Shark Tank, the hit TV show where entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of wealthy investors, has launched the careers of many successful companies. However, not all businesses that appear on the show get a deal. In fact, some of the most successful companies today were initially rejected on Shark Tank. Despite the disappointment of being turned down by the sharks, these entrepreneurs didn’t give up on their dreams. Instead, they used the experience as a learning opportunity and worked hard to turn their businesses into thriving enterprises. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at 5 companies that were rejected on Shark Tank but went on to achieve great success.
Ring, the company behind the popular video doorbell, was rejected on Shark Tank in 2013. The founder, Jamie Siminoff, asked for $700,000 for a 10% stake in the company but was turned down. While the sharks were impressed by the product and its potential, they expressed concerns about the company’s valuation and the ability to compete in the already-crowded home security market.
In particular, Kevin O’Leary (also known as “Mr. Wonderful”) was the most vocal in his criticism of Ring’s valuation. He felt that the company was overvalued and that the proposed investment was too high. Although some of the other sharks expressed interest in investing, none of them were willing to meet Ring’s asking price.
While opinions may vary, it’s worth noting that Ring’s valuation at the time of its appearance on Shark Tank in 2013 was certainly ambitious. The company was seeking a $7 million valuation for a business that had only generated $1 million in sales at the time. It’s important to note that valuations for early-stage companies are often difficult to determine.
Despite being rejected on Shark Tank, Ring went on to become a major player in the home security market, thanks in part to successful crowdfunding campaigns and partnerships with major retailers like Best Buy. The company eventually sold to Amazon for $1 billion in 2018.
When Kodiak Cakes appeared on Shark Tank in 2013, the company’s founders, Joel Clark and Cameron Smith, were seeking a $500,000 investment in exchange for a 10% stake in their business. While the sharks were impressed by the company’s all-natural pancake and waffle mixes, they had concerns about the scalability of the business and the potential for competition in the crowded breakfast foods market.
Specifically, the sharks questioned whether Kodiak Cakes had the marketing and distribution capabilities to compete with established brands like Aunt Jemima and Bisquick. They also expressed concern about the company’s ability to maintain its focus on healthy, natural ingredients while scaling up production.
Despite these concerns, Kodiak Cakes has since grown into a successful business with products available in major retailers like Costco and Target.
To solve the marketing and distribution challenges raised by the sharks on Shark Tank, Kodiak Cakes took a deliberate and focused approach to expanding its product offerings and distribution channels.
First, the company focused on developing new products that aligned with its brand values of wholesome, all-natural ingredients. This included expanding beyond pancake and waffle mixes to include other breakfast foods like oatmeal and toaster waffles.
Second, Kodiak Cakes invested heavily in building out its distribution network. The company secured deals with major retailers like Costco, Target, and Whole Foods, as well as online retailers like Amazon. This allowed the company to reach a wider audience and expand its customer base.
Third, Kodiak Cakes developed a strong brand identity and marketing strategy that emphasized the company’s commitment to healthy, natural ingredients and its roots in the outdoors. This messaging resonated with health-conscious consumers and helped differentiate the company from competitors in the crowded breakfast foods market.
The company has expanded beyond its original pancake and waffle mixes to include other breakfast foods like oatmeal and toaster waffles, and has been valued at over $100 million.
When Brazi Bites appeared on Shark Tank in 2015, the company’s founders, Junea and Cameron Rocha, were seeking a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 10% stake in their business. While the sharks were impressed by the taste of the Brazilian cheese bread and the company’s early success in selling its product in local farmers’ markets and Whole Foods stores, they had concerns about the scalability of the business and the ability to protect its intellectual property.
Despite the initial rejection on Shark Tank, Brazi Bites has since grown significantly.
Brazi Bites addressed the concerns about copycat products by focusing on protecting its intellectual property and building a strong brand. The company has several trademarks and patents related to its unique recipe and manufacturing process for Brazilian cheese bread. Brazi Bites has also invested in building a loyal customer base and creating a strong brand identity through social media, influencer partnerships, and targeted marketing campaigns.
To further differentiate its products from potential copycats, Brazi Bites has also continued to innovate and expand its product line. The company has introduced new flavors and snack products that incorporate Brazilian-inspired ingredients, such as plantain chips and pão de queijo bites. By staying ahead of the competition and maintaining a focus on quality and authenticity, Brazi Bites has been able to establish itself as a leader in the Brazilian snack category.
The company has secured deals with major retailers like Costco, Target, and Kroger, and has expanded its product line to include other Brazilian-inspired snacks. As of 2021, the company has sold over 100 million Brazi Bites and has been valued at over $100 million.
Chef Big Shake
When Chef Big Shake appeared on Shark Tank in 2012, the company’s founder, Shawn Davis, was seeking a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 25% stake in his business. Chef Big Shake had developed a line of gourmet chicken products, including his signature shrimp-stuffed chicken breast, and had already secured distribution deals with major retailers like Walmart.
However, the sharks were concerned about the competitive landscape in the food industry and the ability to differentiate Chef Big Shake’s products from other gourmet food brands. They also expressed skepticism about the ability to maintain quality and consistency as the business scaled up production to meet demand.
Despite the initial rejection on Shark Tank, Chef Big Shake has continued to grow and expand. The company has expanded its product line to include other gourmet food products, such as seafood and vegan options, and has established a strong online presence through social media and e-commerce channels.
The founder of Chef Big Shake has also leveraged his Shark Tank appearance to generate publicity and increase brand awareness, and has continued to secure distribution deals with major retailers.
As of 2021, the company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine, and has been featured in national media outlets like Forbes and The Today Show.
The Bouqs Company
Online flower delivery company The Bouqs Company was rejected on Shark Tank in season five, but the company has since raised over $74 million in funding and was valued at $190 million in 2020.
When The Bouqs Company appeared on Shark Tank in 2014, the company’s founders, John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montúfar, were seeking a $258,000 investment in exchange for a 5% stake in their business. The Bouqs Company offered a unique, direct-to-consumer model for buying flowers, partnering with eco-friendly and sustainable farms around the world to offer high-quality flowers at a lower cost than traditional floral retailers.
Despite the initial rejection on Shark Tank, The Bouqs Company has continued to grow and expand its business. The company has expanded its product line to include plants and gifts, and has established partnerships with major retailers like Whole Foods and Urban Outfitters.
The Bouqs Company has also leveraged its eco-friendly and sustainable business model to generate positive publicity and differentiate itself from other floral retailers.
In 2017, however, after purchasing flowers for his wedding Robert Herjavec decided to invest in the company.
As of 2021, the company has been recognized as one of the fastest-growing companies in America by Inc. Magazine, and has been featured in national media outlets like Forbes and The New York Times.
While many entrepreneurs and companies have achieved great success after being rejected on Shark Tank, the show still provides a valuable platform for exposure and potential investment. The points of contention for rejection varied for each company, but common concerns included scalability, competitive landscape, and revenue generation. However, these companies were able to overcome the obstacles and find success through creative solutions and hard work. The stories of these companies serve as a reminder that rejection does not necessarily mean failure, and that persistence and determination can lead to great success in the business world.