Shark Tank, the hit television series, has captured the hearts and minds of entrepreneurs and viewers alike. This high-stakes, pitch-based reality show features aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas to a panel of successful and wealthy investors, known as the “sharks”. The sharks have the power to invest their own money into these startups, and in return, they receive a stake in the business. With over a decade of entertaining and inspiring episodes, several key elements have consistently made for the best Shark Tank episodes: notable investments, popular entrepreneurs, and successful deals.
The Best Shark Tank Episodes of All Time:
Season 5 Episode 7: Tree T Pee
In this episode, Johnny Georges tugged at the heartstrings of the Sharks with his unique water conservation device for farmers, the Tree T Pee. His passionate pitch about helping farmers save water and money resulted in a deal with John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products .
Georges’s emotional connection to the product becomes evident as he shares its history, revealing that it was originally invented by his late father, who passed away 12 years ago. Even the typically unyielding shark, Kevin O’Leary, acknowledges that “there wasn’t a dry eye in the room that day.”
Ultimately, Georges finds a sympathetic partner in guest shark John Paul DeJoria, who eagerly extends his support to Georges and his inspiring cause. DeJoria recognizes the pivotal role of farmers in America, and as he aptly notes, “Farmers are the cornerstone of America”.
As Georges aptly emphasizes, “It’s not about the money to me. It’s about doing what’s right”. This heartwarming episode serves as a reminder that even in the world of business and investment, there are stories that rekindle one’s faith in humanity.
Season 1, Episode 1: AVA Elephant
The first episode of Shark Tank set the tone for the series with its memorable pitches, including Tiffany Krumins’ AVA Elephant, a children’s medicine dispenser. Despite having no sales or patents, her heartfelt story and clear vision convinced Barbara Corcoran to invest.
Tiffany Krumins stands as one of the earliest and most celebrated success stories to emerge from Shark Tank, making her mark on the show’s inaugural episode. She entered the tank as a concerned mother, seeking a solution to the age-old challenge of persuading her children to take their medicine. Krumins presented her elephant-shaped medicine dispenser, although it was not yet patented, a fact that didn’t sit well with the discerning Kevin O’Leary .
However, Barbara Corcoran saw the potential and struck a deal with Krumins, offering $ 50,000 for a 50% stake in the company.
Fast forward, and AVA the Elephant can now be found in more than 10 countries, gracing the shelves of over 10,000 retail outlets, including major players like Walgreens and CVS. Krumins, despite battling and recovering from cancer, continues to steer her company’s growth with the invaluable support of Corcoran. As one of the earliest and most remarkable success stories to emerge from the Shark Tank, Tiffany Krumins’ journey with the AVA the Elephant medicine dispenser is a truly inspiring episode worth watching.
Season 3, Episode 2: I Want to Draw a Cat For You
Steve Gadlin had the Sharks roaring with laughter with his unique pitch – I Want to Draw a Cat For You. Mark Cuban saw potential in this quirky business and made a deal, proving that even the most unconventional ideas can find success in the Shark Tank.
Steve Gadlin’s pitch may initially come across as a whimsical jest, featuring his humorously named venture, “I Want to Draw a Cat For You”. However, Gadlin manages to astound the sharks by demonstrating that he’s raking in genuine revenue with his stick figure cat drawings, each priced at a mere $ 10 apiece.
Gadlin’s playful cat doodles ultimately strike a chord with Mark Cuban, who extends an offer of $ 25,000 for a 33% stake in the business. This particular Shark Tank episode stands out as an enjoyable one, thanks to Gadlin’s offbeat concept and lighthearted presentation, which surprisingly wins the approval and investment of the sharp-witted Mark Cuban.
Season 3, Episode 7: Kisstixx
Cousins Jim Tselikis and Sabin Lomac brought their Maine lobster roll food truck business, Cousins Maine Lobster, into the tank. Their delicious pitch resulted in a deal with Barbara Corcoran, and their business has since expanded nationwide.
Kisstixx owners, Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo, found themselves at a pivotal moment in their entrepreneurial journey when Mark Cuban extended a generous offer of $ 200,000 in exchange for a 40% ownership share in their company .
This significant partnership paved the way for Kisstixx to achieve astounding success, with their product now gracing the shelves in 30 countries and earning a coveted spot on the renowned QVC platform. The remarkable journey of Kisstixx is a testament to the transformative power of Shark Tank and serves as an inspiring tale of entrepreneurial triumph.
