One of the few reality shows that matter and all you need to know about it.
What is Shark Tank?
If there is any show that you need to get hooked on to right now beside your ‘Netflix and chill’ sessions, then it has to be “Shark Tank”. Currently in its 8th season and still going from strength to strength, the show started way back in 2009 as a franchise of the Canadian show “Dragon’s den” which was itself based on the Japanese show “Money Tigers”. The format of the show revolves around a premise where entrepreneurs approach the Sharks in a bid to get as many or even one of the Sharks to provide capital for their ventures and be an investor in their company for a fix share in their business. The duration of the actual pitch that takes place without any breaks for each pitcher ranges from being 20 minutes long to an hour long. What is then aired on National Television is the edited, dramatic 10 minute summed up version of the hour long pitch. Based on insights shared by a Shark, the filming takes place in a period of 15-20 days with back to back pitches lined up for the Sharks to consider. While some make rigorous notes, some look at the numbers, perhaps at the packaging, at the salability, eco-friendly quotient, or just at how logical the product is, the show verifies its name with the type of hurdles the entrepreneurs have to pass as they try to please and convince each of the Shark. The show has also been witness to some fantastical entrepreneurs who are charming and enigmatic, thus catching the eye of the Sharks. Lastly, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to you that Shark Tank has won the Emmy for the Outstanding Structured Reality Programme.
Who are the Sharks?
The “Sharks” on the show, as they are fondly called, are the impressive panel of investors looking to invest their money into promising businesses suiting their business ways and ideals for a fix percent of equity or royalty in the company. Quite obviously so, the Sharks expect to reap something out of the association with the company to make a win-win situation out of the deal. Although the Sharks are paid for their participation on the show, the capital that they invest in the deals they bite is a part of their personal assets. Spanning 8 seasons, Shark Tank has seen a versatile panel of Sharks, each different from the other, some starkly so, with an individual back story that follows each of them, inspiring indeed. While some have been a part of the show since its inception and some came to become mainstays in the later seasons, Shark Tank has a stellar panel and it only makes sense to know them up close and learn about their inspiring journeys.
◘ Robert Herjavec
Deep blue eyes that we can look into all day, a stunning personality and a true gentleman. Robert Herjavec is like a treat for your eyes. However, that does not even begin to define this man. If you’re looking for some inspiration today, you might just have stumbled upon the right story of a person who says that, “Today, we do what others won’t, so that tomorrow we can accomplish what others can’t.” In a bid to find a better life, Robert Herjavec escaped Yugoslavia to end up turning the tables by finding his own business after taking up many odd jobs. He later went ahead to develop many IT companies that he sold to major players like AT&T. Following that, the Canadian businessman formed the Herjavec Group in 2003, which is considered to be a Global leader in Information Security. He believes that, “You have to stay laser-focused when driving a car over 200 miles an hour, and the same approach is required when growing a business in today’s world of rapidly changing technology.” In addition to winning the first-place for car racing, running marathons and competing in celebrity golf tournaments, he is now a best-selling author having authored best-selling books “Driven”, “The Will To Win” and “You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success”. Robert Herjavec, who is seen making rigorous notes in his diary is a man of numbers and usually has to do with, ‘How much business does the company do?’ A mainstay on the Shark Tank since Season 1 and a regular in the first six seasons of the Dragon’s Den, Robert Herjavec is known for his rational explanations, patient ears and a pleasant demeanor.
“A goal without a timeline is just a dream.”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – Robert Herjavec is quite an all-rounder with his many varied interests and a supernatural knack of being good at them. Alongside owning heaps of great businesses and being super rich, he juggles his passion for driving cars.Herjavec is a car racer who has achieved multiple podiums and won the Rookie of The Year in 2011 having participated as Ferrari #007 for Herjavec Group Racing in the Ferrari Challenge North America Series. WHAT!?
