Shark Tank is a reality TV show wherein entrepreneurs seek investments from sharks (investors). There, the entrepreneurs pitch their business and sharks discern whether or not to invest in them.
Hundreds of businesses have become successful after they got their investment from the sharks. However, not all businesses thrive and live up to expectations. Sharks lost a lot of money from some of their investments.
If you’re looking for startup ideas or even inspiration, you can start by looking at the most successful businesses pitched at Shark Tank. Who knows? You might get a crazy product idea that can revolutionize our way of living.
In Season 4, Aaron Krause pitched his simple product called Scrub Daddy—a sponge that gets firm in cold water and soft in warm water. It can clean any kind of grease and dirt, on any surface without scratching it. The “smiley face” design also is ergonomically designed to clean all kinds of kitchen utensils.
The potential of the product made Lori Greiner invest $200,000 for a 25% equity stake. Now, Scrub Daddy has over $200 million in sales and is worldwide. As you can see, Krause took a simple product and revolutionized it. Sometimes, all it takes is a simple product and improve it. This is definitely one of the most successful products pitched in Shark Tank.
Sometimes, it’s not about the product, but the entrepreneur that sells. Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton pitched their ugly sweater business called Tipsy Elves in Season 5. They sell holiday-themed apparel with witty designs.
Robert Herjavec then invested $100,000 for a 10% stake in the business. Later he revealed that he invested in the entrepreneurs, not in the product itself. In an interview with CNBC, he said “Give me a great entrepreneur and he can take a so-so product, and make a great business out of it. A bad entrepreneur can take a great product and run it into the ground”.
It’s one of Herjavec’s best investments in Shark Tank. Today, Tipsy Elves generated over $125 million in sales.
After the Haiti Earthquake in 2010, architecture students Andrea Shresta and Anna Stork were inspired to make their own light product. LuminAID is an inflatable solar light product that has many real-world applications. It can potentially save lives in emergencies by providing quick light.
Its primary goal is to provide sustainable light in disaster-struck and rural areas that have no electricity. They partnered with nonprofit organizations all over the globe such as the Red Cross, Convoy of Hope, UNFPA, and many more.
Mark Cuban saw it as a product that can change the world. He then invested $200,000 for a 15% stake + option to lead the next financing round.
Today, LuminAID has been able to send lights to more than 100 countries. Not just that, but they developed other inflatable light designs used in camping and at home.
In Season 5, Julie and Brian Whiteman pitched their photo-printing app subscription service called GrooveBook. For only $2.99 a month, it sends you a 4″x 6″ photo book with perforated pages that can be torn out, allowing you to put it in a frame or share it with someone. Shipping and handling are also covered in the subscription.
Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary invested in it for $150,000 for 8% of the licensing rights. After Shark Tank, they grew their business from 18,000 to 500,000 subscriptions. The exposure helped the business gain a lot of subscribers. And in 2014, Shutterfly acquired GrooveBook for $14.5 million.
Who could’ve thought that a toilet stool is one of the most successful businesses ever?
Mother and son, Judy and Bobby Edwards made a toilet stool called Squatty Potty. It promotes easier bowel movements by changing the orientation of your legs—imitating the squatting position.
A lot of the sharks thought it’s a joke right from the start. Lori Greiner believed in the product and invested $350,000 for a 10% equity stake. Today, the business made over $164 million in sales. It can be found in major retailers all around the world. Albeit a simple product, it sells a lot because it makes it easier for everyone to #2.
Simply Fit Board is a balance-board workout tool that lets you stand and twist around on. By simply balancing and twisting your core, it tones your ab muscles in the process. As you can see, this is perfect for individuals who don’t want to go to the gym and sweat a lot but still tone their bodies.
Mother and daughter, Gloria Hoffman, and Linda Clark made a deal with Lori Greiner for $125,000 for a 20% equity stake. Today, SimplyFit made over a whopping $160 million in sales and is worldwide.
David Health and Randy Goldberg created Bombas, a comfy athletic sock. It has a philanthropic goal right from the start. Their mission is to donate 1 pair of socks to homeless people for every item purchased. To date, it has donated more than 40 million items to more than 2,500 community organizations.
Having a social impact right off the bat made Bombas explode. After all, their business model is simple. Buy 1 pair and they donate 1 pair.
Daymond John, the founder of FUBU fashion apparel, invested $200,000 for a 17.5% equity stake. Today, Bombas grew their business from socks alone to underwear and t-shirts. They have earned over $225 million in sales.
As you can see, these businesses started from scratch. They faced a lot of challenges along the way but persisted. Now, they are making millions of dollars and are international. Their success was earned, not given.
Inspired? Here are some tips on starting your own business—whether it’s big or small.