Season 5, Episode 2: Breathometer
Charles Yim’s pitch for a smartphone breathalyzer, Breathometer, made Shark Tank history when all five Sharks teamed up to invest. The product has since been pulled due to accuracy issues, but the episode remains a classic.
Charles Yim’s Breathometer proved to be a standout success story from Season 5, achieving a remarkable feat by captivating all five sharks with its portable breathalyzer that conveniently plugs into a smartphone. Yim walked away with a substantial investment of $ 1 million, granting a collective 30% equity stake to Mark Cuban, Brian O’Leary, Daymond John, Robert Herjavec, and Lori Greiner .
Following his triumphant appearance on Shark Tank, Yim continued to secure an additional $ 2 million in funding and established a partnership with the esteemed Cleveland Clinic. With these strategic moves, Yim anticipates that Breathometer will generate an impressive $ 10 million in sales for the current year, marking it as another compelling success story from the Shark Tank series – an episode well worth tuning in for on TV.
Season 3, Episode 3: Chord Buddy
Travis Perry presented ChordBuddy, a device that attaches to a guitar to help beginners learn to play. Robert Herjavec was moved by Perry’s dedication to music education and decided to invest.
ChordBuddy has revolutionized the process of learning guitar chords, enabling students to strum away right from the start. This unique approach allows budding guitarists to tackle popular, well-loved tunes and experience the joy of playing music before they shed the training wheels of guitar instruction.
In a pivotal moment from this episode, Perry strikes a deal with Robert Herjavec, who invests $ 175,000 in exchange for a 20% ownership stake in the company. This partnership takes ChordBuddy to new heights.
With Herjavec’s expertise and support, ChordBuddy managed to enlist the acclaimed country star John Rich of Big and Rich as their spokesperson. This collaboration represents a genuine musical success story, making this particular episode of Shark Tank an absolute must-watch for music enthusiasts and aficionados.
Season 6, Episode 6: Jimmy Kimmel Offers a New Kind of Pant
In a hilarious guest appearance, Jimmy Kimmel pitched his absurd idea for horse pants. While no investment was made, the episode showcased the show’s lighter side .
Undoubtedly, one of the most comical moments in Shark Tank history unfolds in season six when the irreverent Jimmy Kimmel steps into the spotlight to present his groundbreaking creation – Horse Pants. As the name cleverly suggests, these are indeed pants designed for our equine companions.
While it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find Horse Pants featured on QVC or gracing the shelves of a Bed Bath & Beyond in your vicinity, Kimmel’s offbeat pitch will undoubtedly go down as a legendary chapter in the annals of Shark Tank, forever etched in the show’s amusing and memorable moments.
Season 4, Episode 8: PlateTopper
This episode featured the longest pitch in Shark Tank history from PlateTopper, a product designed to convert plates into airtight storage containers. After an exhaustive negotiation, Lori Greiner made a deal.
This episode also shines a spotlight on another noteworthy presentation by Michael Tseng, who introduces the Plate Topper to the sharks. The Plate Topper is a plastic storage container equipped with a suction feature designed to cling securely to plates, simplifying food leftover storage.
However, the real draw of this episode lies in the intense back-and-forth between Tseng and the investors, resulting in a gripping battle of wits. Tseng manages to incite a bidding war among the sharks, an extraordinary spectacle that extends for a record-breaking two hours on the Shark Tank set as they tirelessly negotiate.
In the end, it’s Lori Greiner who persuades Tseng to strike a deal, even though it eventually falls through. Nevertheless, there’s no denying that Shark Tank played a pivotal role in catapulting Plate Topper to enormous success. Tseng’s product has now secured a prominent presence in numerous physical Walmart stores and on Walmart.com, marking it as a remarkable triumph.
Season 5, Episode 6: Ten Thirty One Productions
Melissa Carbone secured the biggest deal in Shark Tank’s history with her horror entertainment company, Ten Thirty One Productions. Mark Cuban invested $ 2 million for a 20% stake in the company.
Carbone is the owner of Ten Thirty One Productions, a company that specializes in live horror attractions located in the Los Angeles area. At first, the sharks approach her request for $ 2 million in exchange for a 10% equity stake with caution.
However, their interest is piqued when Carbone reveals that Ten Thirty One Productions raked in a staggering $ 1.8 million in revenue from their haunted hayride event in October, resulting in a substantial $ 600,000 in profit .
