Shark Tank is a popular television show where small business owners and entrepreneurs pitching their ideas to successful investors, the Sharks. Sometimes, a company will get an investment from one or two Sharks and end up making millions of dollars. Many of those products are now household names. You may have even purchased a product or two and not realized it was featured on Shark Tank.
However, many of the products don’t receive offers from the Sharks. True, it can be devastating for the business owners, but it’s definitely not the end of the road. In many cases, ideas featured on Shark Tank that didn’t get a deal end up being extremely successful. If a concept is good, a business can get a considerable amount of customers just because of their television exposure. Read on to learn about ideas that failed on Shark Tank but ultimately became successful.
1. All About Shark Tank
Shark Tank premiered on ABC in 2009. Its concept is based on a show called Dragon’s Den that originated in Japan. On the show, a panel of five Sharks, or investors, listen to business presentations made by entrepreneurs in the hopes of getting financial investments in their growing companies.
Sharks featured on the show include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, QVC Maven Lori Greiner, and “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary. It’s reported that less than 20 percent of the deals made on Shark Tank ever come to fruition. Most of the time, deals that disappear are due to buyer’s remorse from the small business owner or that they only made an appearance on the show to get publicity for their business.
As we mentioned before, not all rejected Shark Tank ideas become failures. One success story from Shark Tank is CoatChex. The innovative concept behind CoatChex was developed by entrepreneur Derek Pacque. His business is a ticketless coat check system that makes checking coats and other valuables at events simple and quick.
This idea impressed the Sharks on Shark Tank, and Shark Mark Cuban offered Pacque $200,000 for a 33 percent stake in the company. Pacque turned him down and left the show without a deal. Since being on the show, CoatChex has been used at events like Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and even the Super Bowl.
Founder Chris Ruder pitched his Spikeball idea on Shark Tank in 2015. The product is a two-on-two game similar to volleyball. It’s a way for people to play together outside and on the beach. The compact design of the Spikeball device and its balls make it easy to take places.
Shark Daymond John offered Ruder $500,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company, but the deal never came to fruition. John wanted to license Spikeball to Marvel in order to create Spiderman and other superhero-themed sets. Ruder was vehemently against the idea and declined the offer. Since being on Shark Tank, Spikeball has reached an annual revenue of more than $15 million.
Justin Kittredge made an appearance on Shark Tank to pitch his customized footwear line ISlides. ISlides are slide sandals that can be printed with all kinds of designs and colors. When ISlides were pitched on Shark Tank in 2016, many of the Sharks were impressed with the product.
Shark Robert Herjavec offered Kittredge $500,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. Kittredge believed the deal was too low and countered with the same amount of money for a 5 percent stake. No agreement was reached and Kittredge walked away empty-handed. Since being on Shark Tank, ISlides are sold at Lids and Neiman Marcus, and have more than a dozen partnerships and 50 licenses.
Who doesn’t love cinnamon rolls? Inventors Shannon and Florian Radke pitched their all-natural, vegan, and dairy-free Cinnaholic creations on Shark Tank, hoping to make a deal.
When they appeared on Shark Tank, Shark Robert Herjavec offered the couple $200,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. They agreed and the deal was made. But behind the scenes, the deal fell apart because of creative differences and a lack of a cohesive vision for the company. Since then, Cinnaholic has flourished and their offerings have expanded significantly. They have more than 135 retail locations in development.
Echo Valley Meats is a specialty meats company started by Dave Alwan. Alwan pitched his company on Shark Tank in 2014. While the Sharks enjoyed the taste of his products, none of them were interested in investing in the company.
After his appearance on Shark Tank, Alwan took the advice given to him by the Sharks and used it to boost his business. In the first week after being on the show, Echo Valley Meats sales jumped from $190,000 to $1.4 million. In 2016, Alwan made it back onto the show to pitch his business again and ended up making a deal with Mark Cuban.
