More than 600 companies have gotten investments from ABC’s Shark Tank judges in the past 13 years. These are some of the most successful.
Shark Tank’s celebrity investors have seen—and thrown their backing behind—everything from rentable Santa Claus performers and light-up beard ornaments to mini chainsaw turkey carvers and mushroom jerky. While many don’t go onto become household names beyond their 15 minutes of TV fame, there are some companies that managed to parlay their deals on the show into huge success. Forbes analyzed roughly 380 companies that left the tank with a deal in the past 6 years. We also poured through earlier Forbes reporting of another 319 businesses, scoured press reports and websites, and spoke to Shark Tank judges in search of the most successful. Of these dozens, seven stood out based on how much the businesses are worth, what their revenues are or how much they’ve grown since Shark Tank.
Some of the big winners are a bit surprising: four friends launched flushable wipes brand Dude Wipes out of their Chicago apartment in 2013, claiming to start it to “have fun, make shit jokes, and kick ass.” A year later, clever marketing got their brand featured on the butt of an MMA fighter and trending on Twitter. Today Dude Products, which claims to have been the number 2 stocking stuffer this holiday season, is expecting sales of $100 million for 2022. Husband-and-wife team Allison and Stephen Ellsworth started mixing fruit juice with cider vinegar in their kitchen to help with weight loss. Now their healthy Poppi soda brand has roughly $50 million in sales.
“Getting a million dollar investment from Mark Cuban on Shark Tank validated [the brand] to anybody who had any questions about what we were doing,” said Justin Fenchel, cofounder of Beatbox boxed cocktails, another Shark Tank winner. “It solidified us as entrepreneurs, it solidified us as a viable business.”
The most valuable Shark Tank-backed company ever, based on Forbes’ analysis, is Everly Health, a telehealth and diagnostic testing company that lets customers screen for everything from STDs to food sensitivities right in their homes. It raised $54 million at a more than $3 billion valuation in 2021, according to Pitchbook. It’s likely worth less now, given the market drop and jitters about unicorns, but still has bragging rights as the only unicorn that we found.
At least a couple of the most successful companies ever to appear on Shark Tank walked away with no deal. Jamie Siminoff pitched his video doorbell company, DoorBot, to the judges in 2013. Shark Kevin O’Leary reportedly offered him a $700,000 loan in return for a 10% royalty and 5% equity stake, which Siminoff rejected. Five years later, he sold his then smart-home security tech outfit Ring to Amazon for a reported $1 billion.
The founders of Kodiak Cakes, a line of whole grain and protein-packed pancake and waffle mixes, went on Shark Tank in season 5 looking for $500,000 in return for a 10% stake. They turned down Sharks’ offers that asked for 30% or more in equity, but still emerged as winners. The publicity from their 2014 TV appearance helped double sales that year to nearly $8 million. It raised outside money from Sunrise Strategic Partners in 2016, and by 2020, sales had reportedly jumped to $200 million. Kodiak Cakes, which now sells everything from granola bars and oatmeal to all sorts of flapjack mixes at retailers such as Target and Amazon, is ending 2022 with an estimated $500 million in retail sales, according to cofounder Cameron Smith.
Of course, even those that are initially a big success can run into trouble. The Comfy brand, known for its snuggly wearable blankets, became a near instant hit after appearing on the show, winning over Barbara Corcoran and millions of customers. Things have since unraveled, and Corcoran sold out. Its co-founder is currently trying to pay off debts and re-energize the brand.
Here are seven Shark Tank success stories.
November 2017, Season: 9
Shark: Lori Greiner
Shark Tank deal: $1 million line of credit at 8% interest in exchange for 5% equity
Julia Cheek founded Everlywell, in Austin, Texas in 2014 to sell easy, affordable at-home lab tests directly to consumers. The company already had $2.5 million in revenue from selling its FDA approved tests for cholesterol screening and the like by the time she went on Shark Tank in November 2017 and won the backing of Lori Greiner. Since then, the company has expanded its offerings in part by acquiring two other health diagnostic firms and Natalist, which makes pregnancy and ovulation tests as well as prenatal supplements. Everly Health, which now sells over 30 at-home lab tests via Amazon, Target, CVS and others for everything from food sensitivity to STDs, raised an estimated $154 million Series F funding round, according to Pitchbook, at a $3.45 billion post valuation in December 2021. That valuation has likely come down along with markets but, even still, it’s a notable winner. (EverlyWell declined to comment.)
October 2015, Season: 7
Shark: Mark Cuban
Shark Tank deal: $300,000 for 20%
Four friends launched Dude Wipes out of their Chicago apartment in 2013. In October 2015, they pitched the wipes on Shark Tank and won a $300,000 investment from Mark Cuban in exchange for 25% of the company. Today Dude Products has cleaned up. According to the company, it sold $80 million worth of product in the 12 months ending November 2022 in 15,000 stores nationwide, including Target, Walmart and Best Buy. Cuban, meanwhile, is still the only investor. Asked about their big name investor, Sean Riley, who claims the company is now worth $300 million, said the biggest benefit was his “mentorship” and the fact he prevented them from making “big mistakes.”