With Mark Cuban’s investment, Carbone’s Ten Thirty One Productions has witnessed remarkable expansion, stretching its eerie offerings across the nation. Cuban’s strategic involvement also led to the acquisition of a ticketing distribution contract with Live Nation, a pivotal development that is expected to drive the company’s sales to a projected $ 3 million for the current year.
Season 3, Episode 6: ReadeRest
Rick Hopper’s pitch for ReadeRest, a magnetic eyeglass holder, was a hit with Lori Greiner. Despite a stumble during his presentation, his simple yet effective product earned him a deal.
In this episode, a crafty piece of theater unfolds as Hopper ingeniously stages a faux tumble, effectively showcasing the practicality of his product.
Swiftly recognizing the potential, Lori Greiner eagerly acquires Hopper’s ReadeRest. She envisions an immense triumph on QVC’s stage and proposes a $ 150,000 investment in exchange for a 65% share of the company, assuring Hopper that her QVC network will translate into millions.
As fate would have it, ReadeRest consistently flies off the shelves whenever it graces the QVC platform, and Hopper’s sales have soared to a remarkable $ 8 million since their successful stint on Shark Tank.
Season 4, Episode 7: Scrub Daddy
Aaron Krause’s pitch for a versatile household cleaning tool, Scrub Daddy, resulted in a bidding war among the Sharks. Lori Greiner won the battle, making it one of her most successful investments to date.
Aaron Krause delivered an exuberant presentation, showcasing how his zesty, grinning sponge could effectively obliterate even the most stubborn dish grime, all thanks to its top-notch materials and remarkable resilience.
Lori Greiner, a celebrated champion from QVC, sealed the deal with Krause, offering $ 200,000 in exchange for a 20% ownership stake in Scrub Daddy. The outcome? Post-Shark Tank, Scrub Daddy skyrocketed, amassing an impressive $ 18 million in sales. The product has now become a staple on QVC, earning placement in renowned retail establishments like Bed Bath & Beyond and Wal-Mart.
Season 5, Episode 20, Kid Entrepreneurs
This special episode featured kid entrepreneurs pitching their innovative ideas. Moziah Bridges, the 12-year-old founder of Mo’s Bows, walked away with a mentorship deal with Daymond John, who helped him grow his business without taking any equity.
In this particular installment, viewers were treated to a plethora of remarkable innovations, including Boo Boo Goo, the inventive paint-on band-aid, iReTron, a solution for trading in pre-owned electronic devices, and Henrey’s Humdingers, a company specializing in the sale of spiced honey.
Furthermore, the episode unveiled Define Bottle, an environmentally conscious water receptacle that facilitates fruit infusions and the concoction of various herbal blends to infuse the simple act of hydration with a delightful twist.
Season 5, Episode 13: GrooveBook
Husband and wife team Brian and Julie Whiteman pitched GrooveBook, an app that prints up to 100 photos from your phone into a book. The pitch resulted in a deal with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary, and the company was later acquired by Shutterfly for $ 14.5 million.
The Whiteman team astutely observes that users frequently capture images on their mobile devices, only to consign them to digital oblivion. GrooveBook offers a convenient solution to this issue, granting users the joy of rediscovering those forgotten memories through a monthly photo compilation.
In a shrewd business move, the Whitemans struck a deal with Mark Cuban and Brian O’Leary, netting themselves $ 150,000 in return for an 80% share of the licensing profits. The plot twist? In November, Shutterfly acquired GrooveBook for a staggering $ 14.5 million!
What Makes The Best Shark Tank Episodes:
Notable investments are the lifeblood of Shark Tank’s appeal. These are the moments when the sharks see potential in a business idea, invest their hard-earned money, and subsequently witness the success that can follow.
