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3 Times The Shark Tank 'Sharks' Got it Wrong And These Startups Are Now Better Off Because Of It

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3 Times The Shark Tank 'Sharks' Got it Wrong And These Startups Are Now Better Off Because Of It

On the hit television show, Shark Tank, entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of would-be investors (the sharks), who will provide capital and business acumen in exchange for equity in the entrepreneur’s company. The show gets its name from the fact that the “sharks” are all very successful investors who typically demand a hefty chunk of the equity whenever they choose to invest.

This is, after all, what a shark would do; try to gain as much equity for the least amount of investment capital possible.

However, even with all of their business sense and past success, sometimes the sharks get it wrong. Whether it’s a case of not believing in the business opportunity presented to them or the entrepreneur being unwilling to sell a majority stake in their business, quite a few entrepreneurs “failed” on shark tank and still went on to achieve great success.

Here are three examples of companies that succeeded without getting investment from the sharks.

DoorBot

Almost everyone is familiar with the Ring doorbell/alarm system that uses a small door-mounted camera to show you who is at your door via a mobile phone app. It’s an idea that’s absolutely genius in its simplicity; it basically makes the closed-circuit video monitors that were once strictly the domain of the very wealthy available to everyone. Sounds like a no-brainer, right? Well, the sharks didn’t see it that way.

When Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff appeared on Shark Tank, his product was known as “DoorBot” and he was seeking $7,000,000 in capital. One by one the sharks passed, leaving Siminoff with his dream in tatters. He was basically out of capital, but also so heavily invested in DoorBot that he had no choice but to move forward.

His persistence paid off a few years later when Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ: AMZN) bought a large share of the company, which is now worth over a billion dollars. Talk about a facepalm moment for the sharks! Ring wasn’t their first big miss, and it wasn’t the last.

Rule Breaker

Rule Breaker snacks was founded when its CEO, Nancy Kalish (who is also a certified health coach and former healthy food writer) wanted to create a tasty, gluten-free snack that would satisfy cravings without being a source of sugary, empty calories. So, after creating a brownie recipe from chickpeas that all her friends loved, she began looking for investors.

Like Siminoff, she appeared on Shark Tank and pitched her idea. The sharks loved the product and even “Mr. Wonderful” Kevin O’Leary was in disbelief at how great it tasted.

However, Kalish wasn’t able to strike a deal. For many people, that would have been the end. Thankfully she persisted, and in January 2021, Groupo Bimbo, the world’s largest commercial baker, made a sizable investment in Rule Breaker.

Today, Rule Breaker snacks are available in over 3,500 outlets including Kroger Co (NYSE: KR) and Albertsons Companies Inc’s (NYSE: ACI) Jewel. They are also available for direct orders through Amazon, where they are frequently a "Top Choice" in vegan and gluten-free cookies and allergen-free cookies.

All told, Rule Breaker is on track to do 400% more revenue this year than it did in the 12 months before its “failed” appearance on Shark Tank.

See also: Rule Breaker Snacks Launches Investment Crowdfunding Campaign

The Bouqs Co

Believe it or not, there are plenty more such stories. The Bouqs Co. is a flower delivery service that has exploded since its failed appearance on Shark Tank. Although the sharks initially rejected the idea, shark Robert Herjavec decided to use The Bouqs Co. to provide flowers for his wedding.

Ironically, Herjavec was so impressed with the beauty and quality of the company’s floral arrangements, he ended up becoming an investor anyway. Since then, The Bouqs Co. has raised nearly $100,000,000 in investor capital and is one of the leading flower delivery services in the country.

What all of this means for aspiring entrepreneurs is there is more than one way to skin a cat. There can be no success without failure and sometimes, “losing” on a big platform like Shark Tank can be the beginning of a company’s success, not the end.

So, if you have a great idea or product that you believe in, but can’t get funding or have been turned down in your initial efforts to grow the business, take heart in the fact that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Just keep moving forward because it only takes one handshake to change your life. But as the old saying goes, “You can’t win the raffle if you don’t buy a ticket”. Continue to bet on yourself and believe in your vision. You could be closer to your dreams than you think.

Photo: Courtesy of Shark Tank / ABC

 

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Posted-In: Alternative investments Groupo Bimbo Jamie Siminoff Kevin O'Leary Nancy Kalish RingSuccess Stories Startups