Dating these days can be tough, and most people turn to apps to meet new people. Dating app Coffee Meets Bagel was created by a team of sisters named Arum, Dawoon, and Soo Kang. They made it onto Shark Tank in Season 6 and asked for $500,000 in exchange for a 5 percent stake in the company.
In what would become the biggest offer in Shark Tank history, Shark Mark Cuban offered the sisters $30 million to buy the company outright. They didn’t want to give it up entirely, so the deal was rejected. Eventually, Coffee Meets Bagel raised the funding it needed to get off the ground. It’s now worth roughly $82 million and has made over 50 million matches worldwide.
In 2014, inventor Ray Phillips appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his idea for SoapSox. These kid-friendly washcloths were designed to be easy to use for kids as well as get them excited about bath time. Phillips asked for $260,000 for a 10 percent stake in the company.
Shark Daymond John offered Phillips $260,000 for a 33 percent stake. Sharks Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec wanted to team up and buy the whole company for $1 million. Both offers were rejected, but the company is still going strong. SoapBox has collaborated with Disney Baby and is sold worldwide in baby stores, Nordstrom, and on Amazon.
Ben Young and Greg Coleman, the CEO and COO of Sworkit, appeared on Shark Tank to pitch their exercise smartphone app to the Sharks. All of the Sharks were interested in the idea, but Shark Mark Cuban ended up making a deal with Young and Coleman.
Cuban offered them $1.5 million for a 10 percent stake in Sworkit as well as $1.5 million worth of unsold ad space on the app. Due to a difference in vision for the company, the deal between Cuban and Sworkit fell through. Since being on the show, Sworkit has become extremely popular and is one of the top exercise apps. It’s available on both Apple and Android phones.
Nerdwax is an all-natural wax product designed to keep glasses and sunglasses from sliding down the bridge of your nose. Founder Don Hejny and his family appeared on Shark Tank for funding as well as a mentorship. Hejny asked for $80,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. All of the Sharks were interested, but a deal was never made.
In the 72 hours following the airing of Nerdwax’s appearance on Shark Tank, the business made $150,000 in sales. Sales were roughly $136,000 before the show aired and jumped to over $1 million very quickly. Nerdwax can be found on their website and in many other retailers.
Eco Nuts is an all-natural detergent company that was founded by Mona Weiss and Scott Shields. This company appeared on Shark Tank in season 4 and was then on track to sell about $250,000 worth of products. Weiss and Shields asked for $175,000 for a 15 percent stake in their product line.
Shark Robert Herjavec offered the couple $175,000 for a 50 percent stake in Eco Nuts. They were unwilling to part with that much of the business, so they declined the deal. Since being on the show, Eco Nuts has generated more than $1 million in sales thanks to exposure from Shark Tank.
Solemates are small plastic slipcovers that protect high heels from sinking into grass and other soft surfaces. This product was pitched on Shark Tank by founders Becca Brown and Monica Ferguson in 2016. The Sharks were interested, and two of them made offers.
Sharks Daymond John and Robert Herjavec made offers to invest in Solemates, but Brown and Ferguson turned them down. They felt at the time it was the right decision to prepare for their business. Even without help from the Sharks, Solemates has flourished. They partnered with CVS and are now sold in more than 4,000 locations around the world. They are also sold on Amazon.
One of the more notable rejections from Shark Tank is Copa Di Vino. These unique sealed plastic tumblers of wine appealed to the Sharks, but mostly because of the cup design. Founder James Martin was unwilling to sell the patented container without it containing his own wine, so he didn’t accept any deal made by the Sharks.
After appearing on the show, Copa Di Vino went from selling $600,000 worth of wine cups a year to selling $5 million in products. Martin went back onto the show for another pitching session, but the Sharks only wanted to buy the container without the wine. He once again refused the offers, and Copa Di Vino is still selling like crazy. The innovative company has sold more than 40 million cups of wine.