Notable investments have played a pivotal role in shaping the show’s popularity and its impact on entrepreneurs and investors worldwide :
- The Drama of Multiple Sharks: One of the most thrilling aspects of the show is when multiple sharks express interest in a single pitch. This scenario is often fraught with tension and suspense as entrepreneurs must decide which shark to partner with. Some of the best episodes have featured intense negotiations among the sharks, creating a memorable viewing experience;
- Huge Valuations: When an entrepreneur successfully negotiates a substantial investment at a high valuation, it becomes a talking point among fans and contestants. These instances showcase the extraordinary potential of the business idea and emphasize the sharks’ faith in the entrepreneur;
- Success Stories: The best Shark Tank episodes are those that follow up on the investments made, revealing the real-world outcomes. Success stories, such as the Scrub Daddy and the Simply Fit Board, have captivated audiences by demonstrating the transformative power of the show. These investments have turned small startups into multi-million-dollar enterprises;
- Iconic Moments: Beyond the financial aspects, notable investments have also produced iconic moments on the show. For example, when Mark Cuban made a then-record-breaking deal with the creators of Groovebook, or when Kevin O’Leary coined the term “Mr. Wonderful”. These moments become a part of pop culture and add to the show’s allure;
Shark Tank has introduced a plethora of entrepreneurs who have become household names. These popular entrepreneurs not only drive the show’s viewership but also serve as role models for aspiring business leaders.
Their charisma, determination, and creativity have set them apart in the world of reality TV :
- Charismatic Personalities: Entrepreneurs like Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Robert Herjavec have endeared themselves to fans with their unique personalities. Lori, known as the “Queen of QVC”, has a keen eye for consumer products, while Daymond’s rags-to-riches story resonates with many;
- Diverse Backgrounds: Shark Tank brings together a diverse group of entrepreneurs from various industries and backgrounds. This diversity adds depth to the show, as it allows viewers to connect with entrepreneurs who share similar experiences and challenges;
- Relatable Stories: Popular entrepreneurs often have relatable stories that strike a chord with viewers. The struggles, sacrifices, and dedication of these individuals can inspire aspiring business owners. People like Tom and Chee, who started with a single grilled cheese restaurant, and the Squatty Potty creators, who turned a quirky product into a household name, have become fan favorites;
- Entrepreneurial Wisdom: These entrepreneurs provide invaluable insights into the world of business. Whether it’s Barbara Corcoran’s candid advice or Mark Cuban’s no-nonsense approach, their wisdom and experience are a highlight of the show;
Ultimately, the success of the show hinges on the outcome of the deals made in the tank.
Successful deals not only boost the entrepreneurs’ businesses but also reinforce the credibility and influence of the sharks :
- Business Growth: The best Shark Tank episodes feature businesses that experience significant growth post-investment. Entrepreneurs who effectively utilize the sharks’ resources, expertise, and connections often see their companies flourish;
- Shark Involvement: The sharks’ involvement in the businesses they invest in is a critical factor in their success. Some sharks, like Kevin O’Leary, are hands-off investors, while others, like Daymond John, play a more active role in mentoring and guiding entrepreneurs. Successful deals often involve sharks who are not only investors but also strategic partners;
- Creating Brands: Shark Tank has been instrumental in transforming ordinary products into recognized brands. The exposure and marketing power of the show can turn a small startup into a household name. Successful deals create a ripple effect as these brands expand and continue to innovate;
- Inspiration for Others: When entrepreneurs achieve success through the show, it inspires others to follow in their footsteps. The success stories emanating from Shark Tank are proof that with determination, creativity, and the right partnership, anyone can turn their dreams into reality;
What Makes The Most Interesting Pitching Techniques:
Effective pitches are the backbone of any successful appearance on Shark Tank.
These pitches are a masterclass in persuasion, encapsulating key elements that capture the attention and interest of both the sharks and the viewers:
- Clear and Concise Explanation: One of the most critical aspects of an effective pitch is a clear and concise explanation of the business or product. Entrepreneurs must convey their ideas in a way that anyone can understand, even if they have no prior knowledge of the industry;
- Compelling Storytelling: Effective pitches often feature a compelling story that resonates with the sharks and the audience. Entrepreneurs who can share their personal journey, challenges, and motivations connect on a deeper level;
- Know the Numbers: Investors on Shark Tank are laser-focused on the financials. Entrepreneurs who have a thorough understanding of their numbers, including revenue, profit margins, and sales projections, are more likely to garner the sharks’ trust;
- Unique Selling Proposition (USP): A successful pitch must clearly articulate the unique selling proposition of the product or business. What sets it apart from competitors? Why is it a game-changer;
- Handling Questions and Objections: Sharks often pose challenging questions and objections to test the entrepreneurs. Effective pitches involve calmly and confidently addressing these queries, demonstrating a deep knowledge of the market and industry;
While effective pitches provide valuable lessons, some of the most interesting and memorable moments on Shark Tank come from entrepreneurs making critical pitching mistakes.
