Barefoot Running Shoe Company Walks From $400,000 Offer on Shark Tank

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Boulder-based barefoot sandal company, Xero Shoes, rejects an investment offer of almost half a million dollars from Kevin O'Leary on the ABC hit show Shark Tank

Barefoot running shoe company turns down Shark's investment offer

Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandal co-founders Lena Phoenix and Steven Sashen

Even Mark Cuban thought we were crazy... we'll see.

Xero Shoes co-founders, Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix, turned down a $400,000 investment offer from Kevin O’Leary on the hit ABC television show Shark Tank.

“We’ve gotten emails from people who are stunned that we walked away from an offer for almost half a million dollars,” says Sashen. “But,” adds Phoenix, “Kevin wanted 50% of our company in exchange for that investment, which was never going to happen.”

The couple, who are also husband and wife, originally offered 8% of their company for the $400k. This valued their 3 year old start up at $5,000,000. “Compared to other companies in our industry, and based on our sales,” Sashen says, “this was a relatively middle-of-the-road valuation.” During the show, Sashen offered to devalue the equity by 20%, countering O’Leary with a 10% equity offer.

“You’re crazy,” O’Leary responded.

Perhaps not, though.

Since the airing of their episode of the business-reality show on February 1st, Xero Shoes has revenues of over $150,000. Phoenix says, “If they re-air our episode when it’s not Winter – we do sell barefoot sandals, after all – we could earn more than we were trying to raise without having sacrificed any of the equity in our rapidly growing company.”

Sashen adds, “While we went on the show hoping that 2 or even 3 of the Sharks would bite at our deal, we couldn’t be happier with the results.” Browsing the company’s website and Facebook pages shows that many customers and Shark Tank fans agree, thinking the Boulder couple were correct in walking away from “Mr. Wonderful’s” offer.

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