There are questions that beg an answer. One of these is: Who is Maria Sharapova (Guest Shark Tank Judge – Season 11). For those interested in the world of sport, Sharapova’s name will have come up, or ring some bells, as a great tennis player. How come, then, she was invited onto Shark Tank. Not as a competitor, mind you, but as a guest investor.
A quick note about Shark Tank
The aptly named and successful program, Shark Tank, sees entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a team of business people hoping to reel in an investor. The show has regular investors, but also invites guests in some episodes to join the team and possibly lend their weight to a startup, or a business seeking to expand.
In Season 11 of Shark Tank, Maria Sharapova was invited to be one of the guest investors.
A background to Maria Sharapova
Russian-born Maria Sharapova came onto the world stage as a champion tennis player in the early 2000s. She was originally spotted by ex-champion Martina Navratilova, who advised her how to take her career further. Sharapova moved to America to pursue her tennis further.
During her career in the spotlight of tennis, Sharapova’s career highs were five Grand Slam titles. As a tennis player, she dominated the court, playing a strong game in every match.
At one stage, she was suspended from the professional tennis circuit after she tested positive for a banned substance. She did return to the game, but retired from tennis in 2020.
Before she left tennis behind her, Sharapova had already started looking ahead. She used her determination, drive and guts to move into business. She started her own sweets and candy company, called Sugarpova, in 2012. The company has grown to earn in the region of $20 million per year.
A new chapter of her life began when Sharapova turned to looking for business opportunities to invest in.
Sharapova’s net worth
In her tennis career, Sharapova earned around $39 million in prize money and nearly three times that amount off the court. This was from celebrity endorsements and other opportunities that traded on her success as a tennis player.
She also had a successful modeling career off the court. For 11 years running, Sharapova was listed as the highest-paid female athlete in the world by Forbes. In 2015, she reached a peak in her net worth of $30 million.
As she has grown in business since then, Sharapova’s net worth has increased with her investments, particularly in her own company.
Maria Sharapova on Shark Tank as a Guest Judge
Shark Tank has a regular team of business people that feature in every episode. However, alongside them, some episodes feature a guest investor. Maria Sharapova was invited onto the show as a guest in Season 11.
Her experience and success with Sugarpova alone, she had proven that she had business acumen. The business expanded its offerings to include chocolates and other confections and turns over in the region of $20 million a year.
In addition, Sharapova has invested in other companies. In keeping with her success in the sporting arena, she has an interest in Tonal, a home fitness company. When Sharapova first put her money into Tonal, it was only a startup. The company has shown immense success and grown exponentially. This was directly a result of the lockdowns with Covid 19 and the emphasis on exercise at home.
Another company that Sharapova invested in is Therabody. This is a company operating in the wellness niche. They produce tools that help people achieve natural whole-body wellness. Again, the company has grown significantly, giving investors, like Sharapova, a great return on their investment.
Sharapova’s Shark Tank Investments
On Shark Tank, Maria Sharapova rejected the chance to partner with the business, Fur, because she didn’t think she was being offered a high enough percentage for the money asked. The company has been moderately successful since their appearance on the program. Perhaps Sharapova missed an opportunity there.
Shake it Pup! was another business offer on Shark Tank, but Sharapova thought there was too much competition in the area for her to risk an investment. Time proved that this was a wise decision, as the business did not last.
Sharapova also rejected an opportunity to invest with Pips & Bounce, which has had some success following Shark Tank. Perhaps she missed a chance with this business, although their growth has been minimal.
Sharapova demonstrated her nose for a good deal by maneuvering to get herself into a position where she was behind a company called Bala Bangles.
In 2020, Bala Bangles pitched their idea for wearable sports weights to the sharks on Shark Tank. All five sharks, including Sharapova, showed interest.
Using her drive for success, Sharapova managed to outdo most of her fellow sharks and make an offer that was accepted, along with that of Mark Cuban. Together, they invested $900,000 for 30% of the company. Bala Bangles produces wearable weight bands, to be used during fitness workouts.
In 2020, gyms were closed across the US, due to Covid 19. Home fitness activities increased and the bands soared in popularity. By the end of the year, the company was worth 10 times its original value. It has continued to grow since then.
The one investment decision Sharapova made on Shark Tank proved to be successful.
I guess the answer to the question: Who is Maria Sharapova (Guest Shark Tank Judge – Season 11), is a little clearer now. She is, simply, a retired tennis champion who moved into business.
To fill in the gaps, we need to add that she was the no. 1 woman tennis player in the world, who won various Grand Slam titles. Even before she retired from the court, she began her own company selling candy and sweets.
Since then, she has become a successful businesswoman and savvy investor. That’s who Maria Sharapova is and why she was asked to be a guest on Shark Tank.