Meet the LA Startup Founder Who Had Two Hours To Prep Her 'Shark Tank' Pitch

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Meet the LA Startup Founder Who Had Two Hours To Prep Her 'Shark Tank' Pitch
Photo courtesy of Curie

One Sunday afternoon last September, Sarah Moret was hiking through Griffith Observatory when she received a voicemail from the producer of “Shark Tank,” ABC’s hit entrepreneurial reality show. The voice message notified her that she had just two hours to get to the “Shark Tank” studio and pitch Curie, her aluminum-free deodorant brand, to the show’s “Sharks”—its panel of investor judges featuring Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, Daymond John and Kevin O'Leary.

"I just jumped in the car; my fiancé was driving, and he brought me home as fast as possible in the carpool lane," Moret told dot.LA. "I curled my hair, got ready in 20 minutes and did my makeup in the passenger seat of his car for a primetime TV show."

Sarah Moret at the top of her hike, moments before she received a call from the producers of "Shark Tank."

Photo courtesy of Curie

Moret first applied to be on “Shark Tank” in 2020, but didn't receive a callback. She heard back from the show after reapplying the following year, with initial plans to film in July—but the producers bumped her filming date and put her on standby until September.

"I compare it to being like an understudy in a play," she explained. "I didn't have a set filming date. I was just told that I would get a phone call if there was space in the schedule for me to film.”

But Moret was confident she had a product worth waiting for, and the entrepreneurial know-how to scale it into a successful business. Most conventional antiperspirants in the market are made out of aluminum that can cause armpit irritation; while there are natural, aluminum-free deodorant brands, Moret said they also irritated her skin or left her smelling like a gym bag. Curie, her solution to these problems, uses sage oil and probiotics to beat the stink, arrowroot powder to absorb the sweat, and chamomile and aloe to soothe the armpits.

Prior to launching Curie in 2018, Moret worked as an associate at Santa Monica-based venture capital firm Crosscut Ventures, where she earned a spot on the investing team. There, she learned the ins and outs of the startup world.

“Curie started from a personal need,” Moret said. “I'm an athlete and at the time was a marathon runner, and just couldn't find anything that worked.”

Curie generated revenues of $125,000 in its first year of selling deodorant sticks. The following year, the startup had $700,000 in sales. At the start of 2020, she raised $1 million through a convertible note capped at $5 million to continue growing the brand. It has gradually expanded its product offerings to include body wash, moisturizing body oil, a detox mask and hand sanitizers.

Before appearing on “Shark Tank,” Curie’s body products were already sold in over 300 stores nationwide including Nordstrom, Anthropologie and fitness gym Soulcycle. It had also frequently appeared on shopping network QVC.

Fast forward to September 2021, and Moret finally entered “the Tank” with her eyes set on Corcoran and Greiner. She wanted to make a deal with one or both of them because, as Moret put it, “I just gravitate towards female investors or founders.”

Curie's line of deodorant sprays in three scents. Photo courtesy of Curie

When Moret’s episode of “Shark Tank” finally aired last month, she was surprised to find herself the first one up. Moret confidently introduced Curie on national television without a hint of sweat on her face or dirt from the hiking trail. She charmed the Sharks with her background and solid numbers—her opening pitch was for a $300,000 investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake—but four out of the five Sharks didn’t bite, saying she had raised too much money early on and had too many products.

This wasn’t new to Moret: Her first efforts at pitching Nordstrom and QVC had been rebuffed as well. “Rejection is a part of being an entrepreneur,” she said. “You're always going to get no’s; you can't let those no’s stop you or discourage you.”

It all came down to the final Shark, Daymond. When he produced an offer—$300,000 for 20% equity—that Moret deemed too low, she shot back: “I know my worth, I know the company's worth and I'm not backing down.”

After Moret countered with $300,000 for 12% equity, Cuban and Corcoran combined on an offer of $300,000 in exchange for 14% equity. Moret took the deal, as Cuban quipped: “I never thought I would be in a women’s deodorant business, ever.”

After the show aired, Curie sold out all of its deodorant products in 24 hours and now has some 5,000 customers on its waitlist. Moret said the company has plans to roll out further products, but supply chain issues have impacted their progress.

“Our biggest hurdle right now is just getting back in stock quickly, so we can get people their deodorant,” she said.

