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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Notehall founders strike deal on ‘Shark Tank’

DJ Stephan, left, and Sean Conway, right, receive congratulations from venture capitalist Kevin OLeary, center, at the conclusion of Shark Tank, and ABC series featuring entrepreneurs looking for capital to boost their company. Stephan and Conway took away $90,000 for a %10 stake in their company.
DJ Stephan, left, and Sean Conway, right, receive congratulations from venture capitalist Kevin O’Leary, center, at the conclusion of Shark Tank, and ABC series featuring entrepreneurs looking for capital to boost their company. Stephan and Conway took away $90,000 for a %10 stake in their company.

A group of UA alumni has successfully found its way out of dangerous waters.

Notehall, an online marketplace for students to buy and sell class notes, is in the process of completing a $90,000 deal as a result of an apperance last week on the ABC show “”Shark Tank.””

The money will be used to expand the company, said Sean Conway, one of Notehall’s founders, who graduated from the UA in 2007 with a degree in entrepreneurship.

On the show, entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of successful businesspeople in the hope of convincing one of the so-called “”sharks”” to invest in their business. Of the various deals offered to them on the show, the Notehall team chose to accept the $90,000 deal from investor Barbara Corcoran, whose real estate business is worth $5 billion. The deal that Corcoran made with Notehall is similar to a loan, Conway said.

“”That’s unheard of coming from a shark like that,”” he said.

During the negotiations on the show, Conway and DJ Stephan, a former entrepreneurship student and the company’s chief marketing officer, were able to discuss their options in private. They also spoke with Justin Miller, a co-founder of the company and an accounting senior at the UA, on the phone to get his advice.

They chose Corcoran instead of the other sharks because they felt she was genuine, the Notehall team said.

“”She believed in us more than the other guys,”” Conway said.

Notehall is still in negotiations with Corcoran to settle the deal.

“”Everything she does in the show, she’s very serious about pursuing,”” Conway said.

Since the show, Notehall has made deals with other investors as well.

Jim Jindrick, mentor-in-residence with the UA’s McGuire Entrepreneurship Program, said he briefly discussed the show with his students.

“”It’s sort of a composite of the type of environment an entrepreneur goes through,”” he said.

However, Jindrick acknowledged that there is an element of Hollywood-style performance in the show.

“”In reality there’s a lot more that goes on in that negotiation process,”” he said.

Many people have good ideas, but do not know how to effectively communicate those ideas to investors, Jindrick said.

“”It was the business plan (Conway) had behind the idea that would interest investors,”” he said.

Besides the investments in the company, the publicity Notehall received from the show has also been valuable. On Tuesday, the day the episode aired, Notehall was the number one searched item on Google, according to Google Trends.

The Notehall team is very pleased with the way the show turned out, and is optimistic for the future, Conway said.

“”We’re going to grow to unbelievable heights,”” he said. “”We have the product. It’s all about growth now.””

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