On Sunday’s “Shark Tank,” a game inventor asked the sharks important questions like: How much money would it take for Mr. Wonderful himself, shark Kevin O’Leary, to walk around for a week with wet socks?
Dan Killian is the creator of the card game Pricetitution, where the tagline is “Everyone has a price.” Similar in presentation to Cards Against Humanity, the game draws from the age old adage that there’s a price for everything – like, say, getting someone to wear a diaper.
Sort of an at-home version of “The Price is Right,” players try to guess how much money the player would charge for the outrageous feat, and whoever gets closest to the correct answer wins the round.
For O’Leary’s wet-socks demo, the amount was $792,000, with guest shark Rohan Oza winning by guessing $1 million.
Killian is 31, with a background in psychology and improv comedy, and worked nine years at a creative advertising agency. He quit to pursue the creation of the game, and was seeking $100,000 for 20% of his company.
“I did the one thing every 30-something-year-old can only dream of,” Killian said, before pausing for deadpan delivery. “Oh yeah, I moved back home with my parents.”
Both mom and dad were present on a stage re-creation of their living room. Killian’s father was reading the newspaper while his mother popped around the corner with cookies for the sharks.
Funding the game on Kickstarter, Killian had $40,000 in sales in the two months his company’s been in business. He said he’d received offers from the world’s largest toy manufacturer and the world’s largest playing card company, but turned down both because their offers didn’t match his vision for the game.
“All you need is a shark who knows royalties to negotiate that for you,” O’Leary said hoping to be that shark. He offered Killian the $100,000 for a 50/50 partnership. “I thought this was poo-poo on a stick. I thought you were just a bum living at home with your parents. Now I’m wondering, ‘Is this a dumb idea or not?’ Maybe it has potential.”
Oza figured he could do Killian one better, offering the same amount of money for a 40% stake. Oza saw value in the card game’s package: “I have a pretty damn good background at building brands. I think you have a great name here that could be built into a brand.”
Shark Lori Greiner made Killian the same offer of $100,000 for 40%, but for shark Mark Cuban, the game and its extreme prompts proved too risky: “I like the game but I already know reading some of these, somebody would do it then I would get sued. Literally. Or someone would read it, and the media would say, ‘Mark Cuban encourages someone to have a sex tape.’ ”
Shark Barbara Corcoran’s offer had some contingencies. She also wanted a 50/50 partnership on the stipulation that Killian focus on turning the game into an online app instead.
“You’re so greedy,” O’Leary said without a hint of irony. “Four offers, Dan. Mom and Dad, can you believe this?”
Before Killian made his choice, Oza and Greiner decided to partner. For 40%, Killian would get two sharks instead of one. Killian tried to talk them down, but decided not to fight them on 5%.
He paused to consult with his parents and his mother nodded proudly.
“That was the nod,” Killian said. “That was what I was looking for, so you two got a deal.”
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