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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from LA’s EV Scene

David Shultz

David Shultz reports on clean technology and electric vehicles, among other industries, for dot.LA. His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Outside, Nautilus and many other publications.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly from LA’s EV Scene

I’ve been on vacation this past week, so of course there’s been a ton of news in the Southern California EV world that I missed. I’m not even supposed to be back online until Tuesday, when I’ll be covering SXSW in Austin, Texas. But so great was the deluge of news that I’ve holed up in a Starbucks off of I-70 to whip up this little recap for you. Here we go.


I covered Rivian’s Q4 earnings in last week’s newsletter. The results weren’t particularly pretty, with the company suggesting production guidance of just 50,000 units for 2023, which was below what many analysts had forecasted. But then, on Friday, Rivian employees told Bloomberg, that internally the company was saying it might be able to hit 62,000 units in the fiscal year. Shortly after that, however, Rivian announced that 50,000 vehicles was still the official target and that the larger figure had been taken out of context by employees. The company’s share price has fallen 24% since the earnings call.

But wait there’s more: Rivian had previously announced that it intended to lay off 6% of its workforce, and last week we got some more details about where those cuts will come from. The Palo Alto office is slated to lose 240 workers, and 204 look like they’ll be cut from the Irvine HQ, according to reporting from Carscoops.

But wait there’s even more: Rivian also announced today that it would recall 13,000 of its vehicles for issues related to an issue with the seatbelt that could prevent the passenger airbag from functioning as intended. This won’t be Rivian’s first recall, and it surely won’t be its last. Recalls are common and necessary in the automotive industry, but the news comes at an inopportune time for the EV maker.

Lastly, Rivian announced yesterday that it intends to raise $1.3 billion in cash to help it through the coming scale up phase. As I pointed out in the Q4 earnings article, the company’s current cash burn rate looked a bit too aggressive to bring Rivian into 2026, when the R2 platform is expected to launch and provide a pathway to profitability for the EV hopeful. An additional $1.3 billion helps to narrow that gap.


Some good news from Vinfast, actually. The company has delivered its first cars to US customers. Since its 999 SUVs arrived in the United States back in mid December 2022, the delivery process has been delayed by software issues with the vehicles. Last week, however, Vinfast announced that it had delivered 45 VF8s to customers. When the rest of the shipment will be ready for delivery is still unknown, but hey, it’s something. The news comes just a week after Vinfast cut its advertised lease price for the vehicle by a whopping 50%, which if you’ve been following’s coverage, brings its price much more in line with its value compared to competitors. Whether it’s enough to sway US consumers to take a risk on a new technology produced by a mostly unknown foreign brand, remains to be seen.


On March 1st, Mullen’s top financier, Terren Peizer, was charged with insider trading by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Peizer and Mullen have a long history and Peizer has served as CEO of both Ontrak and Acuitas Holding Group. Back in April 2022, Hindenburg Research highlighted Peizer’s large stake in Mullen (29%), and his numerous ties to finance guys who’d found themselves in prison for various sorts of fraud. Now it seems the SEC is taking a look into Peizer himself. According to reporting by InvestorPlace, the agency has charged Peizer with selling $20 million in Ontrak stock while in possession of “material, nonpublic information (MNPI) concerning the company’s largest customer.” Whoops.

Meanwhile, Mullen announced today that it would showcase two new electric delivery vehicles at the NTEA Work Truck Show that’s ongoing this week. The press release contains images of the same class 1 cargo van that Mullen acquired when it purchased Electric Last Mile Solutions last fall, as well as a Class 3 low-cab forward delivery truck. How or where Mullen plans to make these vehicles at scale, remains unknown. But CEO David Michery said that both vehicles are coming to market later this year. Mullen would likely need to raise huge amounts of capital to bring manufacturing capacity online to deliver any meaningful volume of product, but the company does have multiple factory assets.

LA Venture: Toba Capital’s Patrick Mathieson on How VCs Can Better Support Founders

Minnie Ingersoll
Minnie Ingersoll is a partner at TenOneTen and host of the LA Venture podcast. Prior to TenOneTen, Minnie was the COO and co-founder of $100M+, an online marketplace for used cars. Minnie started her career as an early product manager at Google. Minnie studied Computer Science at Stanford and has an MBA from HBS. She recently moved back to L.A. after 20+ years in the Bay Area and is excited to be a part of the growing tech ecosystem of Southern California. In her space time, Minnie surfs baby waves and raises baby people.
LA Venture: Toba Capital’s Patrick Mathieson on How VCs Can Better Support Founders
Patrick Mathieson

On this episode of the LA Venture podcast, Toba Capital Partner Patrick Mathieson discusses his thoughts on investing in SMB platforms, gross revenue retention, and other things he looks for when investing.

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