With seven seasons and 142 episodes under its belt, ABC’s entrepreneur pitch show, Shark Tank, has seen it all. The premise of the show is simple: inventors and entrepreneurs pitch their products to real-life investors (called sharks). The sharks evaluate the products and decide whether to back the fledgling companies with their own money. From alarm clocks that wake you up with the smell of bacon, to a scented candle that simulates the most alluring scents to attract a man (apparently this is beer, pot roast and barbecue), the show has exposed its audience of 7.5 million viewers to some of the silliest inventions ever conceived. Some products have even made the sharks blush. However, over the years, the sharks have also seen some great ideas that just needed an investor (with deep pockets) to take off. Here are the top 11 most successful products that got their start in the Shark Tank (sales figures from the Financial Post).
11. Ten Thirty One Productions
- The Product: Live-action horror entertainment company (think haunted house hay rides on steroids).
- Sharks that bit: Mark Cuban ($2 million for a 20% stake).
- Sales: The company has counted more than 400,000 customers since launch in 2009, $3 million in revenue in FY 2014 and aimed for $5 million in revenue in 2015.
10. Simple Sugars
- The Product: All-natural skin care products made from non-genetically modified pure cane sugar and a custom blend of all-natural oils. This skincare line has been praised by women of all ages after they have seen a significant change in their appearance.
- Sharks that bit: Entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban ($100,000 for 33% in equity).
- Sales: 18-year-old founder Lani Lazzaro saw sales of her product jump to $220,000 from $50,000 within a day of her episode’s premier. Sales hit the $1 million mark just six weeks later. In fiscal year 2014 (the most recent figures available) Simple Sugars brought in $3 million in revenue.
- The Product: A magnetic eyewear holder that allows users to fasten their glasses somewhere on their body.
- Sharks that bit: Inventor and investor Lori Greiner, known as the warm-blooded shark and the Queen of QVC ($150,000 for 65% of the company).
- Sales: More than $8 million total sales since the Shark Tank pitch.
- The Product: A BPA and phthalate-free children’s drinking cup featuring a flexible straw that allows toddlers to drink easily and effectively.
- Sharks that bit: Mark Cuban and Croatia-born, Canadian entrepreneur Robert Herjavec ($100,000 for 40% equity in the company).
- Sales: More than $1 million in sales since the Shark Tank pitch.
7. Wicked Good Cupcakes
- The Product: Gourmet cupcakes in a jar shipped nationwide.
- Shark that bit: Canadian investor and financial pundit Kevin O’Leary, known as the tough shark ($75,000 for royalties and $1 per cupcake sold until he broke even, then $.50 per cupcake thereafter).
- Sales: Have grown to $4.8 million annually.
- The Product: A device that attaches to a guitar’s neck, allowing beginners to learn guitar chords without overly stressing their fingers. Users claim it makes learning easier and faster.
- Sharks that bit: Robert Herjavec ($175,000 for a 20% stake).
- Sales: Herjavec secured country singer John Rich of Big and Rich as a spokesperson. ChordBuddy expected sales of $2 million in FY 2014 (the most recent figures available), up from $150,000 prior to the Shark Tank appearance.
- The Product: All-natural male enhancement made from ginger medically proven to help with sexual arousal and maca which is proven by a study to be able to improve sexual desire . Users claim the trick is to take 1 hour before physical activity and that it can be a “miracle” cure in a bottle.
- Sharks that bit: Entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban ($700,000 for 40% in equity).
- Sales: Sales hit the $3 million mark six weeks after being launched. Making it the fastest turn around in Shark Tank history. In fiscal year 2015 the most Testo Fuel brought in $5 million in revenue.
- The Product: A portable breathalyzer that plugs directly into the headphone jack of most smartphones. Most users are young adults who use this as a party trick.
- Sharks that bit: All five sharks bit. They are Mark Cuban, Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Lori Greiner and FUBU clothing company CEO and founder Daymond John ($650,000 for a 30% stake).
- Sales: The Breathometer saw $10 million in sales in FY 2014 and expected to hit $20 million in FY 2015.
3. Buggy Beds
- The Product: An early detection and prevention system for bed bugs. Users claim it completely gets rid of bedbugs without having to get an exterminator.
- Sharks that bit: All five sharks bit. They are Kevin O’Leary, Robert Herjavec, Mark Cuban, Daymond John and real estate entrepreneur and investor Barbara Corcoran ($250,000 for 25%).
- Sales: International growth across 23 countries with sales of more than $1.2 million after the Shark Tank pitch.
- The Product: A subscription-based service that allows customers to receive a bound book of high-resolution photos taken from their smartphones.
- Sharks that bit: Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary ($150,000 in exchange for 80% licensing profits).
- Sales: A gain of 50,000 subscribers shortly after the pitch. Acquired by Shutterfly Inc. (SFLY) in 2014 for $14.5 million.
1. Scrub Daddy
- The Product: A reusable super sponge in the shape of a smiling face that gets firm in cold water and soft in warm water. Scrub Daddy has also been lab tested to rinse clear of debris and resist odors for up to two months. The ergonomic shape is designed to clean both sides of kitchen utensils at once.
- Sharks that bit: Lori Greiner ($200,000 for 20% equity).
- Sales: Scrub Daddy has moved 10 million units for total sales of more than $50 million since the pitch. Before Shark Tank, the company had $100,000 in sales.
Honorable Mention: Copa Di Vino
- The Product: A portfolio of seven different wines in a recycled glass-like container (patented) with a resealable, pull-off lid.
- Sharks that bit: None. Despite two appearances on the show, a deal could not be reached with the sharks.
- Sales: Copa Di Vina had sales of $500,000 before the pitch and $25 million after the pitch.
The Bottom Line
Over the years, the Shark Tank stage has seen many great ideas and also a lot of duds. The countdown of its 11 greatest products demonstrate there is still room for new ideas. No doubt, by offering exposure to millions of viewers and funding from shark investors, the Shark Tank will continue to launch successful entrepreneurs and products. Which shark tank product have you tried?