Share on Pinterest
Shark Tank

Image: CNBC

ABC’s show, Shark Tank, has become a entertaining lesson of entrepreneurship and the art of the pitch. If you aren’t familiar with the show, the premise is simple: entrepreneurs approach a room of investors, or “Sharks,” and pitch their businesses in hopes of securing funding in exchange for equity.

Not all businesses that get deals actually do well. Mark Cuban said in an interview, “Of the 71 startups that I’ve invested in through Shark Tank, two have gone out of business, three are so stupid they don’t know they’re out of business, and then probably 50, give or take, are in growth.”

Some companies come into the Tank with plenty of business prowess, but no idea how to even install a WordPress theme or craft a basic marketing strategy. Some have stellar marketing strategies, but no solid concept for a profitable business. The following three businesses failed to come out of the Tank with a deal, and some were even ridiculed in the process. Here’s where they are now:

Bouqs Co

When the Bouqs Co founder John Tabis stepped into the Tank, he wasn’t prepared to face backlash. He had launched a startup that delivered flowers for a flat fee, including shipping. These flowers come directly from countries around the world like Colombia, Ecuador, and California. The company takes a farm-to-table approach to delivery by eliminating the middleman, which leads to significant savings for the end consumer.

However, three years after the show, Robert Herjavec contacted Tabis as he was planning his own wedding. He had been in talks with a floral supplier and was surprised at how much it cost, as floral arrangements often run in the thousands, even for the most basic arrangements. Although Herjavec could certainly afford it, it was at this point that he realized the market for a floral startup like Bouqs, whose wedding package is just $499.

After the episode initially aired, the company was able to raise $6 million in Series A, and then $12 million in Series B. And after Herjavec used the company for his own wedding, he invested an undisclosed sum. Today, the company is worth an estimated $42 million.


Unlike John Tabis, Ring founder Jamie Siminoff did not need the help of a Shark, after all. The company, originally called DoorBot, was marketed as a “caller ID for your front door.” The technology allows users to answer/unlock their doors remotely, which has a variety of use cases: letting children in, house cleaners, etc. Siminoff came in asking for $700,000 in exchange for a 10% equity, valuing the company at $7 million.

Although the Sharks balked at the valuation and sent him away empty-handed, it attracted the attention of other major investors like Richard Branson. The company recently sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. Amazon reportedly wants to incorporate it into Amazon Key, a smart lock and camera systems that allows delivery personnel to step into the house and leave packages.

Lip Bar

It’s no secret that a large amount of cosmetics–especially drug store brands–are laden with harsh chemicals, and are tested on animals. Some of the cosmetic chemicals you should avoid include:

Parabens: These are the most widely used preservatives in cosmetics. Roughly 75% to 90% of makeup products contain parabens. These are so dangerous because they can easily penetrate the skin and interfere with hormone function. Furthermore, parabens have been found in breast tissues, suggesting a link with cancer. In certain European countries, the chemical is illegal.

BHA & BHT: These are synthetic antioxidants used primary in lipsticks and moisturizers. They are also used as food preservatives. Studies have shown that it interferes with hormones, might be a possible carcinogen, and that long-term exposure could cause kidney, thyroid, and liver problems.

Sodium laureth sulfate: This is an ingredient that makes products bubble and foam, and is found in many shampoos, conditioners, and facial cleansers. This might also be a human carcinogen, and can damage the nervous system and stunt human development. Furthermore, because it doesn’t easily degrade, it stays in the environment long after it’s used.

Each of these chemicals play a major role in the cosmetic industry of today. Many consumers aren’t aware of the harsh, acidic products we put on our face and body. Lip Bar founder Melissa Butler created a line of vegan lipsticks that are cruelty-free and contain no harsh chemicals. She hoped that this would fill the gap in the market for sustainably responsible makeup products, but the Sharks felt she would never be able to compete against major cosmetic brands.

Although the company allowed users to create their own colors of lipstick online, Kevin O’Leary felt the startup was in the “clown business.” He added, “The chances that this is a business are practically zero” and that big businesses would crush them like “colorful cockroaches.”

Fortunately, they received some celebrity endorsement from actress Taraji P. Henson, when she wore a lipstick shade at the Oscars in 2018. Since they went on the show, their colors have appeared in nearly 50 Target locations and counting.

Share on Pinterest