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Alumnus Lands Business Deal on ABC’s “Shark Tank”

September 09, 2009
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Brothers presented to
Rodolfo Saccoman (MBA ’07), who won $4,000 in the School’s  annual Entrepreneurship Competition in 2008, has gotten another financial boost to help build his business. And this time he did it before a national television audience. Saccoman and his brother, Alexis, pitched their business venture, MyTherapyJournal.com, in front of millions of viewers (and potential customers) on ABC’s “Shark Tank,”   a reality program in which entrepreneurs share their business ideas with a group of five self-made millionaires in hopes of getting venture capital to help them attain similar levels of success.

Saccoman is the second School of Business alumnus to be featured on the first season of “Shark Tank.” Omar Soliman (BBA ’04), who won first place in the School’s Entrepreneurship Competition in 2004, went before the cameras in the August season premier to pitch his new business idea, College Foxes Hauling Boxes. The box packing moving company is a spinoff of Soliman’s existing firm, College Hunks Hauling Junk, which hauls away junk.
Saccoman’s MyTherapyJournal.com offers a therapy-oriented online journaling tool based on cognitive behavior therapy. It offers a tool that harnesses the benefits of journaling, including a “Progress Graph” to track the progress of users. Saccoman attributes much of the company’s success to his start at the School of Business.

“My company began at UM, was mentored by UM, and we won the business plan competition that lead to other competition victories,” said Rodolfo.

At the start of their appearance on “Shark Tank,” which aired Sept. 6, Saccoman and his brother are greeted with significant skepticism due to their business’s small number of subscribers and low turnover rate of free trial members to paying subscribers.

However, the partners’ fortunes turn when they inform the investors that they have been talking to Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurance companies, about partnering with the brothers to provide therapeutic benefits to clients via MyTherapyJournal.com.  After answering more tough questions from the venture capitalists, the brothers are offered and accept a joint deal from two of the investors for $80,000 in return for a 51% stake in the company.  With the new cash in hand, they plan to market their business more aggressively and, with continued perseverance and good fortune, emerge as a successful company.

“Our American dream since we were little kids today became a reality,” said Saccoman of the “Shark Tank” opportunity. “And all the work and sacrifice has paid off.”

The Saccoman brothers say that since the “Shark Tank” episode aired, thousands of new members have joined MyTherapyJournal.com.

Watch the “Shark Tank” episode featuring MyTherapyJournal.com here.

Watch the “Shark Tank” episode featuring College Hunks Hauling Junk here.

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