In the second season of Shark Tank, inventor Joseph Moore pitched his idea for First Defense Nasal Screens. These nasal air filters were designed to be worn on the nostrils and had the ability to filter out up to 99 percent of allergens, dust, and pollen to reduce allergy symptoms. Unlike face masks, these nasal screens are nearly invisible.
The Sharks were so impressed that Moore had a contract in hand for eight million units to be shipped overseas. Many of them made offers, with Shark Robert Herjavec offering him $4 million plus 10 percent royalties for the entire business. Moore rejected that deal but ended up partnering with Kevin O’Leary, Mark Cuban, and Daymond John for $750,000 for a 30 percent stake in the company as well as a 15 percent royalty and season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks. Today, First Defense Nasal Screens are sold in more than 50 countries around the world.
You may have seen Kodiak Cakes on the shelf at your local grocery store and not even known it was a Shark Tank product. Founder Joel Clark appeared on Shark Tank in its fifth season to pitch his healthy, whole grain, and protein-rich pancake mix. The Sharks enjoyed the taste of Kodiak Cakes, and many wanted to make a deal.
Clark initially wanted $500,000 for a 10 percent stake in the company. Sharks Kevin O’Leary and Barbara Corcoran teamed up to offer him $500,000 for 50 percent of Kodiak Cakes. Clark declined to offer and left the show without any funding. In the year following the Shark Tank appearance, Kodiak Cakes doubled their sales and are now making more than $50 million each year. It has become the fourth-largest pancake mix producer in the United States.
These handcrafted wood sunglasses are stylish and eco-friendly. Proof Eyewear was founded by brothers Brooks, Tanner, and Taylor. They pitched their company to the Sharks in season four of Shark Tank.
Several of the Sharks were impressed by the pitch, and the brothers were offered a deal of $150,000 for a 25 percent stake in Proof Eyewear. Initially, they only wanted to give up 10 percent of the company, so they countered with an offer of $200,000 for a 20 percent stake. The Sharks didn’t take kindly to that and bowed out. Since being on the show, Proof Eyewear is doing quite well. A flagship store opened in Boise, Idaho, and their glasses are sold in more than 20 countries around the world.
If there was one product we had to guess the Sharks regret rejecting, it’s the Ring Video Doorbell. In season five of Shark Tank, founder Jamie Siminoff pitched his idea for DoorBot. DoorBot was a specialized doorbell with a camera attached that let homeowners see and talk to people at their front door through their smartphone.
Siminoff wanted $700,000 for a 10 percent stake in the company, but the Sharks were not interested. None of them made him an offer, so he walked away empty-handed. Since being on the show, DoorBot was changed to Ring. Ring was bought by Amazon for over $1 billion in 2018 and is now one of the most successful products to be featured on Shark Tank.
Baking is a fun hobby, but it actually requires a lot of precise measuring. Thanks to the Smart Baker, baking has never been easier. Husband and wife duo Daniel and Stephanie Rensing pitched their cookware, cake stands, and aprons on Shark Tank’s third season.
The Sharks were impressed with the Smart Baker’s line of products, and Shark Barbara Corcoran offered the couple $75,000 for a 40 percent stake in the company as well as five percent of royalties. The Rensings accepted the offer, but after the show, they ended up declining. Within a year of being in the show, revenue had climbed to nearly $600,000, and it reached $1 million the following year.
Many runners and running experts say running barefoot is the best thing for your body. In the fourth season of Shark Tank, husband and wife team Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix pitched their idea for running shoes that simulate barefoot running. Some of the Sharks were interested, and Shark Kevin O’Leary made them an offer.
O’Leary offered the couple $400,000 for a 50 percent stake in Xero Shoes. They declined and left the show with no deal. The publicity from being on the show boosted sales, with 2,500 pairs of shoes being sold within the first week of the episode airing. Now, Xero Shoes makes more than $12 million each year.
In the first season of Shark Tank, entrepreneur Jeff Cohen made an appearance on the show to pitch his idea for Voyage Air Guitars. His guitars fold in half to make traveling with the instrument much more manageable. The neck of the guitar folds down for easy packing but doesn’t affect the sound quality of the instrument.
