How to nail a 'Shark Tank' pitch, based on an analysis of almost 400 pitches on the show

Going on ABC’s popular reality show “Shark Tank” means you’ll get to stand in front of a national audience of almost 10 million people to pitch your big idea.

The show has funded and created a number of new businesses, some of which get millions of dollars in sales.

What makes a successful pitch?

Online business broker Digital Exits went through every single pitch in the first five seasons of “Shark Tank,” or 380 in total, to find out the main factors that make a winning deal.

In case you haven't seen 'Shark Tank,' it's a reality show where contestants get to pitch their business idea in front of super successful investors. If you convince them with your idea, they will invest in your business.

But only 48% of the pitches end up in a deal, according to Digital Exits. It also helps to ask for less money, while offering about a quarter of your company. On average, winning pitches sought $184,345 for an equity stake of about 26%.

In most cases, the Sharks won't invest in a company that has no sales. In fact, successful pitches had almost half a million dollars in sales before pitching on Shark Tank.

White males are the most frequent presenters. More than half of them were male presenters, while a whopping 81% of them were white.

The Sharks are clearly more inclined to invest in a product-based business, as 85% of the successful pitches were in this category. Having both a product and a service is a disadvantage -- only 4% of them got funding. The two most popular business categories were food and beverage, and household and kitchen.

Kevin O'Leary, or 'Mr. Wonderful,' often is the most critical shark on the show, but it turns out he's also the most generous shark (alongside Lori Greiner), making an offer 31% of the time. Kevin Harrington, who left the show after the first 3 seasons, had the lowest offer rate at 15%.

To sum it up, the best way to get a Shark Tank deal is to pitch a food and beverage product, have more than $450,000 in sales, and offer $185,000 for 25% in equity.

And who knows? You might get lucky like Eli Crain and his wife Jen, who are now making $2.5 million a year selling their custom bottle opener called Bottle Breacher. They had $500,000 in sales before going on the show.

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