October 2014 Season: 6
Shark: Mark Cuban
Shark Tank deal: $1 million in exchange for 33% equity
Friends from University of Texas at Austin’s business school, Justin Fenchel, Aimy Steadman and Brad Schultz, founded BeatBox Beverages in 2011, pitching it as the World’s Tastiest Party Punch (flavors include Peach Punch and Blue Razzberry) and selling it in packaging that initially looked like a boom box. Big fans of Shark Tank, they went on the show in 2014, hoping to land someone who could help with distribution and marketing. “We had a lot of doubters and a lot of haters, and people were like ‘this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard, this will never work,’” Fenchel said. That all changed when Mark Cuban bet on them. “We were doing dances, jumping up and down,” he added. Cuban personally helped sell boxes at South by Southwest and traveled to a launch event at his alma mater Indiana University. Sales doubled in 2017 when they started selling single-serve eco-friendly boxes and working with beer distributors to get into convenience stores. Beatbox did $18 million in sales in 2021 and expects to end 2022 with nearly $40 million in sales. In September, the company raised $15 million from private investors led by Concentric Equity Partners at a $200 million valuation, according to Pitchbook and Beatbox’s website.
September 2019, Season: 11
Shark: Kevin O’Leary
Shark Tank deal: $270,000 for exchange for 3% equity, $0.50 royalty per kit sold until money for the investment is earned back
Cofounded in April 2019 by Sarah Paiji Yoo whose lofty goal is to eliminate single-use plastic packaging in homes, Blueland only started selling its eco-conscious line of cleaning products a month before appearing in front of the Shark Tank judges. They won over Kevin O’Leary and negotiated a deal with him; “Mr. Wonderful” has since appeared in promotions for the brand, including an ad where he scrubs a toilet. Another fan: Kim Kardashian, who watched the episode and then tweeted twice about ordering from Blueland. (The concept: buy a Forever Bottle once and refill it “forever” with water and special cleaning or soap tablets.) Before going on Shark Tank, Yoo said, her plan for Blueland was primarily direct-to-consumer. However, she has since pivoted to retailers such as Costco, The Container Store and Bed Bath and Beyond, which make up a majority of its sales.
October 2019, Season: 11
Sharks: Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec
Shark Tank deal: $500,000 inchange for 15% equity
Jack Slatnick and Eric Goodchild, Arizona State grads, founded Aira in 2017 to improve wireless charging. Two years later they pitched on Shark Tank a free form wireless technology that could charge multiple devices anywhere on its surface; they walked away with a three-shark deal with Herjavec, Greiner and O’Leary. While the due diligence took another year, all three moved forward as investors. “Two is better than one, and three is better than two,” Slatnick said. After the show, it partnered with tech lifestyle brand Nomad to create consumer products. Now called FreePower, it has 150 patents for its technology. Tesla recently launched a home charging station using FreePower technology. “After the show aired, that’s when a bunch of people found out about us. Almost everybody that I work with … they’re all a fan of the show, all over the world — all these different decision makers at car companies and product companies.” Slatnick was named to Forbes Under 30 in December and claims FreePower is now worth more than $150 million. CTO and electrical engineer Goodchild left in March to become CTO of Graff Golf.
September 2014, Season: 6
Shark: Daymond John
Shark Tank deal: $200,000 for 17.5%
David Heath and Randy Goldberg started Bombas in 2013 as a way to help the homeless. It was built around the idea of buying one pair of socks and giving one away. By the time the founders went on Shark Tank, Bombas – derived from the Latin word for bumblebee and symbolizing its goal to “bee better” — already had $400,000 in revenue. While Robert Herjavec rejected the idea, saying a $9-per-pair sock company wouldn’t survive (they now cost more than $12 a pair), Daymond John signed up. Sales jumped to $3.7 million in the 12 months after the episode aired, and John gave them critical advice on how to grow. “We thought we were ready to vastly expand to different product categories, but Daymond suggested we stay focused on what we knew well: socks,” Heath said. “Zeroing in on a single category for our first few years … helped us stay focused on the long game.” It did start selling T-shirts in 2019 and underwear in 2021, sticking to their 1-to-1 donation. Customers can buy Bombas directly from the company (apparently still the majority of their sales) or from a few retailers including Amazon, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nordstrom. Bombas, which has raised $150 million from investors, says it racked up $300 million in sales in 2021 and donated 75 million items of clothing so far.
December 2018, Season: 10
Shark: Rohan Oza (guest)
Shark Tank deal: $400,000 in exchange for 25% equity
Husband-and-wife team Allison and Stephen Ellsworth began peddling Mother Beverage, their healthy soda alternative, at their local farmer’s market where it was a hit. In late 2018, when Allison was 9 months pregnant, they pitched it on Season 10 of Shark Tank; Rohan Oza — guest shark and Coca-Cola veteran who was involved in marketing the Glaceau and Bai brands — invested but pushed the founders to rebrand. Sales jumped more than 8-fold in one year after Shark Tank. Now called Poppi, the prebiotic sparkling beverage is sold in eye-popping colors and fruity flavors from watermelon and orange to cherry limeade and raspberry rose, and is available everywhere from Target and Walmart to Amazon. “This is disruptive and new,” Ellsworth says. “If you think about it, soda hasn’t been disrupted since … Coke, Dr. Pepper and Pepsi, right? There’s not a lot of other things that have really come along that can challenge all of that.” Oza is still a big believer, having invested in every funding round including a recent $13.5 million one led by his CAVU Ventures and backed by such celebrity investors as singer Halsey, basketball player Russell Westbrook and Norwegian DJ Kygo. According to the company, revenue is now more than $50 million.
Additional reporting by Conor Murray and Jemima McEvoy.