Markevis Gideon swam with the Sharks Sunday night, but left with only the dream of proving them wrong.
Gideon and NERDiT NOW partners Jake Voorhees and Jonathan Hoxter launched into a high-energy, fast-talking explanation of their concept. They want to set up kiosks at workplaces where people would drop off their broken or damaged cellphones and laptops before a mobile team arrives and repairs the device in a matter of hours.
Gideon requested $150,000 for 20% of the company, putting a $750,000 valuation on the company.
The Sharks generally liked the idea but said they believed it was too early for NERDiT NOW to be investible. Lori Greiner said she loved their story but thought they’d be better off expanding into larger retail stores. Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary referred to the prototype kiosk as a “refrigerator” and dropped out when the team failed to provide “a big rollout strategy on trucks with a high return.”
After earlier saying that the team had not done a good-enough job explaining the concept, guest Shark Matt Higgins had kind words for the team. He said NERDiT Now had a clever and well-branded truck with no occupancy cost and enough volume that they could undercut their competition. He urged them to “save up and buy a second truck. It’s a smart model with an endless need to replace screens. It’s just too early.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told Gideon to “go out and prove us wrong,” which Gideon told the DBT late Sunday night was his plan.
Gideon said he had gone in hoping to make a deal with either Cuban or O’Leary but knew that the company “really didn’t fit in any of their [investment] lanes.” He concedes “we had no idea what we were going to pitch” to the sharks when they auditioned for the show, but the team decided to “go for it. Forty thousand people apply every year and less than 100 make it on the show.”
NERDiT NOW has spent the time since the show’s taping looking for investors for the kiosk strategy. He expects to launch at New Castle County workplaces and then expand downstate and either Philadelphia or Baltimore. He said they expect most of the drop-offs will be personal computers and devices rather than workplace devices.
Gideon hopes to open his first kiosk by year-end and have 250 kiosks up and running within the next five years. He’s continuing to look for corporate hosts in New Castle County and for investors in the concept.
Gideon earned second place and $9,000 in the University of Delaware’s 2016 Hen Hatch Competition, enabling him to open his first storefront location. He was also selected individually as a DBT 40 recipient in 2018 and NERDiT NOW was one of the DBT’s 2019 Fast 50 honorees.