ABC has figured out that there is a huge amount of entertainment in letting everyday business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs pitch some of the world's most well-known investors.
So much so, that Shark Tank has won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Structured Reality Program twice.
So, what are some of the coolest companies to make it out of Shark Tank?
If you want to go surfing but you don't know how to surf, what do you do?
Ashton Kutcher and Mark Cuban went in on Slyde Handboards together, investing $200,000 for a 22% stake in the handheld miniature surfboard business. You strap the board to your hand and catch a wave by body-surfing. Cool concept? Cool enough to get a major investment from two big-time sharks.
Apparently, smiley faced sponges are worth a lot.
"Queen of QVC" Lori Greiner saw big potential in Scrub Daddy, a sponge with more durability and effectiveness than the market's traditional offerings. Greiner invested $200,000 in the company in exchange for 20% equity. So, what makes this sponge so cool? How about the fact that Scrub Daddy has brought in over $75 million in revenue.
Who knew there was so much potential in selling cupcakes in a jar.
Kevin O'Leary (also known as 'Mr. Wonderful') invested $75,000 in the company, structured within a royalty deal. He requested $1 made from every cupcake sold until he made his money back, and then 50 cents per cupcake sold thereafter. Well, the cupcake business must be pretty good because O'Leary has said it's been one of his most profitable investments on the show to date, with the company going from $7,000 in monthly sales to $400,000.
Skin care products, but with a health-conscious twist. Simple Sugars sources natural ingredients to create body scrubs--at first, catered specifically toward the eczema market.
The big shark Mark Cuban invested $100,000 in exchange for 33% equity in the Simple Sugars brand. But it was the famed 'Shark Tank effect' that really put the brand over the top, spiking sales to over $1 million within six weeks of the episode's airing. Cuban, too, has said that his investment in the skincare brand has been one of his most profitable investments from the show.
In the spirit of the holidays, take a look at this mega-successful sweater company.
Shark Robert Herjavec invested $100,000 for 10% of the Christmas gag gift business--a novelty clothing line. The investment raised eyebrows but come on, everyone needs an ugly Christmas sweater to wear to at least one holiday party. Sometimes it's a crazy ideas that end up working out the best. According to Business Insider, this was Herjavec's most profitable investment from the show.
How do you strike a deal with all five sharks?
Breathometer, the portable breathalyzer that works with your smartphone, struck a deal with Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner. All five of them collectively own 30% of the company, in exchange for a combined investment of $650,000. Since appearing on Shark Tank, the business has received another $6.5 million in funding and expanded to additional devices and products.
Mmmm, there's something sweet about a profitable barbecue business.
Started by Al 'Bubba' Baker, the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1978, he struck a deal with Daymond John to expand the company. John invested $300,000 in exchange for 30% equity, as well as licensing rights. To date, this has been one of John's most profitable investments from the show. Now that's good eatin'.
Everyone has to go to the bathroom--which makes it a pretty big market.
Squatty Potty is a toilet accessory intended to relieve constipation and help move the bowels more effectively. Shark Lori Greiner saw huge potential and struck a deal providing $350,000 in exchange for 10% equity. You'd be amazed how many people swear by the Squatty Potty now. It has revolutionized the bathroom experience (who knew?).
Popcorn can be oh-so-profitable (when done right).
The gourmet snack company caught the attention of Shark Barbara Corcoran, who struck a deal to invest $200,000 for 10% equity of the company. She saw big potential in the company's miniature popcorn snack, Pipcorn. Apparently, she isn't the only one. The company saw explosive growth after Corcoran's investment, with sales surpassing $1 million less than three months after the deal was done.
You know that annoying gap between the seat of your car and the center console? How many times have you dropped something down there?
The Drop Stop pitch was highly entertaining, pointing out a major flaw in the design of automobiles--and it caught the attention of Shark Lori Greiner. She invested $300,000 for a 20% stake in the company, getting behind the vision to end all unnecessarily dropped objects down that forbidden "gap" in all cars. The company manufactures a foam product that fits within the gap to keep items from falling down into the lost abyss.
Do you watch Shark Tank? What is your favorite episode?