These errors serve as cautionary tales and offer insights into what not to do when seeking investment:
- Overvaluation: Entrepreneurs who overvalue their businesses often encounter skepticism from the sharks. Unrealistic valuations can lead to intense negotiations or complete rejections. Such mistakes highlight the importance of having a defensible valuation;
- Lack of Preparation: Inadequate preparation is a common pitching mistake. Entrepreneurs who are not well-versed in their financials or have not thought through their pitch thoroughly tend to flounder in the tank;
- Weak Business Models: Some entrepreneurs pitch ideas with fundamentally flawed business models. These mistakes underscore the need for a solid and scalable business plan;
- Inflexibility: Refusing to budge on terms or being inflexible during negotiations can alienate potential investors. Entrepreneurs who stick to their initial offers without considering the sharks’ expertise often miss out on valuable opportunities;
- Emotional Pitching: While a compelling personal story can be beneficial, excessive emotional pitching can detract from the business proposition. Entrepreneurs who allow their emotions to overpower the pitch may struggle to garner investor confidence;
Advice from the Sharks
The sharks on Shark Tank have seen it all, and they often provide invaluable advice to entrepreneurs.
This advice serves as a treasure trove of knowledge for those seeking to navigate the treacherous waters of entrepreneurship:
- Understand Your Numbers: The sharks consistently emphasize the importance of knowing your financials inside and out. Understanding your numbers is a fundamental requirement for any successful pitch;
- Passion and Perseverance: The sharks often highlight the significance of passion and perseverance. Even if the business idea faces initial challenges, unwavering dedication and a belief in the product can make a significant difference;
- Know Your Market: The sharks stress the need for a deep understanding of the market and competition. Entrepreneurs must be aware of market trends, consumer behavior, and the competitive landscape;
- Leverage Their Expertise: When the sharks express interest in a pitch, they bring more than just capital to the table. They offer invaluable expertise, connections, and guidance. Entrepreneurs who accept these offers can benefit immensely;
- Be Willing to Negotiate: Negotiation is a crucial aspect of securing a deal on Shark Tank. The sharks encourage entrepreneurs to be flexible and open to reasonable offers, as collaboration can lead to mutual success;
- Which season of Shark Tank is the best?
While every season has its highlights, Season 3 is often cited as the best season of Shark Tank. It was ranked #1 on Episode Ninja and received a lot of votes on Reddit as well. This season featured a variety of innovative products and memorable entrepreneurs, including the quirky “I Want to Draw a Cat For You” and the successful “Chord Buddy”.
- What is the biggest deal on Shark Tank?
The biggest deal in Shark Tank history was made in Season 5, Episode 6. Melissa Carbone secured a $ 2 million investment for her horror entertainment company, Ten Thirty One Productions. Mark Cuban agreed to invest this amount for a 20% stake in the company.
- What was the worst Shark Tank pitch ever?
There have been several pitches that didn’t go over well with the Sharks. However, one that stands out is James Martin’s pitch for Copa Di Vino in Season 2. Despite being given two chances to pitch, Martin’s stubbornness and unwillingness to negotiate led to no Sharks investing in his product.
- What is the most successful Shark Tank reject?
One of the most successful businesses that didn’t get a deal on Shark Tank is Ring, a home security company. Founder Jamie Siminoff pitched the concept (then called DoorBot) in Season 5, but did not receive an offer. Amazon later acquired Ring for over $ 1 billion.
- Is it worth it to watch Shark Tank in 2023?
Yes, it’s still worth watching Shark Tank in 2023. The show continues to offer valuable insights into entrepreneurship, business negotiations, and what makes a product or business idea successful. According to IMDb ratings, recent seasons like Season 12 and 13 still hold up well compared to earlier ones.
- What Shark Tank businesses have failed?
While many businesses thrive after appearing on Shark Tank, some unfortunately fail. One example is Toygaroo, a toy rental service that went out of business just a few months after securing a deal with Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary.
Another is Hy-Conn, a manufacturer of super-fast fire hose connectors, which failed to take off after the show due to a disagreement between the founder and Mark Cuban.
- What’s the most successful product from Shark Tank?
One of the most successful products from Shark Tank is the Scrub Daddy. Pitched by Aaron Krause in Season 4, the versatile household cleaning tool sparked a bidding war among the Sharks. Lori Greiner won the battle, and the product has since made over $ 200 million in sales.
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