◘ Kevin O’Leary
Mr. Wonderful, the alias for Kevin O’Leary, holds a bag full of sarcasm as it points towards the outright brutal and ruthless manner in which the Shark speaks when he says “You’re dead for me” or “You are wasting your time” to pitchers who fail to impress him. And even though he has time and again been singled out and told off for being rude to pitchers by fellow Sharks, O’Leary does what he does best- grill the pitchers when he likes to. However, you can’t beat him when it comes to knowing his craft inside out. Being the staunch businessman that he is, Kevin O’Leary quotes, “Here’s how I think of my money: As soldiers. I send them out to war every day. I want them to take prisoners and come home, so there are more of them.”O’Leary went on to develop a keen interest early in business on in life after, in much contradiction to his initial aspirations of becoming a photographer. Kick starting his career at Nabisco as an assistant brand manager, O’Leary went on to become an asset for the company with his natural flair for business. In 1986, O’Leary co-founded SoftKey Software Products, a leading technology company which became a big shot in the global educational software scene accumulating annual sales of over $800 million. Later, in one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry, Softkey was sold to Mattel Toy Company in 1999 for a whopping 3.7 billion dollars. O’Leary later went on an acquisition binge as he acquired all of his rival companies. O’Leary also has a heap of other businesses in his name like O’Leary Funds, O’Leary Ventures, O’Leary Mortgages, O’Leary books, and O’Leary Fine Wines. Moreover, he has two books under his repertoire that go by the names “Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life” and “The Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them”. A constant on the show since its inception, O’Leary is known as the not so pleasant Shark who is a self-proclaimed “Eco-preneur,” thus searching for investments that are eco-friendly and do their numbers.
“Don’t cry about money, it never cries for you.”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – Kevin O’Leary has not missed one episode of the show till date across all 8 seasons. No wonder he is called Mr. Wonderful!
◘ Daymond John
If someone can take a $40 budget and grow it into a $6 billion brand, then it is the CEO of FUBU, John Daymond. A sharp and formidable entrepreneur in every sense, Daymond tasted the potential in manufacturing and selling wool hats that asked him to take a longer way of him mortgaging his house, taking up a full-time job and working on FUBU in between. Thus, Daymond made a $6 billion company that FUBU has now grown to become out of a small business. In addition to being an entrepreneur, he is a highly sought after public and motivational speaker who works with brands and celebrities like Pitbull and Miss India Organization. He has also been at the receiving end of many prestigious awards. Moreover, John has authored three books namely “Display of Power”, “The Brand Within” and “The Power of Broke”. Having participated as a mainstay on the Shark Tank across all 8 seasons, Daymond has guided many businesses through his expertise in branding. The Shark has also quoted that, “I’ve come to learn that my initial investment is more about the person versus the product that I am buying into. I’ve also learned that I really do enjoy giving worthy people an opportunity of a lifetime.”
“Everyone has an idea, but it’s taking those first steps toward turning that idea into a reality that are always the toughest.”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – Would you believe me if I told you that John refused to be a part of Shark Tank because he had commitments with the Kardashians for their show? Well, John, who wasn’t even asked to audition for the show, was later persuaded and encouraged by the Kardashians to go ahead with Shark Tank.
◘ Barbara Corcoran
Would you believe me if I told you that after joining and leaving a series of odd jobs, Barbara Corcoran, would start a business which would then make her a millionaire? Maybe not. But well, that is the truth about the Real Estate mogul Ms. Corcoran, who always wanted to be her own boss and repeated that, “Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they’ll determine 80 percent of your success”. After co-finding her real estate business “The Corcoran Group” in 1973, she sold it to NRT Incorporated for a whopping $66 million in 2001. Barbara has been one of the main sharks on the show and has been consistent since the first season. She continues to be famous for her knack of identifying opportunity and talent and at the same time for being infamously brash and blunt yet courageous. Her repertoire is as impressive as her personality having invested in 22 businesses till date, authored several books and appeared in various shows. What more? She is also a bestselling author of her book “If You Don’t Have Big Breasts, Put Ribbons on Your Pigtail: And Other Lessons I Learned From My Mom.”
