Over the past five seasons of the hit ABC reality show “Shark Tank,” countless entrepreneurs have pitched their products to some of the world’s most influential investors.
Not only do contestants have a shot to convince billionaire investor Mark Cuban or real-estate mogul Barbara Corcoran to fork over a few hundred grand, but they do so in front of a national audience of about seven million viewers.
Some aspiring entrepreneurs have risen to the challenge and shown how to give a pitch that’s so concise and effective that the investors feel like they’d be missing out on some major cash if they didn’t gain a stake in the company.
In anticipation of the sixth season’s two-hour premiere on Friday, Sept. 26, and with the help of Andrew Figgins, a Chicago-based entrepreneur and owner of the fan site InTheSharkTank.com, we look back at some of the greatest pitches we’ve seen so far on “Shark Tank.”
Vivian Giang contributed to this article.
In the fifth season, Yim galvanizes all five Sharks around Breathometer, a startup that makes a breathalyzer that plugs into your smartphone. He already has $US1 million in venture backing, $US100,000 in sales the previous month, and readily answers the Sharks' questions. He initially asks the Sharks for $US250,000 for a 10% equity stake in his business.
Yim ends up with all of the episode's investors -- Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec -- in his corner and a whopping $US1 million investment for 30% of his company.
If you place your phone vertically on a solid surface and use the Cycloramic iPhone app, it will vibrate your phone in a circle as it records video.
François boldly tells the Sharks he expects to have one million users after one year and requests $US90,000 for 5% of his company.
All five Sharks are interested and become competitive with each other. Cuban goes so far as to offer $US1 million for a 30% stake in the company. After some more tense competition among the investors, François says he will take a joint deal from Cuban and Greiner, which Cuban reluctantly agrees to.
Cuban proposes half a million for 16.5% equity, which François negotiates down to 15%.
Viewers loved it. Within an hour of the episode's premiere, the $US1.99 app was downloaded 100,000 times, and after a year it reached seven million downloads.
The two Dallas-based entrepreneurs sell a sweet snack that's essentially a cake pop without a stick and comes with a 45-day shelf life. McDonald and Egger ask for $US250,000 in exchange for 10% of their company.
They have answers for every question the judges throw at them. Due to a distribution deal with 7-Eleven, the duo says they brought in $US700,000 in revenue with $US95,000 in profit over the past 90 days.
The five Sharks are all huge fans of the snacks and want to invest. McDonald and Egger eventually decide on Cuban and Corcoran's deal, which had the two in for a joint 25% of the company and an investment of $US250,000.
McDonald and Egger may have wowed the Sharks with their pitch, but they had other issues to deal with. Just one week after the episode aired, McDonald sued Eggers and a third partner, Stewart Hunter. The Sweet Ballz product line no longer exists, and a look at the former business partners' LinkedIn accounts shows they have moved on to different projects.
Carbone runs Ten Thirty One Productions, an LA-based entertainment company that specialises in live horror attractions year-round.
Her request for $US2 million for 10% equity shocks the investors, but they perk up after she says her company brought in $US1.8 million in revenue for the haunted hayride attraction in October, with $US600,000 profit.
Sharks O'Leary, Herjavec, and Greiner aren't assured of sustainable success, but John says he'll give Carbone the $US2 million in return for 40% equity. Carbone counters with $US2 million for 20%. 'Done!' yells Cuban, and they seal the deal, for the biggest investment in the show's five seasons.
PITCH: Michael Tseng presents a microwave-safe, dishwasher-safe vacuum seal food cover to keep leftovers fresh.
Tseng had already sold $US65,000 worth of Plate Toppers on QVC and wanted to scale. He requested $US90,000 for 5% equity.
Cuban tells Business Insider that the full pitch session lasted two and a half hours, making it the longest one he and the Sharks ever went through on the show.
'He knew every answer to every question. But he thought he was smarter than all five of us. Every time he thought he had an advantage one of us would tell him where he was wrong,' Cuban says. But he admired Tseng's tenacity and says he may have been his favourite contestant to spar with.
Tseng's steadfastness made him turn away $US1 million from John because he wasn't willing to hand over 25% of his company. Finally, Greiner got him to make a deal -- but it ultimately fell through.
The Plate Topper benefited from 'Shark Tank' reruns but ended up being a dud. He's back with a new product, Bowl Topper, and tells Shark Tank Blog that in future deals he'll be much more humble and prudent.
In the fourth season, Holzapfel impresses the Sharks with both his humour and serious goal to reinvent belts with Mission Belt Co. His belts without holes tighten by acting like a 'giant zip tie.' At the time, Holzapfel had been in business for just three months and had already made $US39,000.
And for every belt that's sold, $US1 is donated to Kiva Lender Fund, which provides microloans to entrepreneurs mostly in developing countries. He asked for $US50,000 for a 20% stake.
John liked the concept and Holzapfel's sales pitch. He agreed to invest in exchange for 37.5% of the company. It paid off. As of June 2013, the Mission Belt Co. has raked in more than $US1 million in sales, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
The entrepreneurs instantly sold the Sharks in season three on Talbott Teas, a line of designer whole-leaf teas that made Oprah Winfrey's annual list of her 'Favourite Things.' They had been on QVC and were already doing over $US500,000 in annual sales, with a healthy profit margin and the ability to pay themselves. They asked for $US250,000 for a 20% stake.
The entrepreneurs got the cash in exchange for 35% of their business. In 2012, Jamba Juice bought Talbott Teas, and while they have not disclosed the details of the deal, they say they are now millionaires.
In season three, Hopper dramatizes a trip and fall as he enters 'the tank,' a goofy but effective way to demonstrate his innovation, ReadeREST, a simple magnetic eye glass holder that secures your glasses, so you don't lose or break them.
