12 million-dollar businesses that turned down ‘Shark Tank’ deals

On ABC’s “Shark Tank,” entrepreneurs present their golden idea to a panel of business-savvy individuals. The entrepreneurs’ goal is to get at least one of the “sharks” to fund them, and the shark’s goal is to find a potentially good investment and own a piece of the business.

Click through to see the “Shark Tank” businesses that became wildly successful — and what you can do to become successful yourself.

Must successful businesses that turned down 'Shark Tank' deals
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Must successful businesses that turned down 'Shark Tank' deals

Voyage-Air Guitar

Jeff Cohen appeared on the first season of “Shark Tank,” asking for $500,000 for 5 percent of Voyage-Air Guitars, which makes guitars that fold in half for easier transportation. The sharks offered $500,000 for a 51 percent stake in the company, which Cohen declined.

Cohen returned for a taping in season three, which eventually led to a finalized deal in season four. And today, the business is still in play, with a variety of guitars and accessories for sale.

Although they weren’t on “Shark Tank,” keep your eye on these startups in 2018.

First Defense Nasal Screens

Joseph Moore appeared on the second season of “Shark Tank,” seeking $500,000 for 10 percent of his company, First Defense Nasal Screens, which makes nasal air filters. With an $8 million overseas contract in hand, he impressed several sharks with his potential and fielded offers that included a $4 million bid.

Ultimately, Moore decided not to go through with the $4 million offer, but he did accept a smaller deal of $750,000 for a 30 percent stake and a 10 percent perpetual royalty — along with getting season tickets to the Dallas Mavericks.

Turning down the $4 million “Shark Tank” money doesn’t seem to have hurt the company. In 2015, Moore told GOBankingRates that First Defense Nasal Screens was a debt-free, multimillion-dollar company that was still privately owned and had licensing and distribution contracts all over the world.

The company has patents in more than 50 countries worldwide and announced its partnership with an Indian company, Filter Your Life Healthcare, in 2017.

Coffee Meets Bagel

Sisters Arum, Dawoon and Soo Kang, who founded dating network Coffee Meets Bagel, appeared on season six of “Shark Tank” and requested $500,000 for a 5 percent equity stake.

Cuban offered $30 million to buy the whole company outright — the biggest offer in the show’s history at the time. The Kang sisters were not looking to part with the business, and they declined.

Coffee Meets Bagel still got its needed funding. In February 2016, the sisters raised $7.8 million, and in 2018, the sisters raised $12 million for international expansion and live events.

The Smart Baker

Husband-and-wife team Stephanie and Daniel Rensing appeared on season three of “Shark Tank,” selling bakeware that makes cooking simpler and easier. Barbara Corcoran was impressed by their company and offered $75,000 for a 40 percent equity stake and a 5 percent royalty, which the Rensings accepted but later declined.

The company’s revenue grew to $600,000 in the year after the 2012 episode aired and was close to $1 million in February 2015, according to the Associated Press.


CoatChex, the brainchild of Derek Pacque, is a ticketless coat check system that Pacque pitched in season four. Cuban was impressed enough by CoatChex to offer $200,000. But Cuban also wanted a 33 percent equity stake in the company, which Pacque ultimately declined.

Pacque found success even without the funding. His CoatChex system has since been used at major events like the Super Bowl, New York Fashion Week and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, according to Business Insider.

More recently, Pacque has incorporated Chexology to add additional services into the CoatChex family, including bag checking and rentals. Chexology closed a $1.2 million seed funding round in 2015.

Proof Eyewear

Idaho brothers Taylor, Brooks and Tanner Dame pitched their hand-crafted, wood-framed eyewear to the sharks in season four. The “Shark Tank” investors were impressed enough by Proof Eyewear to bite: The best offer was $150,000 for a 25 percent equity stake with no royalties.

The Dame brothers had originally hoped to only give up a 10 percent stake for the $150,000, and they countered with $200,000 for 20 percent, a deal that didn’t sit well with the sharks.

Since their appearance on the show, the brothers forged ahead without shark funding. They recently opened a Proof flagship store in downtown Boise, Idaho, and their products are sold in more than 20 countries worldwide.

Find Out: What It’s Really Like to Be an Entrepreneur

Echo Valley Meats

Dave Alwan and his specialty meats company, Echo Valley Meats, doesn’t exactly fit in with these other stories because although he didn’t turn down a “Shark Tank” deal, he was turned down by the sharks — but he still managed to find success without them.

He first appeared in season four of “Shark Tank,” where he didn’t receive an offer, but he did take the sharks’ advice on strategy.

In the week after his appearance, the company made seven figures, and his sales went from $190,000 to $1.4 million. Alwan eventually returned to pitch his business in season six and scored a deal with Mark Cuban.

Today, the business continues to thrive, engaging in successful partnerships with companies such as Neiman Marcus.

Eco Nuts

Eco Nuts, a natural detergent company, was on track to make $250,000 in sales when it appeared in season four of “Shark Tank.” The company’s founders, Mona Weiss and Scott Shields, asked for $175,000 for a 15 percent equity stake.

Robert Herjavec offered that amount for a 50 percent stake, but the couple was unwilling to part with that much of their company and turned it down.

Despite not getting a deal from “Shark Tank,” the company still benefited from the exposure. Since Eco Nuts’ appearance on the show, it has grown to $1 million in sales annually, according to Business Insider.

Get Started: 5 Easy Ways to Think More Like an Entrepreneur

Ring Video Doorbell

In “Shark Tank” season five, Jamie Siminoff pitched DoorBot, a new take on the doorbell that allows users to see and speak with someone at the door through their smartphones. Siminoff asked for $700,000 for a 10 percent equity stake in his company, but the sharks turned down his offer. Despite not making the deal, the show’s appearance helped revitalize the company and garnered $5 million in sales.

The company has since stopped producing DoorBots in favor of the newer, sleeker Ring Video Doorbell. In 2018, the app was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion.

Find Out: What It Takes to Be a Billionaire


Ben Young, CEO of Sworkit by Nexercise Inc., and Greg Coleman, president and chief operating officer, received an astounding $1.5 million investment offer from Cuban for their popular fitness appSworkit in season seven of “Shark Tank.” Cuban’s investment would have snagged him 10 percent of the business and $1.5 million worth of unsold ad space on the app.

Young and Coleman entered the Tank offering 8 percent of the company for the $1.5 million price point but decided to accept Cuban’s offer. However, the deal ultimately fell apart due to a difference in vision.

Sworkit was voted one of the best fitness and health apps in 2016, and over 25 million people use the app, according to the Sworkit website. Sworkit is available as a paid subscription plan with a 30-day free trial for both Android and iOS users.



In season six, Chris Ruder pitched Spikeball — a two-on-two game that resembles volleyball. Daymond John offered Ruder $500,000 for 20 percent of the company, but the deal ultimately fell apart. John wanted Ruder to allow Marvel Comics to make a Spider-Man Spikeball set, which Ruder had no interest in doing, and the deal was defunct before the episode aired in May 2015.

Apparently, Spikeball didn’t need that deal. Its 2016 revenue landed in the $5 million to $10 million range, according to Inc.


In the most recent season of “Shark Tank,” Kelechi Anyadiegwu pitched her company, Zuvaa, a global online marketplace that features African designs. Anyadiegwu wanted $460,000 in return for a 10 percent stake in the company. Kevin O’Leary stepped up and offered her a $460,000 loan at a 12 percent interest rate in exchange for 10 percent of Zuvaa, which Anyadiegwu decided to decline in order to maintain control of her company.

Click through to keep reading about money-making inventions.


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