Maurice Bachelor is on a mission to reshape public perceptions of AI bots, and he found formidable allies in billionaires Mark Cuban and Michael Rubin.
In a recent episode of ABC’s ‘Shark Tank,’ Bachelor presented his Los Angeles-based venture, Bot-It, alongside Joel Griffith, his co-founder and head of growth. Bot-It is a website and mobile app harnessing AI to streamline online tasks such as appointment scheduling and restaurant reservations.
The platform offers a “pro” subscription, enabling users to gain an edge in sneaker release lotteries and secure concert tickets in a matter of seconds, explained Bachelor, who serves as the company’s lead software engineer. This aspect of their business generated some controversy, as bots have disrupted the consumer experience in various industries, particularly in the domains of sneakers and live events.
Michael Rubin, CEO of sports retailer Fanatics and a guest judge on the show, acknowledged the magnitude of the issue, stating, “We have probably billions of dollars of products that bots try to buy from us each year… Bots come to get everything.”
Kevin O’Leary chimed in, asking, “What does it say about us if we’re supporting this, for those that think you’re cheating?”
In response, Bachelor and Griffith, who sought $150,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake in their company, contended that their technology actually empowers individuals to outmaneuver cheaters by pitting real people against faceless bot armies.
Griffith emphasized, “We want to help change the perception of bots amongst consumers. Bots aren’t always the bad guy. You can have one, too.”
Rubin resonated with their argument, noting that most of the bots on Fanatics’ platform are large-scale attempts to hoard new products, often with the intent to resell them on third-party platforms at inflated prices. Arming consumers with bots could level the playing field, offering regular people a fair chance to purchase items at reasonable prices.
“I’d rather disrupt myself than have someone else disrupt me,” Rubin remarked.
Cuban was the first investor to make an offer, drawn in by Bot-It’s AI platform that can accomplish tasks rapidly. Cuban offered $150,000 in exchange for a 20% equity stake.
Rubin followed suit, asking Cuban if he’d welcome a partnership, to which Cuban replied, “No, I like this. I want these guys all to myself.” Rubin proposed $50,000 for a 15% share of Bot-It, a higher valuation than Cuban’s offer. O’Leary commented, “It’s a Shark fight. It’s the battle of the billionaires.”
Caught in a dilemma, Bachelor and Griffith urged Cuban and Rubin to make a joint deal. Ultimately, the two billionaires reached an agreement, offering $300,000 for a 30% stake in the company. After some deliberation about the equity share, the Bot-It team accepted the deal.
Bachelor expressed his enthusiasm, saying, “This is the most important day of the Bot-It life. To have both of those Sharks on our team right now is going to take us to the next level.”