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‘Shark Tank’: Cuban, MBA Alum Make Deal

Monday, March 19, 2012

“I think you get it, I like your deal.”

When University of San Diego MBA alumnus Stephan Aarstol ‘99 spoke those words last Friday night, he officially became business partners with billionaire Mark Cuban. The entire deal came together with millions of television viewers watching it happen.

The agreement was made during Aarstol’s March 16 appearance on an episode of ABC-TV’s reality show, “Shark Tank.” Aarstol and Cuban, who owns the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, agreed to a investment deal involving Pacific Beach-based Tower Paddle Boards.

Cuban cut a deal with Aarstol that requires him to invest $150,000 in exchange for 30 percent ownership of Tower Paddle Boards. Cuban also gets first-refusal rights to any future businesses that Aarstol pursues.

The deal Aarstol agreed to matched his initial ask of $150,000, but exceeded his initial offer of a 10-percent stake in the company, which sells stand-up paddleboards and accessories through its website.

The premise of the “Shark Tank” show is having millionaire and billionaire investors who listen to entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas. It’s the investor’s money, not that of the show’s, that is used in making any deal.

The investor panelists are candid in their comments and contestants have to be ready for anything.

Aarstol balked at an earlier, higher offer provided by another investor on the panel, Kevin O’Leary, as well as a counteroffer by O’Leary for $150,000, 25 percent and the first-refusal stipulation once Cuban had revealed his offer.

The episode was actually filmed several months ago and Aarstol had to wait for the show’s airing before he could reveal the outcome.

— Ryan T. Blystone

Check out ABC’s “Shark Tank” episode with Aarstol, who is the show’s first contestant, from March 16.

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