Initially, Cohen asks for $500,000 for a 5 percent stake in Voyage Air Guitars. The Sharks balk at the valuation and levied a counteroffer of $500,000 for a 51 percent stake in the company. Cohen didn’t want to give up that much of his business, so he walked away. Even without funding, Voyage Air Guitar is a success, with more than 200 retail stores around the United States.
Henry’s Humdingers is a gourmet honey company run by young entrepreneur Henry Miller and his family. His flavored honey comes in delicious flavors like pepper & ginger, cayenne & garlic, and chipotle & cinnamon. Miller appeared on the show seeking $150,000 for a 25 percent stake in the company.
The Sharks like Miller and his presentation, but don’t see value in the spicy honey business, so many of them bowed out. Shark Robert Herjavec offered Miller $300,000 for a 75 percent stake in the company, and the deal was accepted. Eventually, he decided to turn down the deal to keep the business in his family’s control. After being on Shark Tank, Henry’s Humdingers business increased 300 percent and ended up being sold on QVC.
For most of us, our pets feel like a member of the family. On your pet’s birthday, wouldn’t you like to bake them a cake? Thanks to Puppy Cake dog-friendly cake mixes, you can bake a special cake just for your pet.
Puppy Cake was pitched on Shark Tank by entrepreneur Kelly Chaney. She was seeking a deal of $50,000 for 25 percent of the business. The Sharks saw the product as more of a novelty than a viable business, so none of them made a deal. Since being on Shark Tank, Chaney has expanded her business and gotten a licensing agreement for her cake mixes.
Buying flowers online can be expensive and loaded with hidden fees. The Bouqs Co. aims to change that. All bouquets sold on The Bouqs Co. website are $44, and that includes shipping and delivery fees.
Founder John Tabis did not make a great impression on Shark Tank, and none of the Sharks offered him a deal. That didn’t phase Tabis. So over the three years following his appearance on Shark Tank, The Bouqs Co. made more than $43 million. Eventually, Shark Robert Herjavec hired Tabis to make the floral arrangements for his wedding to ballroom dancer Kym Johnson and was so impressed that he ended up investing in the company.
The Lip Bar is a line of cocktail-inspired cosmetics created by Melissa Butler and Roscoe Speres. They pitched their business on Shark Tank’s sixth season. Eventually, Butler and Speres wanted to buy a mobile truck and have a traveling version of The Lip Bar.
When they pitched The Lip Bar to the Sharks, the founders wanted $125,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. The Sharks weren’t exactly fans of the crazy lipstick colors and thought the business model wouldn’t go anywhere, so none of them made an offer. After being rejected, Butler approached Target and got her products into their stores. The Lip Bar also sells on Amazon.
MealEnders are appetite suppressant lozenges that are intended to curb appetites and keep people from overeating. The founder, Mark Bernstein, hopes that MealEnders can help people lose weight by eating less. The tablets are slightly sweet and work to trigger the signal to the brain that your stomach is full.
The Sharks sampled the products and didn’t really enjoy the taste. None of them saw the business taking off, and Bernstein left the show without a deal. In the days after the show aired, more than $400,000 worth of Meal Enders sold. You can find this product on the company’s website and Amazon.
Shawn Davis, also known as Chef Big Shake, entered the Shark Tank to pitch his gourmet seafood company during the show’s second season. He created shrimp burgers that were inspired by his pescetarian daughter. His company also sold chicken, fish, and beef burger patties.
Davis asked for $200,000 in exchange for a 25 percent stake in his company. The Sharks all enjoyed the burgers, but none of them wanted to invest in the company and Davis left the show without a deal. He eventually got an investment sum of $500,000 from a company and made it into over 800 stores. Shark Mark Cuban says this is one of the ideas he truly regrets not investing in.
