2019 | Business

Potomac Business Owners Snare Shark on ABC Show

Family earns $600,000 investment for its CertifiKID website business

The Ratners with the newest member of their business family.

Dottie Eloise Photography

Brian and Jamie Ratner waded into “Shark Tank” on Sunday and hooked an investor for their family-focused deal website.

A couple hundred people gathered at the Badlands Playspace in Rockville to watch the Ratners appearance on the ABC show, which aired Sunday.

ABC’s Shark Tank allows entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas and businesses to a panel of investors. who can then bid against each other for a stake in the entrepreneur’s company.

Jamie Ratner launched Potomac-based CertifiKID in 2010, providing daily emails with discounted offers for activities and entertainment.

The Ratners asked the panel of investors for a $600,000 investment in exchange for 8% of their business.

CertifiKID’s $5 million gross income and steady growth over the past decade impressed the investors, and the pitch drew offers from Kevin O’Leary, Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran.

John offered the $600,000 for a 17.5% cut, while Corcoran wanted 25% and to franchise the company, but having thoroughly researched the investors beforehand the Ratners only had eyes for O’Leary.

“Even though we were ecstatic to get the three offers and really respect Barbara and Damon, we did identify Kevin initially as someone who fit very well with us,” Brian Ratner said. “You want to be in there and feel the energy and whether they’re reacting to you and get it, and it was just clear in that session that he did.”

O’Leary asked for a 20% slice of the company along with a contingency of receiving three times his investment upon the sale of the company. Brian Ratner then took on the man known as “Mr. Wonderful” in a lengthy negotiation, eventually agreeing on a $600,000 investment at a 19% equity stake and no contingency.

“It’s a game changing resource for families,” O’Leary said in a statement. “What parent doesn’t want access to a huge menu of family experiences that won’t break the bank? Jamie and Brian have the passion, vision and most importantly, strategy to expand the CertifiKID footprint deeper and wider all across the U.S.”

The Ratners will join O’Leary on ABC’s “The View” on Thursday as his featured “Shark Tank” entrepreneurs.

While the episode aired last weekend, it was recorded weeks ago and the Ratners have been working with O’Leary’s team to test new markets and opportunities for expansion. CertifiKID has 17 employees and operates in about a dozen cities, but the Ratners expect both of those figures to grow quickly following the investment.

“Keeping that secret for all that time and not being able to kind of activate everything was difficult, so we’ve been doing a lot of planning,” Brian Ratner said. “We’re really excited.”