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, apparently), throughout the more than 200 episodes that have aired, the show has exposed its audience to some of the silliest 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 the 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.
- The product: heat-free hair rollers
- Shark that bit: inventor and entrepreneur Lori Greiner ($75,000 for a 25% stake in the company)
- Sales: $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 $600,000 a year in sales before appearing on Shark Tank and has generated $125 million in sales
- The product: wearable blankets with hoods
- Shark that bit: real estate entrepreneur and investor Barbara Corcoran ($50,000 for a 30% stake)
- Sales: $150 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: $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: $164 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 25% stake)
- Sales: $209 million—before Shark Tank, the company had $100,000 in sales
- 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 40 million items to more than 2,500 community organizations to date
- Shark that bit: Daymond John, founder of global hip-hop fashion brand FUBU ($200,000 for a 17% stake)
- Sales: $225 million
The premise of Shark Tank was inspired by Japan's Tigers of Money.
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, the Shark Tank will continue to launch successful entrepreneurs and products.