Some students struggle creatively, especially in a world where art isn’t a priority. Entrepreneurs Dwayne Walker and Time Samuel created an art education platform to help kids and teens express themselves. After pitching it on Shark Tank Season 13, what will the sharks think of this colorful idea? Keep reading our Sparketh update to find out.
Shark Tank Sparketh Update
- Entrepreneur: Dwayne Walker and Tim Samuel
- Business: Online art education for kids and teens
- Ask: $100,000 for 8% equity
- Result: $100,000 for 20% equity, contingent on profit after six months
- Shark: Barbara Cocoran and Daniel Lubetzky
Entrepreneurs Dwayne Walker and Tim Samuel were childhood friends, and as adults found the entrepreneurial spirit. Their online art education app and website, Sparketh, focuses on teaching kids and teens art techniques and allows them to share their work.
Walker and Samuel dropped out of college in 2015 to start the business. Samuel suffers from sickle cell disease, and his work ethic has often landed him in the hospital. Still, his tenacity keeps him going. Samuel runs the video side of the business, filming tutorials and techniques for the website. Walker, the artist, asks the sharks to do a quick art demonstration. It’s a charming, interactive pitch.
And then they get into the numbers, which are somewhat less charming. Walker and Samuel reveal that they did $300,000 in sales in 2020, which is an improvement over their sales in previous years. However, none of their customers are paying past 12 months. For a subscription-based service, that doesn’t look very good. Customers offer about $160 in lifetime value, but it costs the entrepreneurs $51 to acquire that customer.
Some of the sharks are visibly put off by these numbers, as the business is only breaking even and is not profitable for them. They say they’ll use the money to create more content and build a better website, and that they are on track to do $500,000 in sales this year. Is it enough to sway the sharks?
Lori Greiner is the first to drop out. She loves the idea, but she says she’s not an ‘app person,’ so it’s not for her. Kevin O’Leary, of course, has an issue with the high valuation. Since the company isn’t profitable, he doesn’t see it. The entrepreneurs say it’s for the vision, but Kevin wants to see a return on his investment. He drops out as well.
Mark Cuban says that he wants them to have something that makes them stand out. There are free Youtube videos that do the same thing, and they don’t require a subscription to access. Since the entrepreneurs don’t have anything to ‘hang their hats on,’ so Mark is out.
This leaves Barabara Corcoran and guest shark Daniel Lubetzky. Barbara says she’s looking for a reason to invest, despite the lack of profits. The entrepreneurs have repeatedly said that they could be profitable if they wanted to, which prompts Barbara to make a deal. She’ll give them $100,000 for 20% equity, with a contingency: they have to be profitable after six months.
Guest shark Daniel Lubetzky agrees with Barbara. He loves the entrepreneur’s spirit and is especially sympathetic to Samuel’s struggle with sickle cell. However, he doesn’t think that they’re taking it seriously enough. He says he’ll go in with Barbara, even if it’s for 10% equity because he wants to mentor these entrepreneurs.
They accept, which leads to a four-way hug. Keep reading our Sparketh update to find out where the company is now.
Sparketh might not have seen ‘The Shark Tank Effect’ quite yet, but their website is still going strong. They offer a free one-month trial with access to their entire art course library, as well as special course ‘tracks’ for different types of art — animals, nature, basic elements, food, and portraits. You don’t have to stick to one track, as your subscription allows you to access their entire course library. You can also buy a year of Sparketh for $250, which is a discount on their $25 subscription fee.
Since the airing of this episode, Sparketh seems to have added new courses, new instructors, and more content to its website. During our Sparketh update research, we were unable to find any new reported sales numbers but will let you know when we do!
Before you go, be sure to check out some other company updates from Shark Tank Season 13 Episode 3:
For more on Shark Tank Season 13, be sure to check out our Season 13 products page.