Black Sands Entertainment, an African American–owned comics publisher, webcomics app, and media venture, has agreed to an initial offer of $500,000 for a 30% stake in the company from comedian and actor Kevin Hart. The offer played out on an entertaining, tension-filled episode of Shark Tank, the ABC TV investment reality show, on January 7
Contacted after the show aired, Black Sands cofounder Manuel Godoy said now that he has a “handshake deal”—the show typically ends with an informal offer/deal that has to be turned into a real contract—Black Sands and Hart are “going into extended negotiations on the final terms and details of the offer.” Godoy explained that this is the usual process after the show
Godoy, his wife Geiszel Godoy, and Teunis de Raat, head of Black Sands Studios, the company’s animation venture, appeared on the show to pitch the company to the Shark Tank cohosts. Founded in 2016, Black Sands Entertainment offers a mix of comics, graphic novels, a webcomics app, chapter books, DVDs, and picture books aimed at Black parents and their children. The house has also used WeFunder, the equity crowdfunding platform, to raise more than $1 million in investment to turn Black Sands: The Second Kingdom, the BSE lead comics series, into an animated feature.
Manuel opened the show pitching a 5% stake in Black Sands for $500,000, with the funds to be used to hire creative staff to continue development of the animation and to fund new titles in its publishing plan.
Hart, a comedian, popular movie star, and entrepreneur, was a guest shark on the show, alongside the regular Shark Tank cohosts and celebrity entrepreneur/investors Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Grenier, and Kevin O’Leary. After a debate around the BSE offer, Hart and Cuban emerged as the most aggressive bidders.
Hart dismissed Godoy’s initial offer of a 5% stake, explaining that HartBeat, his media and production house, could provide all the creative personnel, design, production, and distribution services needed for a potential blockbuster Black Sands film adaptation. Instead, Hart (joined by Cuban) offered the $500,000, but for a 30% stake in Black Sands, reasoning that he had numerous media resources and planned to “embed you in my system.”
Clearly stressed about giving up a big chunk of the company, Manuel Godoy upped his offer to 10% of the company with a 25 cent royalty on all BSE books in perpetuity. But Hart and Cuban were focused on the media potential of BSE. Cuban waved off the royalty counteroffer and said, “you know that the grand slam doesn’t come from the books; it’s when the book gets picked up for a movie and it’s turned into a franchise and Kevin is the producer.”
After a short but tense period of on-camera rumination, Manuel Godoy finally declared, “my fans want this done, so you’ve got a deal!”