10 Successful Companies That Were Rejected in Shark Tank
Business is not an exact science. Sometimes, even those who are considered experts can miss the mark when it comes to what will work and what won’t. The same is true of ABC’s Shark Tank panel of seasoned entrepreneurs.
Show Sharks have an impressive business track record on and off the show. But, there have been many times when sharks let a million-dollar deal (and a billion-dollar idea) walk out the door.
Let’s look at 10 different businesses that pitched to Shark Tank, went home without a deal, but still found ways to turn their businesses into successful companies.
Jamie Siminoff dreamed big for his invention and hoped sharks would share his vision. When his company appeared on Shark Tank in 2013, it was pitched as “Doorbot.” The concept of the world’s first WiFi video doorbell certainly intrigued the sharks. However, it’s not enough for any of them to go ahead and make a deal.
Although a deal wasn’t technically made on the show, the episode caught the eye of another investor, Richard Branson. He contacted the owner and the ring brand was created through some rebranding and other updates to the strategy. Not only did Malik return to the show as a guest shark, but he also sold the company to Amazon in 2018 for an estimated $1 billion. The acquisition of Ring is Amazon’s second largest acquisition.
This Shark Tank miss opportunity is known as the biggest in the show’s history. But, there were no hard feelings. Jamie Siminoff would later return to the show as a guest shark.
Sometimes it’s the wild ideas that get investors excited. And sometimes they may feel like they’re “too out there” and want to play it safe. As for the lip bar, it was next. But this did not prove to be a wise decision.
Melissa Butler brings her vegan lipstick to the sharks with show-stopping bright colors. Not only did all the sharks shun his brand, but some even went so far as to turn it into a joke. Apparently, he left without making a deal.
Melissa’s persistence has paid off and she will have the last laugh. With a cold-pitch email through LinkedIn, he was able to reach a buyer at Target. Now, his products are sold in over 100 different Target stores. He even had his products used by celebrities. In 2022, the company had an estimated net worth of $7 million.
Co-founders Joel Clark and Cameron entered Shark Tank seeking $500,000 for 10% of their company called Kodiak Cakes. Kodiak Cake is a natural food brand that makes whole grain, protein-rich breakfast options. The idea behind the product was to give pancakes great taste but made with better ingredients to provide nutritional benefits. The sharks all loved the taste and nutritional benefits of this pancake mix. But none of them agreed with the company’s valuation.
The founders managed to get two offers. Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran offered $500,000 for 50% equity, while Herjavec only wanted 30% equity. The founders of Kodiak Cake turned down the offers. However, they received some validation when Mark Cuban said “you guys are smart” and Laurie echoed the thought with “me too”.
At the time of the deal, O’Leary asserted that he believed the business was only going to be worth $2 million. However, the company now boasts annual sales of $160 million. They have expanded their product lineup and now offer microwavable flapjack cups, graham crackers, oats and granola bars.
Cup of wine
Not only did James Martin appear on Sharktank once, but he returned for a second appearance. Many sharks liked his business for the first time. But, the discussion is stopped by his ego and personality. This is a good example that you can have a great business or product, but you also need to know how to pitch to investors to make a deal.
James would go to market and successfully brand his 7 different, patented, single serve wines with reusable lids. He would eventually sell the company to Splash Beverage Group in December 2020 for approximately $5.98 million.
Husband and wife duo Steve Sashen and Lena Phoenix may not have gotten a deal on the show for their minimalist shoes, but they certainly got the exposure they needed to grow their brand.
In the 7 days after their episode aired, they ordered 20% of the previous year’s volume! As various investors approached them, they ended up partnering with TZP Group, a private equity firm, and continued to grow their business. Their company had annual sales of more than $23 million at the latest count.
The Bouqs Co
One of the more interesting success stories is The Bouqs Co. Owner John Tabis wanted to find a way to deliver high-quality and sustainably grown flowers to people’s doorsteps. The main thing the sharks were hanging on to is that flowers can take 5-6 days to be delivered after ordering because most men don’t remember special occasions ahead of time!
She may not have received an official contract from the show, but received plenty of publicity, including a shark approaching her for her wedding flowers a few years after her episode aired. Robert Herjavec ended up investing in the company at that time and they are now becoming a successful global brand.
The company now generates more than $27 million in annual revenue. The agreement is considered as one The most successful shark tank deals The actual deal never happened on the show though.
CEO Mark Bernstein came to the sharks with a product designed to help curb your cravings and prevent you from constantly overeating with a simple lozenge/tablet. The Sharks were interested in the product but just didn’t think there was enough information to offer a deal.
That didn’t seem to stop Bernstein as he sold over $400,000 in merchandise within days of the show airing. The company has generated over $1,000,000 in annual sales.
Hammer and nails
A unique, but necessary idea came from Michael Elliott when he brought an idea for a men’s nail salon to the Sharks. She felt that many people wanted to get these simple services done but didn’t want to go to an extra girl salon to do it. Although the Sharks liked the idea, they felt there was already a market and decided not to offer a contract.
Michael continued to push his idea and now has over 41 franchises in 9 different states and was able to be approached by some investors after appearing on the show. With various branches, the company’s annual revenue exceeds $25 million.
Entrepreneur Mark Aramli appeared on Shark Tank in 2015 to pitch his mattress accessory product called Bedjet. Bedjet is a fast cooling fan system for under bed sheets. At first, it seemed that the sharks liked the idea of the product. However, the pitch goes downhill when they start asking about the economy. Aramli revealed that the product has yet to sell much as it was mostly in the prototype stage. The situation worsened when Aramli lost Greiner’s interest when it appeared that he was ignoring her questions.
Ultimately, Shark announced that the product would fail. However, Aramli will use her life savings, credit cards and a mortgaged house to pursue her dream. Within 2 years, Budget had an estimated company value of $9 million with the company now seeing annual sales of approximately $5 million.
Jake Epstein and Joe Lemay appeared on Shark Tank at the very end of Season 8 seeking $400,000 for 10% equity. They describe their product as “the notebook of the future”. RocketBook is an erasable and reusable notebook. The notebook can be reused up to five times. Above all, users can send notes to other people over the Internet and use it in cloud storage.
By the time they appeared on the show, the two entrepreneurs were able to generate $2 million in sales. Some sharks were impressed by The Notebook though, and Joe left the show with no investment.
The Sharks missed a great opportunity. In 2020 BIC acquired 100% of RocketBook for $40 million.
The moral of these stories is that you can’t take a rejection as a final answer. You know your company better than anyone. If you believe in your vision, make the right decisions and keep improving it, who knows what could happen?
One last step! Check your email to confirm your subscription and get your free ebook! Thank you!
Business Opportunities · Entrepreneurial Lifestyle · Featured · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Success · Your Mindset
Entrepreneurial Lifestyle · Find Your Way · Grow Your Business · Marketing · Sales · Technology · Your Mindset
Leave a Reply