It would seem that with all the business and financial experience amongst the six sharks on the popular reality show Shark Tank–a show that features business pitches from entrepreneurs who are looking for an investor–they would be able to sniff out the entrepreneurs who have potential every time. Alas this is not the case, and there are many incidences on Shark Tank where an entrepreneur failed to make a deal with any of the sharks, but then went on to become a huge success.
James Martin and Copa Di Vino James Martin pitched his Oregon winery, Copa Di Vino, to the sharks as well as a patented glass that comes with a peel-off top that is meant for single servings. O’Leary was the first shark to be interested in James, but only liked his invention, which he thought could be marketable to other alcohol distributers. O’Leary offered a financial deal of $600,000 for a 51% share of just Martin’s patented technology and not the winery. Martin refused this offer and walked away from the shark’s table, venturing out to make Copa Di Vino and his patent a success, which he most definitely did. James came back the next season of Shark Tank when he turned a $500,000 a year product into $5 million, but once again came out of the shark tank without a deal. It doesn’t seem that Martin needs one however, as his company is projected to be sold for several hundred million sometime in the future.
Donny McCall and Invis-A-Rack Donny McCall appeared on Shark Tank in season three with an invention called Invis-A-Rack, which is a folding cargo system designed for pickup trucks. Although the sharks liked his design, they did not like his implementation, and insisted that he outsource the manufacturing of the invention to increase his profits. McCall did not agree with the sharks and wanted to keep his product all American, which ultimately lost him the deal. However that’s where McCall’s bad luck ended. After he appeared on Shark Tank, McCall transformed from making a $75,000 profit during a year and a half period to making the same profit in three months. McCall went on to make a deal with a corporation in Iowa called DeeZee to create and distribute Invis-A-Rack.
Shawn Davis and CBS Foods, Inc.Shawn Davis came on Shark Tank in season two with a company he calls CBS Foods, INC., as well as his flagship product: the Original Shrimp Burger. He failed to get the $200,000 investment he was asking for; however, after his stint on Shark Tank, Davis went from making about $30,000 in profit to making almost $10 million. He did this in part by securing over $500,000 in financial investments from private investors who saw him on the show and liked his brand.
Abby Jordan, Becky App and E-Creamery Abby Jordan and Becky App brought their idea of an online ice cream store to the shark table. Although the sharks like the idea and loved the ice cream, the two women failed to get a deal. All was not lost however, as right after the Shark Tank episode that featured E-Creamery was aired, the sales of E-Creamery ice cream jumped through the roof. By the end of the weekend E-Creamery had 75,000 new visitors, and has grown exponentially since then.
Erika Welsh, Keeley Tillotson and Wild Squirrel Nut Butter Erika Welsh and Keeley Tillotson pitched Wild Squirrel Nut Butter in May of 2012. Their custom peanut butter line was a hit, and Barbara Corcoran put up a $50,000 investment for a 40% equity stake. A few months down the line however, the deal went sour, as Barbara Corcoran wanted to run the business a different way than what Welsh and Tillotson had in mind. Although the deal fell through Wild Squirrel Nut Butter is making efforts to stand on its own and no hard feelings between the entrepreneurs and Barbara materialized.
Susie Taylor and Bibbitec Susie Taylor is a stay-at-home mom from South Florida who turned entrepreneur when she invented an improved bib, and created the company Bibbitec. She went on Shark Tank asking for a $40,000 investment for a 14% stake in her company. The sharks were not so keen about her margins however, as it cost $15 to make an individual bib, because it was produced in the U.S., and Taylor used very high-quality material. The sharks were also not satisfied with her price point and sales strategy, and so they turned her away without a deal. This was a blessing in disguise however, as Shark Tank introduced Taylor’s product to the public. Soon after the show aired, orders for the stain-resistant bib came rolling in, and within the first 48-hours Taylor made about $21,000 in sales, and was contacted by numerous private investors.
Pat McCarthy and Liquid Money Pat McCarthy is the proud inventor of a fragrance he claims smells exactly like money. He brought ‘His and Hers Liquid Money Fragrances’ to the shark table, asking for a $100,000 investment for a 5% share in his company. The sharks saw this valuation as extremely high, as it put his company at a worth of $2 million. This didn’t make any sense to the sharks as McCarthy had only invested $50,000 of his own money into his product, and only received close to $50,000 in revenue. Daymond John made a counter offer of $100,000 for 80% of the company, which Pat immediately refused, leading to a no deal for the liquid money business. Although McCarthy’s valuation was way off, after the show aired he has managed to put his Liquid Money product into a number of retail stores, and is selling his product at $42 a bottle.
Jared Joyce and 5-Minute Furniture 5 Minute Furniture did not fail to get a deal once or even twice, but appeared on Shark Tank a grand total of three times without getting a deal. Jared Joyce presented the sharks with a line of furniture that does not require screws or nails to assemble, in fact the furniture is so simple to assemble that it does not require any instructions, which makes it very competitive in the furniture market. Joyce claims that anyone can assemble his furniture in 5 minutes or less. The first time that he appeared on Shark Tank, Joyce asked for a $250,000 investment for a 25% share of his company. Both Lori Greiner and Kevin O’Leary turned this offer down, and instead made a counter offer of $250,000 for the rights to 100% of the company. Joyce did not sell out, and instead went on to license his product. After failing to get a financial deal from any sharks for the third time, Joyce was able to secure a private investment from Edison Nation for 50% of his company.
