Shark Tank Is Coming To Australia - Here's The Secret Behind The Show's Biggest Success Stories

Mark Cuban, Shark Tank shark. Picture: ABC America
Picture: Channel Ten

Channel Ten has announced it will pick up the hit US ABC pitch series Shark Tank.

Shark Tank is the US version of the UK show Dragons’ Den, which was a short-lived Australian experiment on the Seven Network in 2006 hosted by Andrew O’Keefe.

Or, if you prefer, ABC’s The New Inventors with real cash opportunities instead of a wonky trophy.

Mumbrella reports applicants for the Australian version of Shark Tank are being asked if they had ever appeared on Dragons’ Den.

Ten’s statement says Shark Tank sharks will be “our best and brightest entrepreneurial multi-millionaires”, but refuses to name them just yet, while contestants are “Australian innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs from all walks of life”.

“We will announce the Sharks soon. Like the inventors, the Sharks will bring their passion, enthusiasm and drive – plus their cash – to Shark Tank, along with their years of experience and success and a powerful desire to help find the next great Australian success story.”

In the US, the pitch show has proven itself as the ultimate publicity tool for entrepreneurs, with just an appearance – successful or not – equating to millions of dollars in free marketing exposure.

There are instances of apps hitting the top of App Store charts, netting contestants hundreds of thousands of dollars within hours.

Getting a spot on the show is not simple though. US contestants have told Business Insider that there’s an “enormous handwritten application” detailing your business idea, operations and plans for growth.

Keep in mind if Shark Tank gets a full run in Australia of 26 weeks, and follows the US format, just 104 pitches from thousands of entries will make it through to the actual show.

One investor said that if chosen, you can expect to have to put between 6-12 weeks of effort in applying and filming a segment.

The Worst Pitch

US Shark Tank shark Daymond John rates a pitch for jet-propelled electric body board Kymera as the worst he’s seen.

Jason Woods’ product was actually pretty good, good enough to be awarded a Popular Science Invention of the Year. But billionaire Mark Cuban hated Woods’ business plan, or to be precise, complete lack of one, noting among other things:

  • Kymera has not been granted a patent.
  • The mould needed to make Kymera boards costs $US40,000 to $US50,000.
  • Woods has never sold a single Kymera board.
  • Woods gave his company a $US1 million valuation despite having zero sales.
  • Woods has put $US130,000 of his own money into the company in the last 10 years.

Result – Woods was sent packing.

The Best Pitch

Entrepreneur Melissa Carbone walked into the room trailed by a growling zombie, then asked for a $US2 million investment for a 10% stake.

Unlike Woods, Carbone, whose company specialised in creating and producing live horror attractions, had some figures under her belt.

One attraction, Los Angeles Haunted Hayride, turned over $1.8 million just in October, pulling a $600,000 profit in 17 sellout days.

John immediately offered $2 million for 40%, Carbone countered with 20% and Cuban jumped on the deal.

Shark Tank is expected to air in Australia next year. You can apply to be a contestant here, but before you do, here’s three more tips on how to be a successful sharkpreneur.

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