The Biggest “Shark Tank” Success Stories

There’s no denying that even a mere appearance on Shark Tank is good for business. The show has reached an average of four to nine million viewers an episode throughout all nine seasons. While businesses plan to pitch the five investors, they don’t always have to strike a deal to win big.

These businesses are some of the most successful in Shark Tank history — Mark Cuban and his crew have helped transform daily operations and expand the founders’ visions to create multi-million streams of revenue.

Strangely enough, the business with the most riches was a Shark Tank failure.

Tipsy Elves

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

In recent years, ugly Christmas sweaters have boomed in popularity – from frat parties to office Holiday get-togethers. It’s no wonder that the company Tipsy Elves, who sell outlandish ugly Christmas sweaters, was already making $900,000 in annual revenue before they appeared on Season 4 of Shark Tank. Since then, they’ve become Robert Herjavec’s most lucrative Shark Tank investment.

Herjavec offered Tipsy Elves $100,000 in exchange for 10% equity and helped transform the company into a year-round apparel company. Today, the company sells kooky apparel for a range of holidays and events including star-spangled suits and brightly patterned gold clothes. They’re on track to make $12.8 million in revenue in 2018.

Up next: a household pest inspired a hugely successful business.

Buggy Beds

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Amidst soaring rent prices, New Yorkers face a fear greater than being priced out of their already up-and-coming neighborhood. They face the constant, terrifying reality of a bed bug infestation. Those suckers are so resilient that they’ll follow you to your new neighborhood after you’ve been inevitably priced out. They’ve shut down entire businesses for a week – a huge issue in the city that never sleeps. For this reason, the investors on Shark Tank made a wise bid on Buggy Beds.

All five sharks decided to go in on a $250,000 investment in Buggy Beds. The company produces an effective bedbug detection system along with protective covers for mattresses, suitcases, and cribs. Apparently, bed bugs aren’t just a problem for New Yorkers because the company expanded to make their products available in over 20 countries. They pulled in an estimated $1.2 million in sales in 2016.

Bombas

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Socks don’t seem like a big business, but everyone wears them. Apparently, there’s a litany of annoying problems with regular socks (have you ever noticed them slipping off your feet? What about those uncomfortable seams?). Bombas managed to solve these issues by crafting their socks from extra-long staple cotton to make them breathable and cushioned. Forget about blisters. They’re also a company with a cause: for every pair of socks purchased, a pair is donated to a homeless shelter or community organization.

Since their appearance on Shark Tank, Bombas has had undeniable success. The company pulled in $50 million in revenue in 2017 and has donated more than a million pairs of socks to people in need.

The next company has really ‘cleaned up’ since its Shark Tank appearance.

Scrub Daddy

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Sponges are serious business. They’re often one of the most bacteria-laden items in a kitchen, which is why Scrub Daddy has found major success with their hygienic, durable sponges. Scrub Daddy appeared on Season 4 of Shark Tank, where CEO and founder Aaron Krause made a deal with Lori Greiner. She gave him $200,000 in exchange for 20% equity.

At the time of the episode, Scrub Daddy was struggling to reach $100,000 worth of sales in 18 months. With Greiner on board, the company managed to expand their offerings beyond their signature smiley face-shaped sponges and place their products in major retailers like Bed, Bath & Beyond. They’ve since brought in a total of $75 million in revenue.

GrooveBook

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

In an era where most people are iPhone photographers, GrooveBook profits have soared. The photo-printing app allows users to create personalized photobooks featuring up to 100 photos. Users opt-in to a monthly subscription service where they’ll get one photo book a month. Their Instagram becomes a real, tangible thing they can look at for years to come (long after the service goes the way of MySpace).

At the time of their Shark Tank episode, GrooveBook had acquired over 18,000 subscribers. Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary decided to invest $150,000 for 80% licensing rights. Post-Shark Tank, they managed to grow their user base to 500,000 paid subscribers before they were purchased by Shutterstock for $14.5 million.

Squatty Potty

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

You’ve seen the adverts filled with unicorns and rainbows. Squatty Potty’s sense of humor is notorious, but did you realize they’re actually a Shark Tank product? The purveyors of comfortable bowel movements struck a deal with Lori Greiner in 2012 for their bathroom-friendly footsteps and were an instant success. She offered them $350,000 for 10% equity.

Squatty Potty was an instantly lucrative investment for Greiner. In the 24 hours after their Season 6 debut, the company sold $1 million of product. In 2016, they brought in a reported $30 million in revenue and expanded their line to include air fresheners and t-shirts.