Brenda Coffman and Blondie’s Cookies Brenda Coffman tried to appeal to the sharks’ sweet tooth by bringing a batch of her famous cookies for them to try. Although her grandmotherly charm melted the hearts of the sharks, her deal of $200,000 for a 3% stake in the company was ridiculously high. Although Coffman has twelve stores in Florida and Indiana, and had made over $2 million in sales the previous year, she was in debt by $800,000 and was hoping to bring Blondie’s Cookies to a higher level of success. However, the valuation was simply too high, and none of the sharks took the cookie bait. Coffman didn’t let this halt her success, and her appearance on Shark Tank spurred online sales and her cookies’ popularity. Coffman plans to open more stores soon.
Ben Wood and ViewSport ViewSport is an innovative clothing line designed by Ben Wood that has a sweat-activated design made for athletes. On his appearance on Shark Tank, Wood ran into some bad luck when he accidently sprayed the wrong side of one of his shirts, leading to the message, which only appears when wet, not being displayed to the sharks. This as well as the fact that the sharks didn’t seem to like Wood’s personality, led to him not getting a deal. However, that didn’t stop the U.S. Navy, Detroit Pistons, Iron Man Competition, and many others from showing interest in his product after the show aired.
Nick Larosa, Penilopee Larosa and the Instant Lift The Larosa’s created a very useful invention to get rid of the appearance of cellulite by lifting and taping the excess fat around the stomach, thighs, and even arms. They asked for a $100,000 investment for a 25% stake in the company. Although the business was solid (they sold $75,000 worth in 5 months), the sharks felt cheated, because the Larosa’s turned out to have a lot more patents than just the Instant Lift. The Larosa’s came out of the tank without a deal, but took away a lot of great business advice from the sharks. Namely, they took the shark’s advice in combining all of their patents together into one brand, which they entitled ‘The Skinnies Instant Lifts’.
Gary DeJohn and Vinamor With Dejohn’s invention, entitled Vinamor, anyone can easily breathe a glass of wine almost instantly. Vinamor is an aerator system for wines that sits on top of an individual glass, and covers a greater surface area than traditional aerotors, and can also pour out exact portions of wine. For their own personal reasons the sharks did not buy in to Dejohn’s invention, but this did little to slow the progress of Vinamor. After the show aired, Dejohn’s phone blew up with investors who were interested in Vinamor. Dejohn was able to find a better manufacturing deal and he can now sell Vinamor for a much lower cost than what was originally priced.
Paul d’Auriac, Debbie Brooks and Debbie Brooks Handbag Collection Debbie Brooks and Paul d’Auriac are the designers of Debbie Brooks Handbag Collection, which is a versatile handbag that can take many forms. The sharks admired the quality of the handbags, but were wary of the numbers. Brooks and d’Auriac asked for $540,000 from the sharks for a 20%, stake in the company which values their company at $2.7 million. The sharks also did not like the high price of the handbags at $288 a pop and they all were out rather early in the game. The woman didn’t let that stop them from shining, and went on to create other products including phone covers and charm bracelets. The Debbie Brooks collection was even recently featured on Extra.
Scotty Olsen and SkyRide Technology Scotty Olson is the inventor of the futuristic technology that enables a person to fly above ground using a form of human transport that is powered by the rider. This fuses both exercise and fun together into one interesting package. Olsen, already an accomplished inventor who conceived the roller blades a quarter of a century ago, created the Sky Ride Farm located in Waconia, MN to demonstrate his invention’s capabilities. Olsen hoped to get the financial backing from the sharks to put his invention in ski resorts as well as other tourist attractions. Although the sharks were extremely impressed with Olsen, they were not willing to put down $3 million of their own money, which is what Olsen was asking for. Although Olsen came away from the Shark Tank empty handed, he currently has multiple bids for his technology from resorts and clubs around the world.
Tereson Dupuy and Fuzzy Bunz Fuzzy Bunz is a cloth baby diaper that has been successful thus far, making the inventor, Tereson Dupuy, $3.9 million in sales in one year alone, and $23 million total since she began her business. Fuzzy Bunz are sustainable and environmentally friendly diapers that are also very cute. The problem that the Sharks had with Fuzzy Bunz is that although Dupuy made $3.9 million in sales, she only got about $20,000 of that from pure profit, which makes the profit margin .5% of gross sales. Dupuy claims that her profit margin problem is due to a company in China stealing her product and selling it for much cheaper even though she has a patent, which has taken away about 70% of her business. Unfortunately, the sharks thought this was too much of a liability, and so backed out of any financial deal. Dupuy has stated that she learned a lot from the sharks even without a deal, and she has made major changes in her strategy to make sure her patent is safe.