Sarah Hummert PhotographyLet’s face it: Shark Tank is an amazing show. But what it definitely is not is an accurate representative of how venture deals go down in the real world. The first time I ever watched it, I was appalled at the terms offered some of the better companies. “I’ll invest $5 for 75% of your business, and I want $.50 of every dollar thereafter…”

I’m only slightly exaggerating.

For years, Shark Tank seemed like a parallel track of entrepreneurship for those who can’t readily tap the friendlier terms of venture capital. And then Unikey. And then Plated. And then a handful of other tech companies who decided to go on Shark Tank not for the capital– but for the press. Wild press that can vault you to the top of the app store– something that frustratingly can’t be gamed by SEO-like desktop tactics.

I had dinner with VC John Frankel last time I was in New York, and he was headed to the viewing party of Plated’s appearance. He actually discovered Unikey via Shark Tank so he’s seen the effect as much as any mainstream VC. We had a fascinating conversation about “Shark Tank economics.”

Frankly, it was too interesting a discussion to have in a private dinner. So I’ve invited Frankel, Phil Dumas of Unikey and Nick Taranto of Plated to Southland to have the conversation in front of everyone.

It’s literally the only panel we are doing at the entire event, because I hate panels. That should tell you how interesting I expect the conversation to be. It doesn’t hurt that Unikey is also a Southern success story and Plated is in the red-hot food prep and delivery market.

Yet another of the jillion reasons you should snap up one of the remaining Southland tickets right now.