We are seeing a lot of new startups these days, and all these startups with innovative ideas need an investor to back them up. Many startups in the search for investors come to Shark Tank where celebrity entrepreneurs invest in growing startups. Many lucky startups get the investment they want, but many startups walk off the stage empty-handed. Surprisingly, even after getting rejected, some startups’ TV exposure results in whopping sales afterward. Let’s take a look at 15 rejected Shark Tank pitches that went on to make millions.
1 Chef Big Shake: a shrimp burger invented by a father for his daughter.
The story of Chef Big Shake company started when the 10-year-old daughter of the founder, Shawn Dawis, came home from school declaring that she won’t eat meat anymore. That’s when he started making seafood burgers and later started selling them in grocery stores and restaurants.
On March 20, 2011, Dawis appeared on Shark Tank with his idea of shrimp burgers. He pitched his idea for a $200,000 investment in exchange for a 25% equity stake. However, the sharks were not confident about the product and rejected his pitch. Some other investors watching the show contacted Dawis and offered $500,000. Within a year, Chef Big Shake sales grew from $30,000 to $5 million. Today, Chef Big Shake has started franchising. (source)
2 Copa Di Vino: a wine business selling pre-packaged wine in the glass.
The unique idea of prepackaged wine by the glass was thought of by Copa Di Vino founder, James Martin, when he was on a trip to France. He realized it was an easy way to drink wine and an untapped business idea that could do great in the US. He appeared on the second season of Shark Tank looking for a $600,000 investment in exchange for 30% equity. He didn’t sell the deal, but he grabbed the attention of potential investors. He earned exposure from the Shark Tank, which resulted in increased sales. Today, Copa Di Vino’s net worth is over $70 million. (source)
3 Coffee Meets Bagel: a dating site that offers people discounts on food when they decide to meet their dating match.
Coffee Meets Bagel is a dating site with an attractive twist. People can find their suitable match on this dating site, and they get a food discount when they decide to go out on a date with their dating match.
The app was launched on 15 April 2012 by three sisters Arum, Dawoon, and Soo Kang. Aiming to expand their business, these sisters appeared on Shark Tank in 2015. They asked for a $500,000 investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake. The sharks were so impressed that one of the sharks, Mark Cuban, even offered them $30 million in exchange for the entire company. The Kang sisters, however, walked away from the offer. After getting wide exposure from the show, they received $23.2 million in funding. Today their app is operating globally. (source)
4 MealEnders: a weight loss product that curbs the craving to keep eating.
The most important mantra to reduce your waistline is to stop yourself from eating. Mark Bernstein realized this and decided to make a product that would work on the mind and mouth to curb food cravings. With the help of a leading food development firm, he invented MealEnders. It was a weight-loss lozenge that works in two ways. The outer layer of the product is sweet, which will signal the brain to stop eating. This means the meal is over. The inner layer stops the urge to keep eating.
Bernstein appeared with his game-changing product on Shark Tank. He asked for a $350,000 investment in return for 8% equity. Unfortunately, he left the show without any deal but ended up selling $400,000 worth of products in just three days. Within a year, MealEnders sales increased to over $5 million. (source)
5 Nerdwax: an organic formula to be applied on the pads of your glasses to keep them in place.
Nerdwax is a company that sells an organic and skin-friendly formula to be applied on the pads of your glasses to keep them in place. The product is great for people who get annoyed by their glasses always sliding down off their noses. The company was founded by Don Hejny along with his wife. The couple appeared on Shark Tank to pitch their product. Two sharks offered them two deals, which they declined and walked off the stage. When the episode was aired, their $10 tube of Nerdwax became famous, and they cleared $150,000 sales in less than 72 hours. (source)
6 Rocketbook: a digital notebook that can be reset by putting it in the microwave.
Jake Epstein and Joe Lemay arrived on Shark Tank with a revolutionary idea in their hands. They came with their product, Rocketbook, which sells smart paper and pen notebooks. It lets users access their notes on the Internet. They had two price ranges in their notebooks. First was Rocketbook Everlast ($34). If you write anything in the notebook using a pen from the Pilot Frixion line, then it can be erased using a damp cloth.
The second price range was Rocketbook Wave ($27), which erases notes when being placed in a microwave. However, the sharks didn’t see any business opportunity with the product that can be reusable. Later after airing the episode, Rocketbook reported earnings over $10 million and became Amazon’s bestseller in November 2016. (source)
7 BedJet: a device made to alleviate the discomfort of bed getting too cold or too hot.
The former NASA engineer and founder of BedJet, Mark Aramli, developed a device that can manage the cooling and heating of your bed. It is a climate-comfort system made for beds to alleviate the discomfort of a bed getting too cold or too hot. In 2015, Aramli appeared on Shark Tank seeking $250,000 in exchange for a 10% equity stake.
All the five sharks turned down the offer and told him that his product is doomed to failure. However, BedJet caught the interest of potential buyers and made $3 million in the first 18 months on the market. By 2020, the company sold over 100,000 units and launched additional products. (source)
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