Shark tank features billionaires looking to find the next big thing, and at the Aggie Shark Tank 5 Las Cruces Sharks are looking to help local Startups grow in the community.
And the local sharks didn’t hold back, grilling each of the young entrepreneurs for around 20 minutes on why their product deserved an investment.
Las Cruces Shark Lou Sisbarro, head of the Sisbarro Dealerships, says this is a fun way to help grow local businesses.
“We need businesses in Las Cruces,” Sisbarro said. “We need young people in Las Cruces, and if we can keep some of these products into Las Cruces what’s going to happen, we’re going to create a better environment. And these guys deserve it. They work hard on a lot of these products and I want to see them be successful.”
Sisbarro invested $30,000 for a 25% stake in the company BrainSTEM created by Rajaa Shindi a recent Ph.D. graduate from NMSU’s Computer Science Program who developed a brain-training system to help assess and treat attention.
“So we just need to exercise the brain,” Shindi said. “And train the brain to pay attention and how long you pay attention. So the uniqueness of the product is that it’s an interactive system, so you interact in a three-dimensional setting. So, that’s why kids are very engaged in the system.”
Lou Sisbarro says the product is necessary to try to help kids and their parents affected by attention disorders.
“You know I’m not looking to make the money on it, but it’s a humanitarian product. I think it’s something that’s really needed. If it works 10% of what she says it’s very worthwhile for a person with ADD and I had a son who had it. So I know what parents go through, so I think it’s a great health product.”
Rajaa Shindi also walked away with two cash prizes totaling $3,500 for both the shark favorite and the crowd favorite. She says she still can’t believe it.
“Because I’m so passionate about this solution,” Shindi said. “It’s a dream come true. Because someone is believing in my work, and someone is believing in what I’m proposing. And I’m excited because it’s going to help. This is really going to help millions and billions of children out there.”
Even companies that didn’t get the funding still took a lot out of the experience. One of those entrepreneurs was Chris Dunn one of the partners in the social media company Flooid Lingo, an app that provides a dictionary for social media sites.
“One thing we know is our application has a specific demographic,” Dunn said. “We are targeting those people between the ages of 16-29 that’s really our users. So, our users at that age probably aren’t going to be investors. They haven’t made their big money yet, so we have to kind of figure out how do we appeal, and how do we make sure that we are easy to understand for the investors who maybe aren’t our particular target audience.”
Sisbarro says even when the Sharks don’t invest their money they still continue to work with the young entrepreneurs.
“We keep in touch with them,” Sibarro said. “And we try to mentor. I think that’s the biggest thing is mentoring, and I think in the future we are going to have a couple of these where we are just going to be mentoring and not buying into.”
$45,000 dollars in investments was given to two companies in the Aggie Shark Tank.