How Shark Tank Boosted Hood Hat: A Conversation with Founder Max Nelson

You may already know Max Nelson from Shark Tank. He is the founder of Hood Hat. We have already covered the hood hat shark tank update separately, so you can check that out. I contacted Max a few days ago for this short email interview. I’m happy to say that he was very responsive and answered my questions. Max was open and helpful.

He shared his thoughts and experiences. A bundle of thanks to Max for being cooperative and taking the time to answer our questions. This conversation is a great chance for us to learn more about his journey and get some valuable advice from his experiences.

Introduction and Background

Daniyal: Please tell me about yourself, your background, education, experience, and position in the company.

Max: I’m the Founder of Hood and I was born in Brooklyn, NY, and grew up in Staten Island, NY where my childhood was made up of following the Mets, playing stickball, and running around the neighborhood with my buddies in the 80s. It’s a time I look back on fondly with tremendous nostalgia. Those days very much inspired the launch of the brand as well as the look and feel of it all. I attended Davidson College in North Carolina where I played football and currently reside in Los Angeles with my family.

Pre-Shark Tank Preparation

Daniyal: Can you describe the journey and preparation that led up to your pitch on Shark Tank?

Max: We were contacted in 2021 by a Shark Tank producer who saw one of our Instagram ads and suggested we submit an audition pitch which we did and they passed. Last February 2023, I reached back out to the producer and asked if we could apply again and this time we made it through. A tremendous amount of time, effort, and preparation went into not only the development of the pitch but also the process in general.

Valuation and Strategy

Daniyal: How did you decide on the valuation you presented to the sharks, and what was the strategy behind your initial ask?

Max: We converted a note at a $7.5m valuation prior to filming and it would have been tough to go under that for this exercise without totally burying this investor who has been a loyal champion of the brand from day one and an outstanding resource and friend to us. We were well aware that our ask was aspirational but it was more important to us to maintain the integrity of our relationship with our angel than get a deal with a shark at their expense.

Post-Shark Tank Impact

Daniyal: What happened to your company after appearing on Shark Tank in terms of investments and business growth?

Max: Our website traffic, revenue, and orders were all up 300% month over month.

Current Valuation

Daniyal: What is your company’s net worth today?

Max: We are currently raising at a $7.5m valuation.

Additional Investments

Daniyal: Have you secured any investments from other investors since your appearance on Shark Tank?

Max: Not yet but several meetings have surfaced subsequent to the episode airing.

Business Strategy Evolution

Daniyal: How has your business strategy or operations changed after your appearance on Shark Tank?

Max: We are ramping up our B2B channel and looking to expand in that lane.

Long-term Objectives and Influence

Daniyal: What are the long-term goals for your company, and how has Shark Tank influenced these goals?

Max: To continue to stay focused on making the best possible caps from the finest materials we can get our hands on while emotionally connecting with our customers through nostalgic-driven drops and updates to our customization platform. Shark Tank has inspired us more than ever to achieve net profitability as a business. We’re aiming for double-digit EBITDA long-term!

Advice for Future Contestants

Daniyal: What advice would you give future entrepreneurs considering applying for Shark Tank?

Max: Be patient with the process and remember it’s just a moment, not a solution. I think the probability of making it to air is .2% and the probability of getting an actual deal that closes is .1% so when you consider those odds I would say managing your expectations is critical. I would advise entrepreneurs to approach it as a learning experience and a potential marketing exercise.

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