Anyone that has watched Shark Tank, understands that some products show great promise and others are either unneeded, doesn’t work the way they are described, too expensive, or not made well. But those things don’t stop entrepreneurs from going on the show and conducting their pitches and presentations.
In many cases, the sharks need to experience the product to get a true idea of its value. In many cases, entrepreneurs create a product specifically for the individual sharks to help sway them to invest in their products. But do they get to keep the sample products?
Do The Shark Investors Keep the Products they Review?
For the shark investors to get a real idea of how a product works, and how a food or beverage tastes, entrepreneurs often create sample products specifically for the sharks. Some other items must be tried and experienced to get the full experience.
But in other cases, do the sharks get to keep the samples that are presented during the pitch? There is no definitive answer because each presentation and product are different.
Here are some cases when the sharks were able to keep the product presented:
- An item was made especially for the shark. For instance, if someone is presenting a food product, they will often provide a different flavor or variety for each shark, so they get a better idea of the full line of products.
- If the item is tangible and gender–specific, the entrepreneur may create a specific item geared to the sharks’ gender or that fits their personality.
- Inexpensive items are usually given away. For instance, one of the top-performing products that Lori Grenier invested in was Scrub Daddy, a brand of scratch-free cleaning sponges that have a smiley face. The retail price is around $3.99 for a single unit. In this case, all the sharks kept the item.
Big Successes that the Sharks Didn’t Bite On:
Even the smartest entrepreneur can make a mistake. And that is just what happened to some of these well-known brands that the sharks all took a pass on.
Here are some of the products that could have made the sharks a lot of money, if they had invested in them.
· Ring Doorbell: We know it by its current name, Ring, but back in 2013, it was known as DoorBot. Kevin O’Leary was the only shark to make an offer. The founder didn’t like the deal and decided not to take the deal. In 2018, Amazon bought the brand for $1 billion.
· Coffee Meets Bagel: No, there was no food involved with this deal. It was a dating app which rewarded users with vouchers for food and drink. Mark Cuban made an offer, but the sisters that started the company turned it down. Today, the business is worth approximately $15 million.
· Kodiak Cakes: The founder of the company was contemplating bankruptcy when he went on Shark Tank in 2013. The sharks offered $500,000 in exchange for 35% of the company, but he was only willing to give up 15%. The sharks then declined the new offer. In 2017, the company had over $54 million in revenue. The brand is now available at Whole Foods, Costco, and Target.
· The Bouqs Company: This may not be the best name, and the sharks thought the company was just another floral business. While they didn’t get an offer from the sharks, owner John Tabis was able to get a $23 million investment. Today the company has 80 employees and over $43 in sales.
· Xero Shoes: The founders of Xero Shoes appeared on Shark Tank in 2012. The company developed a line of shoes that mimicked the feeling of running barefoot. The founders were sure that the sharks were going to jump on board, but they left without a deal. Today, Xero Shoes is one of the fastest-growing companies in the U.S. The company made $12 million in revenue in 2019 alone.
· Chef Big Shake: The founder, Shawn Davis, pitched the sharks in 2011 with their healthy fast food options. The sharks felt the opportunity was too risky for them to invest in, and took a pass. After the show, he was able to secure other investors; today his products are in 2,500 grocery stores. They have gone on to open their own chain of restaurants.
Best Deals That Closed on Shark Tank
The sharks have experienced numerous successes from their investments, whether they were able to take them home with them or not.
· Readerest: Lori Greiner invested $150,000 for a whopping 65% of the company. The owner of the company, Rick Hopper, had been plagued by scratched and missing glasses. Hopper developed a prototype product that she started showcasing at trade shows. Lori took the product to QVC, where it grossed over $8 million in sales.
· Squatty Potty: Lured in investors Kevin O’Leary and Lori Greiner, landing a $350,000 investment. Within three months, the product made $12 million in sales. An agreement was later made with Bed, Bath, and Beyond where they secured sales of over $30 million.
· Grace and Lace: In season five, the owners of Grace and Lace, a women’s accessory company, secured a $175,000 investment from Barbara Corcoran. The company generated $20 million in sales and she considers it to be her most profitable investment.
Great Products, Even if They are Not All Take-Aways for the Sharks:
Some products are natural for samples or at least to enjoy during filming. Food products are a natural for this. For instance, Cousin’s Maine Lobster is a key example of this. The sharks loved digging into these samples during the segment.
Even though some sharks may take free samples, often the crew behind the scenes are privy to leftover food, samples, and other goodies. In all of these cases, the company owners consider this part of doing business as a way to get their product samples and to be enjoyed by potential customers.