“The difference between the real winners is how long they take to feel sorry for themselves. My winners feel it…but they come back up and say ‘hit me again.”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – Barbara got straight Ds in College and has done 20 jobs by the time she was 23 but ultimately ended up making a $1000 dollar business into a billion dollar entity. Definitely not shabby!
Guests that later became main Sharks
◘ Mark Cuban
If someone can start a business at age 12 selling plastic trash bags to raise money to buy the shoes they wanted, then they can do anything to get to where they want to be. You may have heard stories about people who, to seek a better life for themselves, dive head on into adventures and emerge winners. Well, Mark Cuban’s story is one of them. The go-getter attitude made a millionaire out of a man who wanted to get more than the average life he grew up with. His entrepreneurial journey started when he got fired for not cleaning the floor as he instead wished to close a deal, thus ultimately going ahead to start his own company MicroSolutionsa computer consulting service which he later sold for $6 million. Just 5 years later in 1995, he co-founded Broadcast.com that was acquired by Yahoo for 5.6 billion making him a billionaire. Mark Cuban is a natural businessman and that can be said by the number of businesses he owns across various sectors. Beside owning NBA Dallas Mavericks, he also has stakes in Magnolia pictures, Landmark Theatres and AXS TV. Mark has been a consistent Shark on the show since season 3 after guest starring in season 2. Considered to be the outspoken Shark on the show, Mark has time and again advised entrepreneurs to “Follow the green, not the dream”. Diverging from his businesses, Mark Cuban is quite an active chap having written an ebook “How to win in the sport of Business” and participated in the reality show Dancing with the Stars on his daughter’s advice.
“It comes down to finding something you love to do and then just trying to be great at it.”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – You can find Cuban in the Guinness Book of Records for a record created in the year 1999 for making the largest single e-commerce transaction back then worth $40 million. Know what he bought? A Gulfstream V private jet. Just one of the things people with A LOT of money do casually, we wouldn’t know. Oh and, excuse us, but we cannot resist but mention the fact that Cuban’s new worth is more than the net worth of all other Sharks combined. Not a big deal at all.
◘ Lori Greiner
Fondly known as the “Queen of QVC”, Lori Greiner holds a deep passion to create products that make lives of the people easier; Lori created a box that organized earrings that she later patented. The product was picked up by JC Penny, which then wrote her millionaire story and the rest is history. The Queen of QVC looks at presentability and packaging as important factors for any product to sell and thus far has delved into developing a variety of household products like kitchen tools, travel bags, unique accessories to must-have organizers. The millionaire entrepreneur that she is believes that,“As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough.”Apart from her entrepreneurial ventures, Lori is also the author of the book “Invent it, Sell it, Bank it: Make your Million dollar idea into a reality”. She has been a consistent Shark on the show since season 4 after guest starring in season 3 and is known as the warm-blooded shark on the show for her polite refusals and patient ears, and helps launch brands using her expertise and relations with the big brands like Bed, Bath and Body thus totally proving her title.
“Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist–while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!”
YOU HAVE TO KNOW THIS ABOUT HIM – With her expertise and business skills, she has helped launch more than 400 businesses, owns over 120 US and International patents. No wonder she is known as the “Queen of QVC”.
Guests in the Tank
◘ Ashton Kutcher
We might know the actor for his popular romcoms, comedic roles in sitcoms and his extreme good looks, but the 37 yrs old has been a guest Shark in the tank in the seventh season and was quite impressive according to fellow Shark Robert Herjavec. Ashton Kutcher has proved that he is a smart and formidable investor through his own production venture Katalyst in 2003 and other calculated investments in giant businesses like Uber, Airbnb, Spotify, Soundcloud among others. Revealing a different side of himself to his fans, Kutcher shook hands as he smartly closed a deal with Beeboand that set the ball rolling.Other guests to make an appearance on the show as Sharks were Troy Carter, Chris Sacca, Nick Woodman, Steve Tisch and John Paul DeJoria who did quite an impressive job during their tenure in the Tank.
“There are definitely times where you feel like you got burned, and you just gotta big boy up after that.”