The founder of Hy-Conn LLC, Jeff Stroope, appeared on Shark Tank to pitch his idea for making the job of firefighting much easier. He created hardware for fire hoses that cut the time it takes to connect to a fire hydrant in half. The idea was this could potentially save a lot of lives.
Shark Mark Cuban was impressed with Stroope’s company and was interested in licensing the concept for consumer hoses. Cuban offered Stroope $1.2 million and a three-year employment deal for $300,000 for the whole company. Stroope accepted the agreement but later rejected it so he could keep the company. After appearing on Shark Tank, Hy-Conn LLC is worth roughly $5 million.
In the seventh season of Shark Tank, Alison DeVane pitched Teaspressa, concentrated tea shots that are similar to espresso shots. These were designed to be strong like coffee but appeal to those who don’t drink the highly caffeinated beverage. Tea is hydrating, so you won’t get headaches like you would from drinking coffee.
DeVane entered the Shark Tank and asked for $50,000 for a 10 percent stake in the business. Her presentation was vague, and the Sharks didn’t understand her concept. None of them offered her a deal and she walked away in tears. After being on the show, Teaspressa’s sales increased by 20 times over and DeVane was able to open her own storefront in Arizona.
Victory Coffees is a coffee subscription service that appeared on Shark Tank during its eighth season. The business was started by former Navy Seal sniper Cade Courtley who found comfort in a cup of coffee during his deployments. The brand has a 1940s theme and a vintage logo.
Courtley asked for $250,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. The Sharks were unsure of investing in a coffee company since the market was so competitive. They also believed he was too ambitious with how much he was trying to do with the subscription service. None of the Sharks offered him a deal. In the end, Victory Coffees is thriving, with excellent reviews and sales thanks to a publicity boost from Shark Tank.
Gotta Have S’more was presented on Shark Tank by founder Carmen Lidner in 2016. She created a mini muffin with a graham cracker crumb base and a roasted marshmallow on the top. Lidner asked the Sharks for $75,000 for a 25 percent stake in the business.
The Sharks were impressed by the taste of the muffins, but after learning they were shipped frozen and cost $54 to ship, they all bowed out. After being on Shark Tank, the Gotta Have S’ more creations have had a steady success, and shipping costs have reduced to just $20. Lidner sold the business in 2014 but the concept is the same. The tasty treats are available for shipping around the country.
In the fifth season of Shark Tank, Julie Busha appeared to pitch her unique condiment Slawsa. This creation is a combination of salsa, coleslaw, and mustard that’s great on hot dogs, hamburgers, and more. At the time she made it to the Shark Tank, Busha had Slawsa in more than 3,000 supermarkets.
The Sharks were impressed with Busha’s presentation, but she ended up with no deal. Slawsa was already thriving, so they felt she didn’t need any help. Now this tasty condiment is in more than 5,000 stores, so Slawsa is proof that you don’t need to get a deal to find success after Shark Tank.
Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles were pitched on Shark Tank in its fifth season premiere. Young entrepreneurs Lynnae Schneller and Aly Cullinane were attempting to sell their great grandmother’s gourmet pickle recipe. They asked the Sharks for a $125,000 investment for 25 percent of their company.
The Sharks liked the pickles but weren’t interested in investing, believing that the pair didn’t need a partner. Since being on the show, the company has seen an increase in sales. They changed their name to Mrs. Pickles in 2015 and are now found in more than 100 stores in the United States and online.
In the fourth season of Shark Tank, tech entrepreneur Henry Penix pitched his product Zomm to the Sharks. It’s essentially a leash for your cell phone. The device is a key fob that connects to your phone via Bluetooth and will sound an alarm when you get more than 20 feet away from your phone. It can also work in reverse to help you find your keys.
Penix asked the Sharks for $2 million for a 10 percent stake in the business. Once the Sharks found out the company is $10 million in debt, they all bowed out and no deal was made. After being on the show, Zomm received more than 250,000 visitors to their website in the week following the episode’s airing. They are now thriving and promoting a personal concierge service to help people dial 911 in an emergency.