Bubba-Q’s Boneless Ribs

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Bubba’s Boneless Ribs is one of the more unique Shark Tank companies because the company’s founder was already widely known by the public. Al “Bubba” Baker was a defensive lineman for the Detroit Lions in the late ’70s and ’80s and was 1978’s NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. Though being a pro player is nothing to scoff at, Baker might have actually found more success with his BBQ ribs.

In Season 5 of Shark Tank, Baker landed a deal with Daymond John for $300,000 in exchange for 30% equity. With John at the helm, Baker was able to land a multimillion-dollar deal with CKE Restaurants (the company behind Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s). They’ve since become John’s most profitable investment, and he believes they’ll soon achieve $200 million in lifetime lines.

Breathometer

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Breathometer made its Shark Tank debut in Season 5 with a portable Breathalyzer that works with a smartphone. It was one of those rare episodes where all five sharks decided to go in on a $650,000 deal for 30% of the company. For a minute in 2017, it looked like Breathometer would fail despite receiving over $20 million in sales two years prior. The company was forced to give refunds after the Federal Trade Commission found accuracy problems with its product (it was touted as a law enforcement-grade device, which made the foul even more serious).

Since then,Breathometer landed $6.5 million more dollars in funding and partnered with the Cleveland Clinic to create a more accurate portable Breathalyzer. They also launched a new device that helps track hydration and oral health.

Ten Thirty One Productions

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Who doesn’t love Halloween? The weather, the costumes, the candy corn (okay, candy corn actually is pretty gross). Apparently, no one loves the Halloween season more than Mark Cuban who invested $2 million for 20% of the live horror-entertainment company Ten Thirty One Productions.

Since its Season 5 appearance on Shark Tank, the entertainment company managed to bring in about $3 million in revenue. Cuban claims the company is making at least half a million dollars in profit annually. This included a year with a small hiccup where the Ten Thirty One struggled to expand from Los Angeles to New York City in time for the 2015 Halloween season.

Grace and Lace

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Grace and Lace happens to be Barbara Corcoran’s most profitable Shark Tank investment. In Season 5, Corcoran put down $175,000 in exchange for 10% of the Austin-based women’s accessory company which sold a range of leg warmers, boot cuffs, and scarves. Most of us forget the company’s accessory origins because its product line is now huge. In 2018, they’ve got everything from dresses and rompers to jackets and jeans.

Prior to Shark Tank, the company managed to pull in around $1 million in sales. By 2016, it had over $20 million in sales and expanded to 2,500 boutiques all over the world despite getting 75% of its business through the company website.

Which wildly successful product did Shark Tank completely pass on?

Ring

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Ring was technically a Shark Tank failure, but it actually became one of the most successful companies to ever appear on the series. Founder Jamie Siminoff went on the show in 2013 asking sharks to invest in his WiFi enabled video doorbell called Doorbot. He valued his company at $7 million and was seeking $700,00 for a 10% stake. Four sharks passed, while O’Leary offered a loan-royalty deal. Siminoff declined.

In 2018, Doorbot sold to Amazon for over $1 billion – one billion dollars — and rebranded as Amazon Ring. No Shark Tank company has come close and those who passed on the idea are probably kicking themselves as they sit in their mansions (because you know they already have mansions, but Ring could have bought them even bigger ones). The company proves that you should follow your dreams despite the number of times you’re told no.

Next: an 18-year-old with a business idea that now brings in $3 million annually.

Simple Sugars

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

At 18 years old, Simple Sugars founder Lani Lazzari marched into Shark Tank to pitch her skincare company. The teen had already racked up $50,000 in sales, but needed help expanding. She landed a deal with Mark Cuban, who offered her $100,000 for 33% equity. It was an almost instant success.

Within 24 hours of the Season 4 episode’s premiere, Simple Sugar sales jumped to $220,000. In the following six weeks, it hit the $1 million milestone. Cuban has since helped the company expand to 700 retail locations and launch international shipping. In 2015 alone, Simple Sugar brought in $3 million worth of revenue.

Cousins Main Lobster

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Honestly, what kind of monster doesn’t love Maine lobster (unless you’re vegetarian or have a shellfish allergy). Bonus points if it comes to you in a food truck. Because lobster is so widely adored, Cousins Maine Lobster was a hit with Corcoran who offered the company $55,000 for 15% in Season 4.