Success stories to come out of Shark Tank
1. Scrub Daddy
Shark Tank’s 4th season witnessed the impressive pitch by founder Aaron Krause for his company Scrub Daddy. Krause, who believes that proper planning prevents poor performance, barely reached a meagre sale of $100,000 in 18 months. However, the company would later go on to become the show’s biggest success story since its television debut. A company that produces smiley face-shaped sponges- Scrub Daddyseemed clever, unique and different to Lori Greiner who invested $200,000 for 20% equity in the company. Made with a design that can outlast other average reusable sponges, the Scrub Daddy sponges get firm in cold water and soften in warm water and also help clean both sides of utensils at once. The company has now raked over $50 million in sales, moved 10 million units and is available in leading stores like QVC, Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart, Target, and Staples in the U.S.
2. Tipsy Elves
A company that got the man of numbers, Robert Herjavec, to invest a total of $100,000 for 10% equity was the Season 4 participant Tipsy Elves, a niche company that makes ugly Christmas sweaters mainly worn by folks for themed parties. Founders Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton projected $2 million, but made $390,000 on the opening weekend alone. The company was also lucky to benefit from the brand promotion that the movie The Night Before starring Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Anthony Mackie brought it as they were snapped sporting one of their sweaters. The company later went ahead to make $8 million, with sales only growing by the day.
Groovebook is a subscription-based digital photo service founded by husband and wife Julie and Brian Whiteman who entered the Tank in the 5th season. The company makes a bound book of high-resolution photos taken from smartphones available to customers for a fix amount each month. Sharks Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary bit the pitch by chipping in $150,000 in exchange for 80% of licensing profits with O’Leary taking the lead advisory role. The company witnessed a rise in the number of subscriptions with it scaling to 50,000 subscribers right after the pitch and was later acquired by the publicly traded company Shutterfly for $14.5 million in 2014.
A first in the show’s history, a product got all 5 Sharks to invest some moolah from their pockets and that company was Charles Yim’s Breathometer. If you accidentally had too much to drink and can no longer drive, the portable breathalyzer turns your smartphone into a breathalyzer to tell you if you are. The company that appeared in Season 5 acquired $650,000 in exchange for 30% of the company going forward to make $10 million in sales in 2014.
5. Grace & Lace
Walking away with $175,000 from Barbara Corcoran for 10% equity for their fashion company Grace and Lace, season 5 participants husband and wife duo Melissa and Rick Hinnant have been her most profitable “Shark Tank” investment, as said by Barbara Corcoran. With sales growing by the day, the brand has accumulated its numbers reaching an approx $6.5 million. Simultaneously, the brand has taken its philanthropic mission to higher levels by providing housing to under 100 kids in their two orphanages in India through their profits.
6. Ten Thirty One Productions
Catching the attention of the outspoken Shark in the tank in season 5, live-action horror entertainment company Ten Thirty One owner Carbone got Mark Cuban to bite the pitch with $2 million for a 20% stake. Since the show, the company gathered $3 million at one point and continues to expand by the day with making at least half a million dollars in annual profit.
7. Wicked Good Cup cakes
In Season 4, Tracey Noonan and Danielle Vilagie, a mother-daughter duo from Boston, entered Shark Tank with their company that makes gourmet cupcakes in a jar which are shipped nationwide. Ending up intriguing the “tough to please” Shark in the tank, the financial pundit Kevin O’Leary, the duo bagged an investment of $75,000 for royalties instead of equity. Moreover, he took $1 from every cupcake sold until he broke even and then $0.50 per cupcake thereafter. Spanning across new locations and garnering $4.8 million annually, the company has gone from around $7,000 in monthly sales to $400,000 thus becoming his most profitable investment of the show, as said by the Shark.
8. Simple Sugars
Lani Lazzari, the 18 years old owner of the skincare company Simple Sugars entered the tank in Season 4 only to crack a deal with Mark Cuban for $100,000 in return for 33% equity. The company saw a jump to sales of $220,000 from $50,000 within just 24 hours of her episode’s premiere and hit $1 million six weeks later only to reach $3 million in the future. Becoming one of the most profitable investments to come out of the show for Mark Cuban, Simple Sugars products are now available in more than 700 retail locations which are also shipped internationally.
