What’s a “Shark Tank” Appearance Worth? A Top Spot in the App Store.
Garrett Gee’s startup Scan didn’t necessarily need the $1 million he was pitching investors for on Friday night’s episode of ABC’s entrepreneurship show, “Shark Tank.” After all, Gee had recently raised $7 million at a $21 million valuation for Scan from Google Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Entree Capital.
“We were open to a deal, but exposure was definitely a top priority/perk,” Gee wrote in an email to AllThingsD on Friday night after the show aired.
And, boy, has that exposure paid off so far. Gee’s startup Scan makes a QR-code-scanning mobile app for individuals and a code-creating service for businesses.
Before the show aired, Scan’s $1.99 app was No. 5 among Utilities apps in Apple’s App Store, and No. 150 among all paid apps. After the show aired, Scan shot up to No. 1 among paid apps in the Utilities category, and No. 25 among all paid apps. It’s also listed first among all paid apps in the Windows Phone store.
That should make the startup’s investors feel better — some of them were not supportive of the appearance on the show, according to Gee.
“Some investors thought that ‘Shark Tank’ was too quirky, and they were worried about our reputation,” he said.
“Ultimately, we just needed to make the decision ourselves,” he added.
While Gee’s appearance seems to have been a hit for awareness, at least in the short term, his pitch fell short of landing him the $1 million investment.
Kevin O’Leary, an entrepreneur-turned-mutual-fund-founder and one of the shows judges (or “sharks”), was underwhelmed by the startup’s 50 million free app downloads, since they weren’t accompanied by much revenue.
“Show me the money, not the downloads,” O’Leary told Gee on the show.
Billionaire entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also passed, mostly because he believes QR codes are a thing of the past.
“In a sensor-driven world, these don’t exist,” he said.
Scan’s app lets users scan bar codes and QR codes using the phone’s camera. Businesses that create these codes using Scan can link their social network accounts, websites or phone numbers to a code, so people who scan it can follow the company on social media or make a phone call with one tap after scanning.
The company also recently announced a “scan to pay” function that lets scanners make a donation or purchase digital goods with a tap or two after scanning the code.
“Passing a physical good is more complicated, so we will start by focusing digital then go physical,” Gee said of the new approach to payments.