Fitness technology company Nexersys seems to be a Shark Tank comeback story. CEO Terry Jones pitched the Nexersys system on the ABC show in 2014, showing off his “interactive and intelligent fitness and gaming platform that delivers a fast, fun, and effective workout for everyone.”
Although Jones promised that Nexersys users were “gonna live a happier, sexier, healthier life using the same methods as professional boxers and professional MMA athletes around the globe,” the sharks were astonished by the company’s debt.
Nexersys didn’t land a deal on "Shark Tank."
Jones went on Shark Tank in the show’s fifth season. He wanted a $2 million investment for a 10 percent stake in Nexersys. He touted that the company had made $4.2 million in sales over 18 months.
However, the sharks got sticker shock over the company's price tag—which was $7,000 for the commercial unit and $2,995 home unit at the time. They balked at the company's $7.5 million in shareholder debt.
“I’m a nice guy, so I wouldn’t do this to you, but if I were an opportunistic guy, I would simply wait for that debt to come due and then I would own your company,” Kevin O’Leary told Jones. “Basically that’s what those debtors are gonna do. … Good luck to you, but I have a feeling when we meet you again, you’re going to be an employee. That’s it. I’m out.”
By the end, Lori Greiner was the last Shark standing, but she declined the investment opportunity. “I like it. I think it looks like a lot of fun. Great way to have a workout. I think it’s a great product,” she said. “You are in serious debt, but I think you’ll get out of it. But I don’t like to get into that type of situation. And for that reason, I’m out.”
Nexersys reported $677,000 in total equity in 2019.
In a March 2020 filing with the SEC, Nexersys reported having $676,867 in total equity at the end of 2019 compared to $296,013 the year before. The company also said that it had no short-term or long-term debt and $932,162 in total sales at the end of 2019.
Jones reflected on his Shark Tank experience in a 2019 MicroVentures webinar, according to a transcript from anther SEC filing. “Shark Tank was a great experience for us, although the Sharks kind of beat me up personally a little bit over our balance sheet, it was a fair beat-up,” he said, in part. “The good news is we didn’t lose [the company], but the truth is we had too much debt for an early stage company.”
The entrepreneur explained that Nexersys avoided bankruptcy and that it bought out its investors about two years prior. “In terms of building awareness, still, when the Shark Tank episodes hit, our Google Analytics, our web visits go through the roof,” he added. “It was fun. … It was a great experience for us, great exposure, and quite frankly, the Sharks were right. We had too much debt. Luckily today, we don’t. … The market’s come to us and the debt’s gone away.”