On June 26, 2018, Gamify’s Managing Director Tony Walden and myself (John Shannon, CEO), both made an appearance on Shark Tank Australia, in order to pitch Gamify and its valuation (video link at the bottom of page).
This wasn’t just an opportunity for the both of us to pitch the business but also a chance to meet some of our personal business mentors while simultaneously accumulating millions of dollars worth of free marketing for Gamify in the process.
As excited as we were to get on TV, the realities of weathering the storm that is making business decisions in the middle of shooting a TV program can be quite daunting. You can discuss and plan out your path before the show gets underway but when the cameras start rolling, all kinds of curveballs can be thrown your way. Months of business plans and projections can be thrown out the window in that brief space of time.
Gamify, already having both investors and a strong valuation under its wings, simply saw the opportunity for Tony and myself to stand before the Sharks as a major positive for the company, striking a deal was not the priority, however it would of been a welcomed addition to the whole experience.
That being said, we definitely knew going in to shoot the episode that Steve Baxter had a history of investing in tech based startups. As far as we were concerned, Steve was our man, we had all of our numbers and figures ready for him, we gave our presentation and then without warning Janine Allis blindsided us with her history in Gamification Marketing.
After we stumbled over that fact, our original target being Steve, cuts-in on the presentation to announce that he is “carrying some scars from investments in the game space” before bowing out.
Once Steve, being one of the most learned Sharks in Gamification Marketing walked away from the offer, the Sharks feeling unfamiliar with this aspect of Tech followed suit. We found that we had come full circle back to Janine, with her history in successful Gamification.
Janine came forward to provide a counter to our original offer which more than halved our original valuation, this was not enticing, yet it wasn’t completely undesirable as Janine and her digital team surely would have delivered on their end.
Navigating the ebb and flows of offers and counter-offers between business partners and sharks while the pressure of studio time is applied can make for an overwhelming experience. Fortunately Tony and I have a business relationship built on trust and transparency, which allowed for us to walk away from an offer we felt was beyond what the business needed.
To be completely transparent, it felt good to walk away from the offer in the end, to stand tall and declare that we are not desperate, is a victorious feeling.
One can only imagine how mentally exhausting it would be for the Sharks to undergo so many presentations in such a short space of time. The Gamify team were the second last presentation out of an 82 contestant roster, across a 2 week shooting schedule. My heart went out to the panel of Sharks as I could see how drained the whole crew were feeling.
That being said, the whole panel of Sharks were rather warm and accomodating off camera. The support from the whole team between takes was quite encouraging for Tony and I.
When we were hearing from the judges, Naomi Simson mentioned on air that she wished to “try before she buys” while she was bowing out of the initial offer, something she followed up on the moment we were done with recording.
Naomi discussed with Tony and I about her hopes to promote a V8 supercar experience via her website based around gifting experiences, RedBalloon. Naomi’s biggest dilemma was her customer base was mostly female and felt that the supercar experience would go on the page mostly neglected unless she could promote a fun competition based around the experience.
Within a 2 week window, we had approved a proposal and developed a mini racing car game which would be used to host a competition to win a free V8 experience. We have the results from the campaign on our case studies page, however Naomi was so pleased with the results that she posted on her own Blog during the airing of our Shark Tank episode regarding the RedBalloon campaign.
Having that victory under our belt, it was time to have a viewing party for the Shark Tank episode with the Gamify team and friends.
Knowing full well that the post production crew at Shark Tank need to edit for drama, I couldn’t help but wonder what the final product would look like. Seeing the end result with my team was shared with laughs as we found that they managed to catch every silly look I didn't even know i was making at the time, needless to say the people on Twitter loved Tony and did not feel so strongly about me.
When I signed up for Shark Tank, I was well aware of what I was getting myself into and was actually surprised that the editing team really pulled their punches. All you can really do is laugh and move forward which is exactly what Gamify has done.
Cut forward a month later from the airing of Tony and I swimming with the sharks and the spike in enquiries from both local and international businesses is still consistently growing. One of the other many bonus's of being on shark tank was that wikipedia and more importantly wikiwand finally recognises us as a business, I received a phone call from the original American shark mr Kevin Harrington congratulating us on the episode.
The future of Gamify looks promising. We have great data to show Video Game engage customers for longer and leave them liking your brand (known as Positive Brand Association). I'm excited about the future technology's we want to bring on. More than just marketing we want to get into the gamified e-learning space to help schools & business onboard new people and have fun while learning.
Where in meeting's with companies like Archy Learning to partner with them to be able to access a wider customer reach, product offering and build the brand of Gamify.
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