‘Shark Tank:’ The Sharks Reveal the Best and Worst Pitches, and The One They Wished They Hadn’t Said ‘I’m Out’
ABC’s hit reality show Shark Tank is now in its 11th season and is showing no signs of slowing down. Hearing countless pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs over the years has given the six main millionaire (and billionaire) investors a birds-eye view into the next big business.
Recently, five of the sharks – Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary reflected on which pitches really hit the mark, which ones truly missed, and one where they regret uttering the words “I’m out.”
Knocked it out of the park
There have been a host of success stories stemming from Shark Tank, including blockbuster products like Scrub Daddy, Bombas socks, and Tipsy Elves Christmas sweaters. O’Leary, who frequently goes by the moniker ‘Mr. Wonderful,’ said his top pick for pitches came from Season 5.
“The one that was really remarkable was the pitch for Plated, which I bought into and we sold to Albertsons (supermarkets),” O’Leary said, according to USA Today. “They were great operators, great entrepreneurs, had a great idea at the right time. They started with nothing and they walked away with $300 million.”
Cuban saw major talent in a young entrepreneur who was barely out of high school. “Lani Lazzari’s Simple Sugars, which was a (body) scrub. She was 19 years old (when) she came on, she was poised, she knew her business cold,” the NBA team owner said of the Season 4 pitch. “It was like she had been in business for 25 years and she just happened to walk in to pitch us. She had it all together and It was just incredibly impressive.”
Some entrepreneurs get cold feet, flub their intro, or just have a bad idea. Corcoran recalled one of the latter that actually required surgery to use. “The worst pitch is probably the crazy engineer who had a Bluetooth device that would only work if you surgically put it in your ear,” she said of the product from Season 1. “When it ran out of battery (life), you have another surgeon take it out of your ear and recharge it. Nutso!”
John remembered a Season 3 entrepreneur trying to get an investment for his machine converting salt water to electricity and gold. “The guy wanted to build some kind of system in the ocean that twirled around sand and created gold,” he said. “And I went home and I put a bunch of sand in a blender. I thought I was going to get a pinky ring or something. Nothing ever happened.”
Should’ve made an offer
No shark will probably ever forget passing on a partnership with Jamie Siminoff, founder of the now billion-dollar company Ring. The product, a doorbell with a camera that sent video to users’ smartphones, was appealing to each of the investors on the panel, but Siminoff seemed a little too early with his idea. “We were at the point where we had sales, we had a good product, but we had such a complex business,” Siminoff said, according to Inc. “We couldn’t show how we were going to get to the next step. We were at that awkward adolescent phase.”
Despite missing out on the deal, the sharks were thrilled for the inventor’s success. “I think the surprise we all had was … Jamie (Siminoff) from Ring, (who) sold his company (to Amazon) for $1.2 billion, I believe,” John remembered. “Even though he didn’t get an investment (from) us, we’re extremely happy that it happened for him.”
Siminoff was the first entrepreneur to be offered a seat on the panel as a guest shark in Season 10. “How fun it was,” he said of the experience. “I thought it would a great, satisfying goal to meet these people and try to give back, but I really enjoyed my day being there… All the Sharks are beyond nice, super welcoming and thoughtful… Going from one side to the other is surreal.”
Watch ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday nights!