FORBES - Dec 7 - Last Valentine's Day, Goldman Sachs alum Brendan Alper, 30, launched his new dating app, Hater, which matches people based on what they hate rather than what they love. At business pitch show Shark Tank that aired Nov 26, Alper struck a deal with Mark Cuban. He will invest $200k in exchange for a 10% stake in the company, valuing Hater at $2M. Just before the show, Alper had raised $500K from a venture firm called Sweet Capital, which bought a 12.5% stake, valuing the company at twice as much.
Q: How did your appearance on Shark Tank come about?
A: They reached out to us.
Q: What was the most challenging part about applying?
A: The application process is very difficult and lengthy. You have to pass several tests at various rounds to proceed to the next stage.
Q: What did they tell you about whether your segment would air?
A: That's the hardest part psychologically. You don't know through the entire process whether you’re going to make it.
Q: What was the taping like?
A: Very stressful. We rehearsed the pitch 100 times. But you don't know what they're going to ask. None of that is scripted.
Q: Which of their questions were toughest to answer?
A: How are you going to make money and what are you going to do about growth? Why should we invest in you based on your relatively small number of users compared to other apps? We have 750K users worldwide.
Q: Match.com has 21M users. How can you compete?
A: Our app isn't just for dating. It's for meeting in a social capacity. We can't compete purely from a numbers perspective.
Q: Why did you do a deal with Mark Cuban when other sharks were offering you more money?
A: To be honest, the one thing we didn't really prepare for was picking a shark. It's a strange thing to have to make a decision in 10 seconds. Also we'd just closed a $500,000 investment from another investor so the money didn't matter so much to us.
Q: But your other deal valued the company at twice the amount Mark Cuban's offer did. Why dilute the value of your company so much?
A: There are a lot of unique benefits that come from working with the right person.
Q: How did your other investors react to you selling a stake to Mark Cuban for half of what they paid?
A: No investor likes to see that happen but they understood the context.
Q: Where does your deal with Mark Cuban stand now?
A: We had to sign a non-disclosure agreement so I can't talk about it. But it's being worked out now.
Q: How has your appearance on the show affected your business?
A: We got a lot more downloads.