Analyzing Shark Tank Success

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The 2% reality of landing a big deal with your business pitch

There really is a show for everything nowadays. The reality series Shark Tank currently corners the entrepreneurial pop culture market; and as far as small business funding options go, the national television platform isn’t too shabby for companies looking to gain some traction. 

The premise of the popular show centers on aspiring entrepreneurs who present their business ideas to a panel of “sharks” (AKA, successful investors) in the hope of securing financing for their companies. Some entrepreneurs who dare to venture into the shark-infested tank emerge with funding from incredibly experienced, shrewd investors, as well as a goal for significant growth. Others, however, are left feeling like a fish out of water and leave with nothing. 

Those who present to the sharks must be prepared for detailed, almost cutthroat questions about their business’s products, services, practices, and revenue. Not to mention, presenters must sell the sharks on why investing in their companies are worth it and what their potential backers stand to gain by doing so. Intimidating? Nerve-wracking? Absolutely. 

Securing offers from one shark is impressive—more than one is uncommon. So if a daring entrepreneur decided to venture into the tank’s uncharted waters, how likely is it that they would come out of it with an above-average deal? Frontier Business crunched the numbers to analyze companies that have received business offers from not only one investor, but three or more. The result: getting the sharks to bite might be more difficult than you think.

We analyzed information from the Shark Tank website as well as a data set compiled by Halle Tecco to find out just how likely it is for a business to make it big on the show.

Data points discovered

Over the course of 10 seasons, Shark Tank has seen pitches from 894 companies. Of those companies, 499 accepted a deal from one or more of the sharks. Below are some interesting facts about the companies that received offers from three or more sharks:

 

Some of the most successful Shark Tank products and companies include Scrub Daddy, Lumio, Wicked Good Cupcakes, Ten Thirty One Productions, Squatty Potty, Groovebook, Bombas Socks, Bubba-Q’s Boneless Ribs, Buggy Beds, Tipsy Elves, Lollacup, and Simple Sugars. 

Though some successful contestants, such as Classroom Jams, landed great deals with plenty of financing, the companies failed to take off after their debut on the show. With those kinds of cases in mind, it’s easier to understand why the sharks are typically so selective about the companies they invest in.

 The fascinating details don’t stop there—check out some more tidbits that came up:

  • 68% of companies with three or more shark deals were led by male entrepreneurs, and 32% by female.
  • Overall, the average deal awarded was $287,619 in financing. Companies that secured three or more shark deals received an average of $390,789. The takeaway: the more deals you land, the more money you’ll (likely) get.
  • On average, companies that made a deal with the sharks gave up 26.84% equity in their company. Those with three or more shark deals gave up 34.82% equity. So even though they received more funding, companies that landed more deals gave more up to the sharks.
  • The two most popular categories for companies with deals from three or more sharks are Fashion/Beauty and Food/Beverage. These are also the most popular categories for all companies that have presented on the show. 
  • Only 22 of the 499 accepted deals were for $1,000,000 or more (roughly 2%).
  • 8 of the 22 companies that landed deals $1,000,000 or more were in the Food/Beverage industry

Contributing factors

Businesses that have appeared on Shark Tank. To begin with, Frontier Business compiled a comprehensive list of businesses that have pitched ideas on the show (894). From there, it was simple to determine how many of those businesses landed deals on the show (499). Other factors determined from the data pulled included male versus female leadership of each company, the average amount of financing awarded and equity received by investors, and most popular business categories. 

Number of companies offered investments by three or more sharks. We determined the number of companies that were offered or accepted three or more deals from the sharks, based off the list of deals accepted by Shark Tank competitors. 19 out of 894 companies that have appeared on the show received or accepted three or more offers, comprising 2.1% of businesses that have appeared on the show. 

Shark deals that landed $1,000,000 or more. We determined the number of companies that secured deals of $1,000,000 or more, based off the list of deals accepted by Shark Tank competitors. 22 out of 894 companies that have appeared on the show received a deal of $1,000,000 or more, comprising 2.46% of businesses that have appeared on the show.

 

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