The 112th episode of Shark Tank was about a company called Ink Flip. This company is known for providing printing cartridge replacement services. Andy Sperry came up with the idea of Ink Flip when he faced difficulty printing last-minute reports.
He came up with a refill service that was similar to Netflix’s DVD rental program. It helped people deal with replacement cartridge costs. All customers need to do is to mail them the empty cartridges and receive new ones in return. As a result, last-minute printing doesn’t become the hassle that it used to be before this service came along.
What Is Ink Flip?
The idea is so effective that it gets you wondering why this wasn’t done before. First of all, using this product is effortless. Secondly, it is affordable and safe for the environment.
Moreover, Ink Flip also provides its customers with reusable cartridges of toner that are refurbished and perfect for any printing job.
Let’s suppose you have run out of toner. The Ink Flip service will allow you to send the used cartridge back, and they will send you a refilled one that is prepaid. It saves time, as well as 70% of the toner, and you also don’t have to pay for any shipping charges. Also, the service comes with a money-back guarantee.
Who Founded Ink Flip?
Andy Sperry is the founder of Ink Flip. Andy Sperry belongs to Franklin, Tennessee. The primary reason why he is in business is helping his clients and enabling them to save time and money while doing the environment a favor.
With Ink Flip, you simply rent an ink cartridge instead of purchasing one, which also doesn’t come cheap. The cartridges come in a pre-stamped box which can be transported back to the company after it is empty. With Ink Flip, you will never run out of printer Ink, as you will have a refilled cartridge, whenever you run out of ink.
Before Shark Tank
Ink Flip started out by selling custom tattoos. The company got into printing cartridges later on. Andy Sperry promises that his unique product will make things a lot simpler for computer users, who are always struggling with ink and paper. Ink Flip uses the same business model as Netflix, but instead of video rental, it is more about ink cartridges.
Andy Sperry has been in the corporate space for quite some time now, and even before Ink Flip, he knew that the only way to become financially strong was to become his own boss and not serve anyone else.
Andy and his wife were stuck in the middle of a financial crisis. Whenever they would discuss a future with their children, they knew the first thing they had to do was to get out of debt. All he had to do was to get the word out regarding Ink Flip, and that was why he showed up on the Shark Tank.
How Was the Shark Tank Pitch?
Andy went to the Shark Tank as he needed $150,000 for a 20% share in the company. He started his pitch with real confidence, and he even compared it to an online movie renting service. The only difference was, he was talking about a printer ink refill.
Kevin O’ Leary and Robert Herjavec asked how he would continue with this business, considering the strict competition that prevails in the market. They also asked how any established manufacturer would allow anyone to steal their revenue.
Andy Sperry handled the questions very well, but Leary came in with the toughest question. He asked if the business had made any money. Sperry told Leary that the business had already made $6000 during the last six months. However, Leary was far from impressed, as he expected more.
Then, Leary was more interested in knowing the number of people who use this service each month, and what was the profit margin for the business altogether.
Leary also wanted to figure out the cost of acquiring a customer that could earn the company an annual revenue of $70. Sperry then went on to clarify that he was unaware, and the reason why he showed up on the Shark Tank was to learn from other sharks.
This is what the Sharks had to say.
- According to Herjavec, Sperry knew nothing about acquisition costsand said that his strategy was based primarily on obtaining customers.
- Barbara Corcoran wanted to know the amount Sperry had put into the business. She said that Sperry hadn’t done his job welland left.
- Leary backed off without even knowing how much growing the consumer base would
- Herjavec backed off by saying that he couldn’t give Sperry $150,000 to go out thereand test the market.
At the end, Sperry had to exit the show without any investment.
After Shark Tank
The reason why the Sharks failed to provide Sperry with an investment was because he was unaware of the costs of attracting a new customer. Furthermore, they were least interested in investing because they thought that Ink Flip was a fairly young business, and the risk of investing in such a business was too high. What Sperry needed was more time to figure out ways to grow the business, attract new clients, and also examine the competitive market he was dealing in.
If you visit their website, you will find it hackneyed and old-fashioned compared to the latest websites.
If you visit their Facebook page, you will see that the page was last updated somewhere in 2011. Whether or not they are still operating still remains a mystery. By looking at their website and their Facebook page, it seems as if the business is long gone. Andy could have bagged an investment, had he done some research before appearing on the show.
Andy Sperry sometimes writes about his Shark Tank experience on his Facebook page or his website. It is surprising, but Andy is somehow still running his business despite it being a failure. It is sad to see his business in such a position, despite Andy’s passion for his work.
It shows that passion and grit aren’t everything, and to succeed you need to have in-depth knowledge of what is happening around you, as well as the techniques and the costs of getting new customers on board.