He quickly grabs the attention of Greiner, who counts glasses sales among her largest successes on QVC. Hopper asks for $US150,000 for a 15% stake.
Greiner was keen to make a deal, but for a much larger equity stake than Hopper anticipated -- 65% of his company. Still, fansite owner Figgins says it was smart to take it and that it may be one of the best deals ever made on the show. He confirmed with Greiner that after 'Shark Tank,' ReadeREST brought in $US7.5 million in sales in less than two years.
PITCH: Student entrepreneurs Dallas Robinson and Mike Buonomo pitch their lip balms that spark a chemical reaction when couples kiss.
Robinson and Buonomo's segment on 'Shark Tank' in season three is one of the most memorable pitches from the show. To demonstrate their Kisstixx lip balms, which come in two compatible flavours that create a chemical reaction of flavour and scent when a couple kisses, they convince Sharks Corcoran and O'Leary to smooch.
The entrepreneurs had decided to turn their lip balm class project at Utah Valley University into a real business, and had about $US80,000 in sales in one year and Walgreens on the hook as a potential buyer. They asked the Sharks for $US200,000 for a 20% stake.
Although a higher equity stake than they intended, they agreed to an investment of $US200,000 from Cuban for 40%. It was a smart play. Since Cuban's been on board, Kisstixx is now sold in over 30 countries and worked with Greiner to bring their product to QVC.
When the Lims' pediatrician told them sippie cups can damage babies' teeth, they tried to find a straw cup for their nine-month-old daughter. But they couldn't find one that worked, so they created their own safe, high-quality cup. Lollacup, their valve-free weighted straw cup, allows infants and toddlers to drink from it even when tilted.
The Lims said they had a design patent and $US30,000 in sales in only four months. In the third season, they ask the Sharks for $US100,000 for a 15% stake.
The Sharks were impressed, and the Lims proved flexible in negotiations. They took Cuban and Herjavec's offer of $US100,000 for a 40% stake in the company. After 'Shark Tank,' Lollacup sales skyrocketed to $US300,000, and the couple had to move their sippie cup operations from their home into a facility.
PITCH: Student entrepreneurs Erika Welsh and Keeley Tillotson pitch their delicious Wild Nut Butter.
While living together as students at the University of Oregon, Welsh and Tillotson created flavours of homemade butter when they ran out of peanut butter on a winter day.
Before the 'Shark Tank' episode aired in season three, they were even featured in Oprah Winfrey's O magazine, and Winfrey announced that Pretzel Pizazz was her favourite nut butter flavour. The duo also reached their Kickstarter goal to raise $US10,000.
They ask the Sharks for $US50,000 for a 10% stake.
The duo landed a $US50,000 offer from Corcoran for a 40% stake. However, after the show, the deal fell through and the entrepreneurs changed the company name from Wild Squirrel Nut Butter to Wild Friends Nut Butter on account of a legal issue.
The pitch was still a wild success. The company has enjoyed double-digit sales, and the pair was named on Glamour magazine's list of the Top 10 College Women of 2012.
In the third season, Dumas introduces his keyless entry system, UniKey Technologies, which allows homeowners to ditch their house keys and control their deadbolt locks with an app available for download on a smartphone.
As long as your phone is in range, you can lock and unlock the deadbolt. If your phone is not in range, the deadbolt can still be locked -- just not unlocked. This is useful when you have visitors who leave your house after you.
Dumas tells the Sharks he's working on a licensing structure with Black & Decker and wants to get the product to market at $US149 to $US199. He asks the Sharks for $US500,000 for a 33% equity stake.
The Sharks got into a bidding war and then negotiations with Dumas, who persuaded O'Leary and Cuban to go in for $US500,000 in exchange for 40% of the company, valuing it at $US1.25 million.
After 'Shark Tank,' UniKey made a major deal with Kwikset, the largest residential lock-maker in the US.
The product, CitiKitty, has a series of trays filled with cat litter that are inserted underneath your bathroom's toilet seat. Each following tray has less litter in it, and over time, the litter -- and tray -- disappear. At the end of the training, the cat is able to use the toilet without help.
She has proof of concept: Rescate tells the Sharks in season two that she'd sold 40,000 units on her website and had $US225,000 in sales the year before her pitch.
Harrington loves products that solve problems and have mass market appeal. They negotiated the deal to a 20% stake. After its appearance on 'Shark Tank,' CitiKitty -- which sells for $US24.98 -- brought in $US350,000 in one month.
Rescate returned to 'Shark Tank' in season three to pitch her new business, HoodiePillow, a specialised pillow for travellers.
In the first season, Hall and Thompson present their Pork Barrel BBQ Sauce, which earned them second place at the National BBQ Battle in Washington, D.C. They tell the Sharks they are in the process of getting their products distributed in a major grocery store chain and had $US30,000 hard copy orders in hand.
They hoped $US50,000 for a 10% stake would be the secret sauce.
Corcoran invested for half of the company and joked that the entrepreneurs should dress like pigs to push the products in grocery stores. When they landed a deal with Costco, they happily complied. There's now a Pork Barrel BBQ Restaurant, and the sauces line the shelves of more than 300 supermarkets.
Even before his first-season 'Shark Tank' pitch, Kaufman's dome-like umbrella, called Nubrella, was a hit on the Internet. He'd sold over 3,000 units and had orders from 47 countries.
The hands-free Nubrella straps to the body, can sustain 35 mph winds, and protects users from the wind chill. He asks for $US200,000 for a 25% stake.
The two Sharks thought the product was cool and unique. They agreed to the investment for a 51% stake, so they'd have control of the company.
Later, John was able to set up a meeting with Sharper Image, so Kaufman could present his product to the company. Ultimately, Sharper Image agreed to carry Nubrella.
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.