Alumni secure corporate funding on ‘Shark Tank’

first_imgPhoto courtesy of Mike Doyle CEO Mike Doyle, left, and co-founder Drew Mitchell landed a deal with the popular ABC show, “Shark Tank,” for their company, Rent Like a Champion.Rent Like a Champion is a housing rental company that targets fans traveling to college towns for games and other major events.  Doyle and Mitchell initially asked the sharks for an investment of $200,000 for a 10 percent equity stake, and eventually, Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca matched their terms. “The whole ‘Shark Tank’ experience was surreal,” Doyle said.Although the episode aired on Oct. 30, Doyle said it was filmed in June. The deal with Cuban and Sacca was signed in late August after the due diligence process.Doyle said he became involved with the business by managing student apartment rentals as an intern during his time as undergraduate at Notre Dame. “We realized there’s a huge market for people who want to rent homes on game weekends,” Doyle said.Doyle said Rent Like a Champion began in South Bend, but expanded to other college towns when he realized the scalability of the business model.“We can do this not just at Notre Dame, but we should be doing this at Penn State, at Michigan, at Florida State, all of these college towns around the country where this service makes sense,” he said.This approach led to rapid growth, Doyle said, with an average growth rate of 80 percent over the last three years and a projected revenue of $4.1 million for 2015.“It’s gone from me knocking on doors at Penn State to a team of seven employees,” Doyle said.Although Rent Like a Champion was already quite successful, Doyle said “Shark Tank” represented a chance to rapidly accelerate their expansion from their current 21 towns to around 40.“We see ‘Shark Tank’ as this opportunity to take things to the next level,” he said. “We’ve gotten to this point with a nice business that’s working really well, but the sharks are the most incredibly smart and accomplished business people you could possibly meet and they know how to bump businesses up a notch or two.”Cuban and Sacca actively help Rent Like a Champion, Doyle said, by providing advice and support.“They’re super plugged-in and very involved in the business,” Doyle said.In explaining his plans for the future of Rent Like a Champion, Doyle said it is important to note that opportunities for the big event rental paradigm exist beyond college sports.“There’s definitely a model for this outside of just college sports towns, so any big time events that happen with regularity in smaller towns like NASCAR races, PGA tour events, concerts, and even Democratic and Republican National Conventions make sense with our model,” Doyle said.Despite Rent Like a Champion’s track record of success and its plans to expand, an investor on “Shark Tank” episode expressed concern about competition from Airbnb and other companies.However, Doyle said Rent Like a Champion has a unique business model that differentiates it from Airbnb.“We’re really event-focused, they’re really destination-focused,” he said.Notre Dame senior David O’Connor interned at Rent Like a Champion for the past two years and worked to help establish its identity in a market that Airbnb does not serve.O’Connor said this process involved focusing on what their customers wanted and using this information to attract them.“The first summer I was there it was a lot of figuring what works and what doesn’t work,” O’Connor said.O’Connor said a vital priority for the company was making potential renters in college towns comfortable with their online business model.“The demographic tends to be older people with no kids, as opposed to [the typical customers of] Airbnb, 34-year-old young professionals looking to make another $200 a month. We’re trying to get [our customers] accustomed to this digital sharing economy,” O’Connor said.Ultimately, O’Connor said the hard work behind Rent Like a Champion has paid off with its robust growth.Doyle also said the “Shark Tank” experience was a validation of the effort he and his co-founders put into Rent Like a Champion. However, he said they did not plan on being chosen for … “Shark Tank” because the competition for spots on the show was so rigorous.“We didn’t want to put all of our eggs in that basket because we didn’t know if we were one of ten companies vying for spot or one of 1,000 vying for spot,” he said. “There was definitely some ambiguity about how likely this actually was to happen.”Despite the odds, Rent Like a Champion made it onto “Shark Tank,” and Doyle said the final result was exactly what he and Mitchell hoped for.“In a dream situation, if we could have any we wanted, we would do a deal with Mark and Chris together.” Doyle said. “So the fact that Chris pulled Mark into a deal meant it really couldn’t have worked out any better for us.”Tags: ABC, Rent Like a Champion, Shark Tank The opportunity to appear on ABC’s “Shark Tank” is offered to a select number of entrepreneurs, but even fewer are able to close a deal with a shark and secure funding for their company.Notre Dame alumni Mike Doyle and Drew Mitchell were able to do both on an episode of “Shark Tank” when they pitched their business, Rent Like a Champion, and landed a deal with Mark Cuban and Chris Sacca.last_img read more