Cousins Main Lobster was unique in that it shipped the New England treat to California for its high-end food truck that served up luxury lobster rolls. Shortly after the episode aired, the company hit $700,000 in sales. By 2015, they were bringing in $8 million in revenue a year.

Wicked Good Cupcakes

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Season 4 of Shark Tank debuted at the height of the cupcake craze. Cupcake shops were popping up around America at an alarming rate (though, was it really alarming? Everyone loves a good cupcake). Wicked Good Cupcakes capitalized on this trend – and they did wicked well.

The mother-daughter duo made a deal with O’Leary for $75,000 in exchange for royalties. O’Leary would take $1 from each cupcake sold until he made back his investment. From then on, the shark would receive 50 cents per cupcake sold. Since the episode, the company has opened new production facilities and retail locations. They went from $7,000 monthly sales to $4.8 million annually and have become O’Leary’s most profitable investment from the show.

Coming up: a company that couldn’t keep up with demand after their Shark Tank appearance.

Red Dress Boutique

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Red Dress Boutique temporarily floundered after its Shark Tank debut. The company received a $1.2 million investment from Cuban and Herjavec in exchange for 10% equity. Unfortunately, the women’s fashion retailer couldn’t keep up with demand. Following the TV appearance, it brought in $1 million of sales but was forced to slow down until sorting out some crucial infrastructure issues.

Luckily, infrastructure issues don’t last long with Cuban at the helm. The company was able to bring in $14 million in revenue by 2014. Cuban claims the company is making around half a million in profit, annually.

Bottle Breacher

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Former Navy SEAL Eli Crane launched Bottle Breacher with his wife Jen, and set out to employ military veterans to craft their bottle openers made from dummy .50-caliber bullets. Anyone who’s watched Shark Tank knows that the sharks love a company that gives back to its community. For this reason, Bottle Breacher was a slam-dunk for O’Leary, who dumped $150,000 into the company in exchange for a 20% stake.

O’Leary has since become a brand ambassador for Bottle Breacher, which in turn, became one of his most profitable investments. The company raked in over $2.5 million in sales in 2015.

Lumio

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

In Season 6, Herjavec considered Max Gunawan “possibly the best entrepreneur” ever on the show. His company Lumio crafted an extremely unique foldable, portable, magnetic lamp. The lamps looked like books and the pages glowed when you opened them up. Herjavec offered Gunawan $350,000 in exchange for 10%.

Since Lumio’s appearance on Shark Tank, the company has become a huge success. In 2014, they made around $3 million in sales and continue to grow with distribution deals in stores that cater to high-end artistic types. While you won’t see this product in a Bed, Bath & Beyond anytime soon, you can get it at the New York Public Library Shop, SFMOMA Museum Store, and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

ReadeRest

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Greiner didn’t just become an investor in ReadeRest, he became the majority owner which is almost unheard of. Founder Rick Hopper handed the shark 65% of his company for $150,000 in an unexpected, wildly rare move for the series.

ReadeRest, which produces a magnetic clip that helps keep eyeglasses in place when tucked into a shirt, has become enormously successful since its Season 3 debut. The product is constantly sold out on QVC and the company made $13 million in revenue in the three years following its TV appearance. That’s enormous considering the company was worth less than $300,000 when Greiner initially dove in.

The next company didn’t make a deal at first but proved itself in a big way later.

The Bouqs Co.

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Flower delivery service The Bouqs Co. didn’t initially make a deal on Shark Tank after appearing in 2014. That didn’t mean the company was a terrible idea or a failure by an means. Eventually one of the sharks came around (hey, it’s never too late).

Herjavec used The Bouqs Co. for his own wedding three years after the company appeared on the series. He eventually decided to invest after seeing their work firsthand. The company has since become a major success and is valued at $43.1 million. In 2017, the company regularly sold $1 million worth of flowers a day.

Kodiak Cakes

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Image Credit: ABC / Shark Tank

Kodiak Cakes is the fastest-growing pancake mix brand in the US, but it didn’t land a deal on Shark Tank. The natural food brand went on the series looking for $500,000 in exchange for 10% of the business. Its downfall was the fact that that none of the sharks agreed with the valuation, though they liked the idea of protein-rich breakfast options that actually tasted good.

As of 2018, Kodiak Cakes was growing at the rate of 80% year over year. It’s expected to reach the milestone of $100 million in revenue with products now available in major retailers like Target and Walmart.