for $200,000 of funding, in exchange for a 10% equity stake in LavaBox. He also wanted help getting his products into stores like Target and Bass Pro Shops, noting that his online store was “totally sold out all the time.”

Kevin O’Leary made a counter-offer: $200,000 for 20% equity, saying he had “millions of followers who’d be interested” in the product if “Chef Wonderful gets behind it.”

Daymond John quickly matched the offer. Then, Lori Greiner asked Thurmond a question: What’s the most important thing to you in a partner?

“I think I’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting. It’s going to be an easy partnership on that side,” Thurmond said. “I do want somebody I can call and say should I make this call or should I make this call?”

“I will be that person there at 11 o’clock at night or whenever … 1 o’clock at night,” Greiner responded. “My entrepreneurs … they call me all around the clock.”

She offered Thurmond $200,000 for a 15% equity stake, adding a 75 cent royalty per product sold until making back her investment. John tried to undercut her, going down to 15% equity with no royalties, before O’Leary took it a step further: 10% equity with no royalties.

Greiner offered 12.5% equity, with her 75 cent royalty add-on — and wouldn’t budge from there. Thurmond accepted, choosing her partnership over O’Leary’s cheaper offer.

“I would have been happy with whoever I got from the Sharks, but I was really happy to get Lori,” he said. “That’s who I wanted coming in. And she really is the right fit for me with my small product.”

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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