‘Shark Tank’: Why the Sharks Don’t Get Any Profits on This Unique Deal
Fans of Shark Tank are counting down the days until the season 12 premiere on October 16. Panelists Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary have been making the dreams of aspiring entrepreneurs come true since the reality show launched in 2009.
One product pitched in season 10 attracted all the Sharks to dive into an investment with a rare structure to the deal.
Minimal editing in the Tank
Executive producers Clay Newbill and Yun Lingner admit that getting a shot on the infamous Shark Tank carpet means beating out stiff competition.
“It’s a long and grueling casting process,” Linger told Vulture in 2018. “There’s about 30,000 people who apply every year. But as far as what the actual pitch is when they come in, it’s important for us that it’s authentically happening.”
If a contestant botches their pitch, it doesn’t get edited out of the episode. Linger wants viewers to see what it’s truly like in the Tank as it’s happening.
“It’s a really nerve-racking experience,” the Shark Tank executive producer said. “I’m actually more surprised that more people don’t bomb. … When they do flub up, we tend to air them because we want it to be real. It’s not this super-polished, perfect thing.”
Some ‘Shark Tank’ highs and lows
Over the years, the Sharks have seen their share of genius as well as flat-out crazy. Corcoran recalled one product in 2009 that would fall under the latter category.
“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,” the real estate icon told USA Today in 2019 of the Ionic Ear. “When it ran out of battery (life), you have another surgeon take it out of your ear and recharge it. Nutso!”
Cuban named a high point in season 4, when a teenager pitched an all-natural skin care line.
“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. 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. It was just incredibly impressive.”
An emotional pitch on ‘Shark Tank’
Kaley, Christian, and Kiera Young appeared on Shark Tank in season 10 to pitch their late father’s invention, the Cup Board Pro. Sharing that they had lost their mother to breast cancer and their father, a former New York firefighter, to 9/11-related cancer, the three siblings were there to take their dad’s unique cutting board with a side attachment to the next level in his honor.
Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, and guest Shark Matt Higgins were the Sharks in the Tank for that episode. Extremely moved by the Young’s story, the entire panel went in on the deal offering $100,000 for 20 percent of the business. Yet that slice of equity was not for the wealthy investors.
“This family, these kids, both their parents died, and their dad was a fireman and died from 9/11 (illness),” Cuban explained, according to ABC7. “We decided to all go in together and donate the profits to the memorial for their parents and for the fire station.”
In a Shark Tank update on the product, viewers learned that the Youngs made a licensing agreement with Williams Sonoma. The kitchenware and home furnishing company now distributes the Cup Board Pro through its stores and website. O’Leary – aka Mr. Wonderful – commented on the inspiration the Young siblings brought through their story.
“We’ve never had a deal like this on Shark Tank before,” O’Leary said, as reported by Inc. “The power behind this is the fact that everybody wants to give back.”