NFL Draft prospects 2020: The top 10 tight ends, ranked from Cole Kmet to Devin Asiasi

first_imgMORE NFL DRAFT: Top 100 big board | SN’s latest mock draftNFL Draft 2020 tight end rankings1. Cole Kmet, Notre DameKmet has the size (6-5, 250 pounds) and speed (4.70 40-yard-dash time at the Combine) to be a field-stretching slot TE for whoever drafts him. He didn’t do much his first two seasons at Notre Dame, but he caught 43 passes for 515 yards and six TDs as a junior. Blocking is still a bit of a question mark, as it is for most rookie tight ends, but Kmet can make an immediate impact as a receiver. 2. Hunter Bryant, WashingtonBryant is a bit of a tweener; he’s just 6-2, but at 239 pounds and with a 4.74 40 time, he can’t really play wide receiver. What he lacks in height, he makes up for in toughness and big-play ability. He averaged an eye-popping 16.4 yards per catch during his career at Washington, and his junior season yielded 52 catches and 825 yards. He was never much of a touchdown producer in college, catching just five during his career, but that could change in the NFL, where he’ll continue to present mismatches for linebackers and safeties.3. Brycen Hopkins, PurdueHopkins gradually improved over his four seasons at Purdue, finishing with 61 catches, 830 yards, and seven TDs last year. He has great size (6-5, 245 pounds) and speed (4.66 40-yard-dash time), so if he can prove to be a capable enough blocker, he’ll stay on the field and will have a chance to put up big stats in the right offense. MORE: Read the latest NFL Draft news at SN’s draft HQ4. Adam Trautman, DaytonTrautman dominated at FCS Dayton, catching 70 passes for 916 yards and 14 TDs during his final season. There are plenty of question marks given the lower level of competition, but Trautman’s size is legit (6-6, 253 pounds) and his 40-yard-dash time is good enough (4.80) if he’s used the right way. 5. Albert Okwuegbunam, MissouriWhen it comes to pure playmaking ability, Albert O might be the best TE in the draft. The 6-5, 255-pound pass-catcher ran a blazing 4.49 40-yard dash at the Combine, All those tools didn’t result in a ton of receiving production (average of 32.7 receptions and 395.7 yards over his three seasons), but Okwuegbunam was a touchdown machine, catching 23 scores in 27 games. Nagging injuries are a concern — though not as much as his nonexistent blocking resume — but Albert O is a matchup nightmare as a glorified slot receiver, field-stretcher and red-zone threat. 6. Harrison Bryant, FAUBryant didn’t play at a Power 5 school, but his steady improvement and senior season are impossible to ignore. He caught 65 passes for 1,004 yards and seven TDs during his final year at FAU, and he impressed with a 4.73 40 time at the Combine. With his size (6-5, 240 pounds), Bryant could be at least a red-zone threat wherever he winds up, but he’ll have to prove he can stay on the field with his blocking. 7. Thaddeus Moss, LSUMoss doesn’t have much tape because he missed both 2017 and 2018 after transferring from N.C. State and then suffering a foot injury, but he excelled during his lone season at LSU, catching 47 passes for 570 yards and four touchdowns. Moss has good size (6-3, 249 pounds), and even though he didn’t run a 40 at the Combine, he also has good speed. The family lineage is strong, too: Moss is the son of Randy Moss. Teams will have to take a bit of a leap of faith if they select him, but Moss is an intriguing prospect who could develop into something special. MORE: SN’s complete 7-round mock draft8. Colby Parkinson, StanfordStanford regularly features tight ends in its offense, so it’s no surprise an athletic 6-7, 251-pound field-stretcher like Parkinson is on the NFL radar. He caught 48 passes for 589 yards his junior year, and while that resulted in only one touchdown, we know he can wreak havoc around the goal line based on his seven TDs as a sophomore. Parkinson’s size could make him a red-zone threat right away.9. Jared Pinkney, Vanderbilt The 2020 NFL Draft likely won’t feature a tight end being drafted in the first round, but there are several interesting prospects who could make an impact this year. This position is always tough to evaluate; blocking is just as important as receiving ability to NFL teams, yet most fans just focus on the pass-catching stats. That’s largely what Sporting News will be doing in this preview of the top 10 tight ends, but it’s important to recognize that fit is hugely important, because some teams will prioritize blocking skills over receiving skills. Because this year’s TE class lacks a clear-cut No. 1 prospect, it’s easy to quibble with the list below. Cole Kmet is the one player who seems to be a consensus top-three prospect, but this group could really go in any order with picks starting in the second round. Let’s break down what they have to offer: Pinkney has dealt with injuries and inconsistent QB play throughout his career at Vanderbilt, but his outstanding junior season (50-774-7) shows what he’s capable of when he puts it all together. His lack of speed (4.96 in the 40) will hurt him, but he has good size (6-4, 260 pounds) and is a solid blocker. If he can continue to work on his blocking, then he’ll have a chance to stay on the field and provide decent production as a receiver. 10. Devin Asiasi, UCLAA breakout junior season (44 catches for 641 yards and four TDs) put Asiasi on the draft radar. His 4.73 40 time is impressive given his size (6-3, 279 pounds), and he’s tough to bring down in the open field. He’s another interesting project who could develop into a solid starter in a few seasons.last_img read more