"Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran is feeling a bit silly about not investing in Ring Doorbell when she had the chance. But sharks aren't always right. Over the course of 12 seasons, even the self-made millionaire "Shark Tank" investors will admit they've let a few solid, or even amazing, investment opportunities slip away.
Among the pitches investors passed by: Xero Shoes, the "barefoot shoemaker" that did $21 million in sales in 2018, and Chef Big Shake, a specialty business offering pescatarian-friendly alternative burger options. Its founders are now bringing in more than $6 million in sales a year. And, of course, Ring, which is now worth over $1 billion. Barbara Corcoran recently posted video of herself looking like a clown on Instagram with the note, "Regretting the millions I lost by not investing in Ring on 'Shark Tank.'"
Based on a review of annual revenue and sales, and a compilation of moments from researchers at Money.co.uk Investments, here are the top four most profitable businesses the Sharks missed.
Pitched: 10% equity stake for $700,000
Sharks offered: $700,000 loan for profit from 10% of all sales until the loan was paid off, 7% royalty on all future sales, plus 5% of the company's equity
Worth now: Over $1 billion
Originally called "DoorBot," this doorbell with a built-in video camera that streams to the homeowner's phone and smart devices didn't land a deal when Jamie Siminoff pitched it on the show in 2013. Since then Richard Branson has put his own funding into the business, and it was purchased by Amazon for more than $1 billion in 2018.
Pitched: 5% equity stake for $500,000
Sharks offered: $30 million for the entire company
Worth now: About $150 million
This dating website and app uses your Facebook friends to find one romantic match for you each day. If both people decide to go on a date, the service provides drink and food vouchers to certain places.
Sisters Arum, Dawoon, and Soo Kang turned down investors' offers on the show in 2015 in order to keep the businesses within their family. It's now worth roughly $150 million.
Pitched: $500,000 for 10% of the company
Sharks offered: $500,000 for 35% of the company
Worth now: Did $54 million in revenue last year
Joel Clark declined the Sharks' offers when he couldn't find the right investor match for his innovative pancake mix company in 2013. Sales surged when he left the show and introduced new products to the brand such as protein-filled power cakes, frozen waffles, and muffin mixes.
You can find Kodiak Cakes in retailers like Whole Foods, Target, and Costco.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
Pitched: $258,000 for a 3% stake
Sharks offered: No offer
Worth now: $43 million in sales over 3 years
This brand delivers fresh bouquets of flowers directly to customers using a farm-to-table delivery service. Founder John Tabis didn't get an offer when he pitched the idea on "Shark Tank" in 2014. Over the next few years and with some changes to the business model (including adding overnight shipping), the company went on to raise $24 million from other investors, including Robert Herjavec, after he changed his mind.
The Covid pandemic has forced millions of Americans out of work and slashed pay for many more. But people are finding creative solutions: Almost three-quarters of adults, 70%, are thinking about adding a second source of income, per a recent survey from the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and 27% were more likely to start their own business.
If you have an idea for a business or are ready to take your side hustle to the next level, don't be discouraged if others aren't on board at first, says Corcoran. The iconic investor has said she also wishes she hadn't missed out on another big investment opportunity on the show in 2009, when she passed on a pitch for designer surgical masks.
Video by Stephen Parkhurst
"Entrepreneurs are told every day of the week that they're not ready," she told Grow. "They shouldn't fall for it."
Be sure you take the proper financial steps to get your idea off the ground without falling into debt, but don't be afraid to make mistakes, she adds. "It's never too early to start a business, and many people out-think it and never get out of the gate. You don't have to get it right; you just have to get it going."
More from Grow:
- Millennial in Debt co-founder who paid off over $100,000: The worst money advice I ever got
- Barbara Corcoran: Most entrepreneurs 'never get out of the gate.' Here are her 3 tips to build a successful business
- 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran recalls her 'worst missed investment': 'If only I knew then what I know now!'