Born and raised in Oklahoma, Jasmine Maietta grew up struggling to find her footing in society. Her Indian roots made it difficult for her to be different, so she turned to basketball to find her identity. She played in school and overseas tournaments and coached at the collegiate and high school levels. Realizing her passion for the craft, she pursued sports marketing and worked at notable companies like Reebok, Hasbro, and Under Armour for over six years. She last worked as vice president of brand marketing at Peloton before focusing all her efforts on her custom sports goods business, Round 21.
Marietta appeared on Shark Tank season 13, hoping to get a Shark to play hoops with her. She sought a $250,000 investment for 3% equity stakes in her company at an $8.3 million valuation.
Scroll down to know how the sharks reacted to her pitch!
What Is Round 21?
Round 21 is a custom sports goods business that helps sports people make a statement through art and sports. They connect sports personalities with talented artists who help them translate their opinions. These physical goods can be anything from basketball to a ping pong paddler and can be developed as an NFT to be used as a digital collectible. The NFT also comes with a membership that gives members exclusive insights and priority on new drops.
Founder and CEO Jasmine Maietta appeared on Shark Tank season 13 to pitch for her custom sports goods business, Round 21. She opened her pitch by redefining what sports have evolved to in recent years and calling it a new way of communicating with a large audience. She explained that now all sportspeople have a voice and are debunking the old-school expectation of them to keep quiet and just play. They are now using their platforms to express their opinions on social issues and run campaigns to support what they believe in.
Maietta explained that her business allows these sportspeople to collaborate with artists in her catalog to make a statement and use sports as a canvas. She added that Round 21 promotes creativity and sports through NFT collaboration to establish the sportsperson’s digital presence. Her name for her dual business model, digi fizzy, made the Sharks laugh out loud.
At the end of her pitch, Jasmine handed out the custom samples for the Sharks, explaining how each piece reflected their interests and served as their personal statement. She gave Mark an additional digital NFT basketball, highlighting his background in sports and symbolism and serving as a token of their club membership.
Mark explained that an NFT stands for “non-fungible token” and is a unique digital file that can be bought and sold digitally like any other tangible commodity. Daymond wanted to know the benefits of owning a Round 21 NFT, and Maietta supplied that their NFTs are the digital version of their physical art and membership card. Customers who own their NFTs get early access to their new products, exclusive tickets, and priority in physical events.
Robert interrupted Maietta and asked her to clarify what she was selling, physical art or NFT, and Maietta replied both. Robert then asked her if she could walk him through the selling process, and Kevin interjected, asking what a professional sportsperson can expect from her business. Maietta elaborated that Round 21 connects sportsperson who wants to make a statement to their artists, and they work together to come up with something that aligns with their vision, then they split the revenue three ways. Maietta added that artists have two options: either get the flat fee upfront or opt for a 10% share in the revenue of every unit sold, which steered the conversation towards her sales and profits.
Maietta revealed that she had made $354,000 in sales in 15 months in just physical, and her NFT sales are growing into $20,000 of her total revenue. Lori commented that the NFT share in revenue is very small, and Maietta agreed.
Kevin was curious about her sales, and Maietta revealed that they are on track to make $510,000 in the same year and are making $73 on the gross profit level. Mark asked how much they were burning since they were not making any net profits and Maietta answered that they were losing $10,000 per month. Mark inquired about her funds, and Maietta revealed that she had raised $1.3 million at a 6.26 post-money safe, which is the standard.
Lori was the first Shark to go out, reasoning that Maietta might find a better partner in other Sharks.
Robert congratulated Maietta for coming up with a unique business model, but he didn’t think the road to revenue pipeline was clear enough for him, so he was out.
Daymond announced that he struggled to understand NFT, and if he were to join Maietta, he wouldn’t be adding any value to the business, so he was out.
Mark also pulled out of the deal, citing that the business would be competitive with his other companies.
Kevin, the only Shark in the tank, offered Maietta $250,000 for 15%, and the entrepreneur countered with 5% equity plus advisory shares for the same amount. When Kevin budged, she moved the stakes to 6%, but Kevin didn’t want to go in for peanuts. She again rectified her counter and offered Kevin 5% within advisory shares and 1% of every NFT ever sold. This intrigued Kevin, who has always been a fan of royalty deals, but he asked for2% royalty per NFT sold and 11% in equity. Maietta reasoned that that would be a down round for her other investors.
Mark elaborated the benefit of the deal to Maietta on Kevin’s behalf, explaining that since her other investors will get a discount in the next round, a deal for low pricing will allow them to take more of her company which will be against Maietta’s interests.
Kevin amended his deal again and told Maietta that he would take 10% of the equity in advisory shares or straight but would take 1.5% of royalty per NFT sold.
Maietta agreed and accepted Kevin’s offer.
Months after Maietta’s appearance on Shark Tank season 13, she has yet to close the deal with Kevin.
Our Review of Round 21
We think Round 21 has the potential to be the next trend in sports fashion but that all depends on closing the deal with Kevin. Kevin owns the domain for NFT and has built a business around it by locking 500 URLs which can work well with the NFT side of Maietta’s business. Additionally, Round 21 is working on its PO with the largest sporting goods retailer in America, which wants to co-create products with them in 2022 and beyond. Maietta also mentioned that they had an open order of $100,000 for next year that came in on the day of taping.
Despite her growth being rooted in physical sales, we don’t think she has enough numbers to accelerate her profits. Kevin can help her with the NFTs, but there is no future validity in that aspect, so it’ll be interesting to see how Round 21 fairs in the physical market.
Pros of Round 21
- Customized sports goods
- Physical and digital ownership
Cons of Round 21
- Expensive NFTs
Who Is Round 21 For?
Round 21 is for every athlete and sportsperson who wants to make a statement or launch their customized sports goods. On the flip side, it sells to people who want to own something exclusive to their favorite sportsperson and provides aspiring artists a platform to showcase their talent. In a way, Round 21 is an ecosystem catering to the needs of different types of clients on different levels.
Are There Any Alternatives?
Most sportspeople hire artists on their own to help them create their customized sports fashion brands or launch sports goods. They can always team up with notable brands to introduce their line without needing a third party like Round 21. Still, not every athlete has the resources and caliber to lock brand deals with big companies, so that’s where Round 21 comes into play.
Our Final Thoughts
We think if Round 21 proves its physical sales model, it can scale in more ways than one, but for the NFT sector to remain viable, they’ll need ammo from Kevin. Conversely, skepticism around digital collectibles has led to many controversies, which makes it a hard pill to swallow for customers.