Despite the amount of content created today, there is still a lack of content and characters to represent people of color. Black Sands Entertainment was created by Manuel and Geiszel Godoy to change all of that. The media company featured on Shark Tank and got a deal with Mark Cuban and Kevin Hart. As of 2023, Black Sands Entertainment is worth an estimated $2.5 million.
About the Founders
Manuel Godoy is an indie publishing mogul from Middletown, Delaware. He was a BBA student at Queens College and is an army veteran. It was in the military that he met the love of his life, Geiszel Godoy.
Geiszel hails from New York City. She has a bachelor’s degree in fashion design from The Art Institute of San Diego and a master’s degree in management from Faulkner University.
After serving her country, Geiszel became a freelance technical designer at Calvin Klein. The couple hired Teunis de Raat to be their Head of Studio. He has over 25 years experience in the industry, having worked for the likes of Disney and Pixar.
Founding the Company
The Godoy duo are passionate about writing stories for Black people, especially about their lives before slavery. This was what pushed Manuel to start Black Sands Entertainment in 2016.
They saved up money for their first project, a video game called Kids 2 Kings, which flopped. Later on, Manuel and Geiszel hired Teunis to help them produce new content, with a focus on comic books. They raised $20,000 from Kickstarter to start printing copies.
As their stories gained more fame, the startup was able to raise a $1 million from Wefunder in 2020. The following year, their lifetime book sales hit $1.66 million.
Shark Tank Appearance
In 2022, Manuel, Geiszel, and Teunis believed that they were ready to shift to animation. They needed to raise more capital and viewed Shark Tank as the perfect platform. They appeared on season 13 of the show, seeking $500,000 for 5%. The valuation got a chuckle from Kevin O’Leart right off the bat.
The trio was confident that their intellectual property could take their business to the next level. After a strong introduction, they showed the Sharks a snippet of the animated show they wanted to release. The company sales were progressing nicely, starting with $40,000 in 2017 and had $800,000 in revenue year-to-date at the time of the pitch.
The Sharks were intrigued by the opportunity, but it was guest investor Kevin Hart who showed the most interest. In the end, Kevin Hart and Mark Cuban agreed to invest $500,000 for 30%. Cuban and Hart took a big chunk of equity, promising to help out with distribution and technology.
After Shark Tank
Although Black Sands was already rising in popularity, the exposure from Shark Tank has been huge for the company. They have been featured in publications such as Publishers Weekly and New York Comic Con.
Those interested in supporting the business can buy their comic books in bundles on their official website, BlackSandsEntertainment.com. Some of their solo releases are also available to buy on Amazon.
Their best-rated book “Black Sands, The Seven Kingdoms,” has a 4.9-star rating from 890 reviews on Amazon. Black Sands has done over $2 million in lifetime sales in roughly six years. They are also planning to release a new podcast and launch an app to help black creators reach a larger audience.
Currently, the business is worth an estimated $2.5 million. Their valuation can really explode if they become successful in the animation space but it will be expensive. Teunis de Raat left the company in April 2022 and is now an independent producer.