RewardStock owner and CEO Jonathan Hayes braved the waters of ABC’s “Shark Tank” on Sunday and swam away with a pretty sweet deal.
RewardStock is a Cary-based online company that helps users save money on travel by showing them how to earn and use frequent flier miles and credit card points to pay for trips. It was started by Jonathan Hayes, a former Wall Street investment banker who grew up in Raleigh and attended Leesville Road High School and the North Carolina School of Science and Math.
Hayes got the idea for the company after spending three weeks researching how to use credit card points to pay for his honeymoon to the Maldives. He said he ended up paying about $200 for a $40,000 trip.
On Sunday’s show, Hayes asked for $200,000 in exchange for 5 percent of his company. Hayes explained how his company works and then brought out island dancers, who presented the judges with coconut drinks and leis.
Hayes then took questions and talked numbers with the judges. Three of the judges respectfully bowed out right away, leaving Hayes to negotiate with Kevin Leary and Mark Cuban. Leary wanted 10 percent of the company instead of 5 percent for his $200,000. Cuban also said he’d need 10 percent as well, but offered Hayes $320,000.
Hayes accepted Cuban’s deal.
“The experience was very intense,” Hayes told The News & Observer last week. “It’s not for the faint of heart. But I certainly feel like I was prepared and that I was able to kind of succinctly describe what our objective is as a company for the service we provide.”
Hayes said he recommends going on “Shark Tank” if someone has the opportunity and thinks they could benefit from it. Just steady your nerves, he warns.
“It was a great experience to go through, even though it was probably the most stressful thing I’ve ever done.”
You can watch the episode online at abc.com, but you’ll need to sign in with a cable or satellite account.