Tagged as possibly the best entrepreneur on the show as far by Robert Herjavec, Max Gunawan managed to impress the shark by getting him to invest $350,000 for 10% equity in Lumio, a company that secured distribution deals with stores that appeal to a high-end, artistic audience. The Season 6 entrant Lumio manufactures foldable, magnetic lamps which made $3 million in sales and also signifies a healthy and continual future growth.
A demo smooch between Corcoran and Mr. Wonderful, aka Kevin O’Leary, was enough for Shark Mark Cuban to seal the deal for $200,000 for 40 percent of the business. After failing to work their makeout skills during college, owners Dallas Robinson & Mike Buonomo breaking bad it up by creating the sexy lip balm in their Utah Valley University dorm room. Emphasizing on the chemistry factor, this flavored duo lip balm allows customers to mix and match flavors and better their kissing experiences. Shark tank helped the company leverage their website traffic to sell more than 5,000 units that are also sold in retail outlets like Walgreens, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kmart, which are available online, too.
Season 3 saw Rick Hopper, owner of ReadeRest, demonstrate his product that provides an ingenious solution to a problem that most people with specs face. ReadeRest is a magnetic eyewear holder that allows users to fasten their glasses somewhere on their body. While the other Sharks failed to see the green attached to product, Shark Lori Greiner sensed the potential thus investing a total of $150,000 for 65% of the company. Turning the brand into a one-man show success since Shark Tank, the enigmatic pitcher calculated a product revenue of over $8 million sales as compared to the prior $65,000 mark. Milestones like a 6,000 sq/ft office, inclusion of the product in over 6,000 stores, opportunities with Wal-Mart, Ace Hardware and Walgreens are all noteworthy but the popularity of Greiner’s QVC show does demand credit.
12. Bottle Breacher
A company run by military veterans who turn dummy 50 caliber bullets into bottle openers was a unique proposition of Bottle Breacher, founded by former Navy SEAL Eli Crane and his wife and business partner Jen. The two left the show with happy faces after bagging a deal for $150,000 in exchange for a 20% stake in the business with two SharksCuban and O’Leary- who has taken the lead brand ambassador role. The business has continued to grow to meet increasing demands, thus making more than $2.5 million in sales.
13. Squatty Potty
Although their mission statement “to change the way we poop, one ‘stool’ at a time,” might sound like a bad joke, the product gets down to business and how! Introducing a solution for those suffering from colon problems and hemorrhoid, Bobby and Judy Edwards, with Squatty Potty, wish to correct our posture while pooping as the human body is naturally designed to squat while pooping. Prior to entering Shark Tank, Squatty Potty did some serious business when it came to sales that had Robert Herjavec, the man of numbers, blown away. Some trivia, they sold the product they manufactured for $4.50 at $25. After finally tying up with Shark Lori Greiner for 350K for 10%, the company has come to make $12 million since airing on the show.ChordBuddy, Ava the Elephant,Hold your Haunches, Lollacup, Buggy Beds, PlateTopper, Drop Stop, Tower Paddle boards, Nuts N More, were among the other Shark Tank success stories that secured deals with the Sharks and of course, enjoyed the promotional benefits that came with Shark Tank.Shark Tank has time again proved to be a great Launchpad for all the budding businesses to take their brands to a higher level. Although, not going to lie, there are more deals than we know, almost half of them, that don’t work through and are not executed even after having shook hands on screen. However, on the brighter side, for those businesses that saw the light of the day got really lucky. Statistics have shown that after having appeared on the show, the brand popularity and sales shoot up to depict big numbers. On going back to see how the businesses were doing after a few years down the line post Shark Tank, an impressive number showed a massive growth in their sales graph and recognition. That is the impact the show has on businesses and lives, alike. 8 seasons and multiple associations with the investors down, Shark Tank still continues to be a major reason behind the success of a lot of emerging businesses with a great idea, thus changing lives for good.