Is it worth applying to ABC's Shark Tank tv show?


I am trying to raise funds for my patented idea. I looked into applying to ABC's Shark Tank tv show. Does anyone have any experience with the show? I submitted my idea to season 4 casting on Shark Tank Zone. Or should I go to regular angel investors instead of begging money from Mr. know-it-all Kevin O'Leary and smart ass Cuban.

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asked Apr 9 '12 at 02:33
Laura Young
6 points
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3 Answers


Well, if you refer to them as "Mr. know-it-all Kevin O'Leary and smart ass Cuban" I think you've answered your own question. Why would you even consider trying to enter a business relationship with people you don't like? If you're in it just for the money, that's the wrong reason. If someone invests in your company it's like getting married -- you probably want to like the person to whom you're saying "I do".

answered Apr 9 '12 at 03:34
356 points
  • +1 for a straight up honest and complete answer. – Tim 10 years ago
  • With co-founders it can be more like being married, than actually being married. +1 for an awesome answer. A little extra: Most of the deals on Shark Tank don't actually get past the due diligence phase. They might agree on the term sheet on the show, but there's zero commitment of capitol until much later. I look at Shark Tank as a good chance to get a lot of free advertising, more than a chance at capitol. – Bwasson 10 years ago


The Shark Tank is looking for ideas that can be mass produced, created cheaply and don't take a lot of work. They want a good idea they can throw marketing dollars behind or get in a store and make a lot of money.

If your idea falls in that category it could be a good fit. It may be difficult to get the exposure that you need going traditional routes. It's obviously do-able but I bet a lot of great ideas never go anywhere since it's hard to get the money needed or in many times the connections needed to get your product in the right retailers hands.

You will be giving up a large chunk of your business. However, if they can get it made cheap, mass produced, in the right retailers and to the world you'll make plenty of money and it won't be a worry.

Also I think you can go direct to some of the Sharks, like Barbara: It's worth a shot. But you have to be willing to listen to them and show them respect. You can't be partners with someone you don't trust, or can't listen to. And - well they are the million and billionaires, I would keep an open ear.

answered Apr 9 '12 at 09:28
Ryan Doom
5,472 points


I'm basing my comments on Dragon's Den, which is the UK adaptation of a Japanese show. The UK Dragon's Den is the basis for other national Dragon's Den shows, and for Shark Tank.

The show is doing three things.

First and foremost, it's entertaining its audience. So getting picked is at least as much about the producers thinking what will make good viewing as about the specifics of the idea, product or business you're picthing.

Next, it is a genuine opportunity for the investors to find investment opportunities. This means that you have some of the same dynamics of an angel pitch, with the added dimension that they and you benefit from the publicity in the show. Which also implies the third factor.

Finally, it's a chance for you to get free national publicity. That's a double-edged sword: it could open doors or it could cause them to slam in your face.

Not all the deals agreed on screen go through. (Again, I'm basing this on the UK show - I expect it's the same.) There's still a due diligence process to go through, and occasionally the inventors decide to back out.

If you want that - and there have been notable successes on all three fronts - then give it a try. It's a long shot to get featured, but entrepreneurs sometimes just have to take the odds on offer.

Then if you decide to go for it, you should probably revise your attitude towards the investors. They're experienced, professional and successful, and if you can't find it in yourself to respect that, this is not going to be a good route to try.

answered Apr 9 '12 at 19:38
Jeremy Parsons
5,197 points

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