Being comfortable when you’re trying to sleep is essential. The creator of BedJet Mark Amramli has made it his mission to make mattresses more comfortable for everyone. BedJet is a device that heats or cools a mattress depending on the ideal temperature of the bed’s occupants.
Unfortunately, the Sharks were not impressed with Aramli’s pitch and none of them gave him the $250,000 in the capital he was looking for. Aramli had to use up all of his savings and take out a second mortgage on his house to get the business up and running. That paid off though, because BedJet made more than $1 million in its first year.
To make a splash for their Shark Tank pitch, founders of Rocketbook Jake Epstein and Joe Lemay came to the Sharks wearing spacesuits. They intended to promote their out-of-this-world idea for a reusable notebook. The Rocketbook is a smart notebook that uploads everything written in it to a cloud and a smartphone app. The pages of the Rocketbook can then be erased by being heated in the microwave.
None of the Sharks were interested in the Rocketbook. They thought it was not a worthy investment because it’s reusable so they wouldn’t get many repeat customers. The Sharks also thought the process of microwaving the notebook was odd. Despite not getting a deal on Shark Tank, the Rocketbook founders are doing well and have sold more than $10 million worth of the product.
These days, smartphones are a significant part of our everyday lives. These expensive little gadgets can take a beating though. That’s where Cell Helmet comes in. Cell Helmet sells protective phone cases, screen protectors, power banks, and charging products.
Cell Helmet also guarantees that if your phone breaks while it’s inside a Cell Helmet case, they’ll fix it for a $50 fee and return it to you in less than 72 hours. Unfortunately for the Cell Helmet team, none of the Sharks offered them a deal. But that’s okay. They signed a distribution deal with 20 local Verizon stores and sold over 1400 products the night the show aired.
Hammer & Nails was pitched to the Sharks in the show’s sixth season. Screenwriter Michael Eliot started Hammer & Nails with a vision of creating nail salons for men. He believes that men want to get their nails done, but don’t want to go to a traditional nail salon as they view them as being for women. The design of Hammer & Nails is styled like a man cave with leather seating, big-screen TVs, and plenty of beer and scotch.
While the idea appealed to some of the Sharks, none of them wanted to invest in the concept. Despite that, Eliot was about to raise the $200,000 he was looking for and ended up selling 183 franchise licenses for Hammer & Nails. Currently, there are 17 active locations in the United States.
Founders Matt Canepa and Pat Pezet presented their product Grinds on Shark Tank and were looking for $75,000 for a 15 percent stake in the company. Grinds are small pouches of chewable coffee that are meant to be an alternative to chewing tobacco and give the consumer a boost of energy.
The Sharks were somewhat interested in the product, except for Barbara, who was out immediately. In the end, Sharks Robert Herjavec and Daymond John offered Canepa and Pezet a deal. After the show, the deal fell through after negotiations went south. Luckily, Grinds kept on moving and is making close to $4 million per year.
Beard King is a grooming accessories company started by husband and wife team Nicholas and Alessia Galekovic. They appeared on Shark Tank in its seventh season. Their main product is a bib that suctions to a mirror to catch beard trimmings.
The Galekovics originally asked for $100,000 for a 20 percent stake in the company. After some negotiating, they agreed on a deal with Shark Lori Greiner for $100,000 for a 45 percent piece of the business. After the show, the deal fell through as it didn’t suit the needs of Beard King. The company is still going strong, though.
In Shark Tank’s third season, entrepreneur Eric Corti showcased his Wine Balloon invention to the Sharks. The Wine Balloon is designed to eliminate air space in a bottle of wine and prevent oxidation. It makes leftover wine taste great and keeps it fresher longer.
The Sharks were intrigued by the Wine Balloon and several made offers. Corti ended up partnering with Shark Mark Cuban for $400,000 for 100 percent of the business. After the show, Corti ended up getting cold feet and canceling the deal. He eventually changed the name from the Wine Balloon to the Air Cork and is now selling plenty of products.