Premiering in 2009, ABC's entrepreneur pitch show "Shark Tank" has seen it all. The premise of the show, now in its 12th season, 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 (beer, pot roast, and barbecue), throughout the more than 200 episodes that have aired, the show has exposed its audience to some of the most unique inventions ever conceived. However, over the years, the sharks have also seen some great ideas that just needed an investor (with deep pockets) to take off. Here is a countdown of the top eight most successful products that got their start in "Shark Tank".
- The money sharks invest is all theirs and is not provided by the show.
- The sharks on "Shark Tank" typically require a stake in the business.
- The top eight most successful products that got their start in the Shark Tank have generated a minimum of $100 million in sales each.
- Shark Lori Greiner has a stake in half of the listed successful Shark Tank ventures.
- Some Shark Tank victors, like Bombas, have embarked on social missions, giving back to underserved and impoverished communities.
- The product: heat-free hair rollers created from memory foam, to use while sleeping
- Shark that bit: inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner ($75,000 for a 25% stake in the company)
- Sales: more than $100 million
- The product: an online seller of flowers that partners with eco-friendly farms
- Shark that bit: none when the founders pitched the product on the show in 2014, but Canadian entrepreneur Robert Herjavec invested three years later after purchasing flowers from the Bouqs for his wedding
- Sales: $100 million
- The product: holiday-themed apparel in the form of ugly Christmas sweaters
- Shark that bit: Robert Herjavec ($100,000 for a 10% stake)
- Sales: Tipsy Elves raked in $900,000 a year in sales before appearing on "Shark Tank" and has generated $125 million in sales
The premise of Shark Tank was inspired by Japan's Tigers of Money.
- The product: wearable blankets with hoods
- Shark that bit: real estate entrepreneur and investor Barbara Corcoran ($50,000 for a 30% stake)
- Sales: $250 million
4. Simply Fit Board
- The product: an exercise board—you stand on it and twist
- Shark that bit: Lori Greiner ($125,000 for a 20% stake)
- Sales: more than $160 million (just 24 hours after the episode aired in 2015, the company raked in $1.25 million in sales)
- The product: a personal care company best known for its toilet stool, which is designed to promote easier bowel movements
- Shark that bit: Lori Greiner ($350,000 for a 10% stake)
- Sales: The company created a viral video in 2015 and generated $20 million that year in sales—later garnering the attention of Dr. Oz, Howard Stern, and other celebrities with overall lifetime sales of $175 million
- The product: a reusable super sponge in the shape of a smiley face that gets firm in cold water and soft in warm water and 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
- Shark that bit: Lori Greiner ($200,000 for a 20% stake)
- Sales: $209 million—before "Shark Tank", the company had $100,000 in sales— but before appearing on the show, founder Aaron Krause was ready, as he is quoted saying, “What I learned is if you’re unprepared, you’re the bait.”
- The product: comfort socks and more recently T-shirts too—for every item purchased, the company donates an item to organizations that help homeless people—it has donated more than 50 million items to more than 3,500 community organizations to date
- Shark that bit: Daymond John, founder of global hip-hop fashion brand FUBU ($200,000 for a 17.5% stake)
- Sales: Co-founders David Heath and Randy Goldberg were inspired to create Bombas after discovering that socks were the most needed items at homeless shelters, since then lifetime sales have reached over $225 million
What Is the Most Successful Product on "Shark Tank"?
With more than $225 million in lifetime sales, Bombas has generated the highest sales on "Shark Tank". The company, which sells comfort socks and T-shirts, donates one item per item sold to help the homeless. With $200,000 in funding for a 17.5% stake, Daymond John, founder of apparel company FUBU, invested in the company. Bombas has since donated over 50 million items to community organizations.
Following Bombas is Scrub Daddy, which has brought in sales of $209 million and Squatty Potty, which has generated $175 million in sales.
What Shark Tank Products Have Failed But Made Millions?
Ring, which is a doorbell that integrates with a smartphone and camera, allows you to see who is at your door when they arrive. The company was rejected on "Shark Tank", but has since become a billion dollar company thanks to an acquisition by Amazon.
Coffee Meets Bagel was pitched to the sharks in 2015. The dating app, which matches users based on Facebook connections includes a discount for a coffee or bagel on the date. Mark Cuban offered $30 million for the company, but the three founders walked away from the deal. After appearing on the show, the company raised $23.2 million, and has over 21 million users on its app.
Seafood burger company, Chef Big Shake, was also unsuccessful on the show after asking for $200,000 and a 25% stake in the company. Since appearing in 2011, the company’s sales jumped from $30,000 to an estimated $5 million.
How Much Has Lori Greiner Invested in Shark Tank?
Known as the “warm-blooded shark” Lori Greiner has invested over $9.5 million on the show. Greinier is worth an estimated $150 million, and began making millions in the 1990s with products that organize jewelry. Of the 20 most successful pitches on Shark Tank, 10 were backed by Greiner.
The most successful venture backed by Greiner is Scrub Daddy, which has brought in over $200 million in sales.
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 eight most successful products demonstrates there is still room for new ideas. No doubt, by offering exposure to millions of viewers and funding from shark investors, "Shark Tank" will continue to launch successful entrepreneurs and products.