On the business show Among the Sharks, billionaire investors look for ways to break into the start-up world. CYCLE founder Sunny and online sales manager Albert tell us about their experiences on the show.
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Sunny Bhasin is the founder of CYCLE, a company that produces household cleaning products from wastewater using patented, innovative technology. It has not only competed against environmentally harmful cleaning products containing petrochemicals, but also against eco-cleaners. CYCLE cleaners are made from raw materials extracted from waste and clean effectively with the power of acetic acid. The unique product was presented to the Sharks by Sunny and Albert on the March 6 broadcast.
Why did you decide to be on the show? What was your goal?
Sunny: We had two ideas in mind. One was that by being on TV we could reach more people and get our message out to them. What is the difference between conventional or even eco and recycled cleaning products and why it is important. The second is to find an investor who will not only give us money, but also many other advantages: international contacts, experience in the market.
Albert: We felt that this is a show where we can reach out to people who are interested in new things, including CYCLE, to bring our philosophy to more people. We also thought it would be interesting for investors to get involved with us in the development of the company.
"We want to bring people closer to circular thinking, household by household."
How did you prepare for the shoot?
Sunny: To be honest, I did not prepare much. Albert knows that. I am not the kind of person who practices a lot before a presentation. I read what Albert wrote and I was there. And then we just did everything together as it came. Right, Albert?
Albert: Yes, exactly. We had several weeks to practice the pitch, but we ended up learning it in the dressing room before the show.
Sunny: Albert was a bit worried about that.
We both just laughed about that. Then Albert went on to answer.
Albert: Of course, we watched previous programmes and we talked about which sharks might be interesting for us, but we did not overdo the practice.
How was it to meet the sharks in person?
Albert: The sharks also had specific questions and suggestions, and were clearly trying to get a handle on our business plan. But they are not as strict as they appear on the show. They joked with us, they got the humour and the whole shoot was fun.
Sunny: It was better than I expected. What we do is not an everyday activity, and many people have a tough time understanding the story behind CYCLE. But I could see the interest in the sharks' eyes, that they wanted to understand why we were there. They were very friendly and asked lots of questions - they were interested in the topic. We were "in the aquarium" for almost 1.5 hours.
Were you depressed that you did not end up getting an investment?
Albert: I would not say no. Obviously it was part of the package, and it is not a good feeling, but at the same time it was positive the way they judged our company's activities. We were sent off at the end of the show with good intentions.
Sunny: Sure, it would have been nice. But when we went there, we knew we were making an unusual request: we were going to invest $175 million ourselves, and we were asking them to do the same. And each shark, for their own personal reasons, decided not to invest. But when I listened to them, they were right. I believed them, and there was a reason for everything.
What was most memorable for you about the show?
Sunny: After the shoot, we were in the waiting room with Peter Balogh and Sabina. They both came up to us to congratulate us sincerely and wish us good luck for the future. That meant a lot to me. If we did not get any investment, we won hearts.
Albert: The whole shoot was memorable, but there was one moment that I still remember fondly. At the end of the show, we were on our way out of the studio when the host, Lilu, called out after us that she was using CYCLE anyway.
What are your plans in the future?
Albert: Of course we will continue to work. The show has taught us a lot of lessons: we will try to incorporate what we learned there in a positive way into our future strategies and we hope that the concept behind CYCLE will continue to be exciting for the public. We want to bring people closer to circular thinking, household by household.
Sunny: We're moving on. We just keep doing what we are doing.