What is Shark Tank?
Shark Tank is a reality TV show in which entrepreneurs make their pitch to a panel of experts, called the “sharks,” in the hope of securing funding.
It’s been on television since 2009 and has been shown in over 100 countries.
In each episode, contestants introduce themselves and explain the pitched product or service they are seeking investments for.
The sharks then make offers on whether to invest or not with both cash and other resources (including help) on offer if an agreement can be reached.
The shark Tank Panelist/Judges
The sharks on the panel are named for their various business and investment successes.
In the early series, Kevin O’Leary was known as on Shark Tank for his nickname “Mr. Wonderful.” Along with O’Leary, the sharks include Daymond John and Robert Herjavec, who have their own book on how to secure financing.
Other investors include Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban.
O’Leary is a Canadian-born businessman and investor based in Toronto, Ontario. He’s now worth over $400 million after starting his career as a computer programmer in 1979.
The “Mr. Wonderful” nickname originated from his first job at the Toronto Globe and Mail where he created advertisements for women’s shoes.
John is a serial entrepreneur based in New York focused on fashion, technology, and media. He has founded numerous businesses including FUBU, a clothing brand which took off with urban teenagers at the height of the 1990s hip-hop scene.
Herjavec is another serial entrepreneur based in Toronto credited with building several multi-million dollar businesses from scratch since his early 20s.
Herjavec has been involved in the high-tech industry since the early 1990s and previously worked as an investment analyst for CIBC World Markets. He’s now worth over $200 million.
Greiner is a serial entrepreneur, best known as an inventor, investor and TV personality based in Chicago. She’s best known for her role on the United States reality show Shark Tank .
Cuban is a businessman and investor from Dallas, Texas owning multiple companies including the NBA basketball team Dallas Mavericks. He’s currently worth over $3 billion.
Previously, the sharks included restaurateur Richard Blum and Kevin Harrington. Blum is a California-based investor who’s worked in the IT industry for over 30 years. Harrington is an entrepreneur and former actor based in San Diego, California.
Herjavec replaced Harrington in Season 3. The reason for his departure is unknown, but he remains a member of the Sharks panel via telephone and video calls from Toronto.
O’Leary joined the panel in Season 4, replacing Blum. The reasons behind his departure are also unclear, but he was replaced with Chicago clothing entrepreneur Michelle Robbins in Season 8.
The sharks’ identities are known to the public and many have even appeared on other reality shows. For example, O’Leary was a regular on Canadian reality show Dragons Den in 2001.
However, a select group of people are not allowed to be identified because of the reality show’s contract with ABC for its distribution rights.
Entrepreneurs often seek investment on the show because they need assistance in raising capital or some help with their business plan or product.
In return, they are offered potential investments as well as assistance with their product. While some investors make offers and pass, others offer hefty sums of money for the business and special features that may be offered for an opportunity to investment.
The sharks often try to convince the entrepreneurs to make concessions for the deal. In return, the investors ask for a percentage of the business’s profit.
For example, in Season 4, O’Leary offered a $15,000 investment in exchange for bringing in his connections at Lord & Taylor to carry his perfume and bath products.
To show their confidence in O’Leary and his potential, he was also allowed by ABC to bring along Greiner. The pair returned on three other occasions after being unsuccessful in securing funding.
Although Shark Tank doesn’t focus on the failure, it’s not uncommon for businesses to fall through.
For example, O’Leary’s funding proposal was refused by the majority of sharks because of their concerns that O’Leary was looking for a quick profit without helping the company grow.
However, it’s almost guaranteed that businesses will be funded if they make a deal with at least one of the investors.
Disgruntled entrepreneurs were disappointed by the lack of funding on Shark Tank.