10 Rejected Shark Tank Pitches That Made Millions

We did research where we found that 43% of entrepreneurs managed to secure deals on Shark Tank. Basically, out of 1360 entrepreneurs, only 584 secured deals. The ratio is satisfactory but not good. Sometimes, despite having good sales and margins, entrepreneurs still fail to secure deals for other reasons.

So, what happens to those who are rejected on Shark Tank? Well, not all rejected companies failed. There are entrepreneurs who got rejected by the Sharks but still managed to become successful. They are now making millions that the Sharks didn’t think were worth investing in. Isn’t it amazing? 

For example, a doorbell camera company Doorbot (now Ring) was rejected on Shark Tank. It was later bought by Amazon for a steep price of $1 billion. Stories like these show that a “no” from the Sharks doesn’t mean the end of the road. They persisted and managed to become a success story. In this article, we take a look at the top ten rejections on Shark Tank that ended up making the founders millions of dollars.

10 Successful Shark Tank Rejects That Made Millions

Coffee Meets Bagel 

coffee meets bagel  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

The Kang sisters appeared on The Shark Tank asking for $500,000 for a 5% equity in their business, Coffee Meets Bagel. Mark Cuban made an offer to purchase the entire company for $30 million, the largest offer in Shark Tank history. The sisters rejected the offer and left Shark Tank without any deal. 

After their appearance on the Shark Tank, their business continued to grow. They secured two funds to grow their company. The first one happened in February 2015. The company announced a $7.8 million Series A financing round led by DCM Ventures. The next round happened in 2018. The company raised $12 million in a Series B funding round led by Atami Capital. 

As of 2024, Coffee Meets Bagel’s net worth is estimated to be over $150 million, and its annual revenue is estimated at $36 million. The company now has millions of users globally, with a large user base in Asia. The Kang sisters turned a No into a strong Yes, on their terms. Just because you didn’t get a deal on Shark Tank, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the road. Sometimes, it’s the beginning of something greater.

Ring (Doorbot) 

ring doorbot  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Jamie Siminoff appeared on Shark Tank’s Season 5 Episode 9 to pitch his WiFi-enabled video doorbell. He was seeking $700,000 for 10% equity in the business. Even though the product was innovative and new, the Sharks didn’t bite. Only Kevin O’Leary made the offer, but Jamie declined.

After the Shark Tank episode aired, the sales took off. Within a year, Jamie was making $3 million in revenue. Siminoff rebranded the company as Ring in 2014, and the company continued to grow. He raised over $200 million in investments from major players like Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, and Goldman Sachs. In 2018, Amazon acquired Ring for a staggering $1 billion.  Today, Ring offers a suite of home security products and employs over 1,300 people.

Jamie faced numerous criticisms before and after Shark Tank. But, his persistence and resilience paid off. His story serves as a prime example for any entrepreneur showcasing the power of innovation, struggle, and coming out on top. Jamie came out on top when his back was against the wall and proved everyone wrong. 

CBS Foods (Chef Big Shake)

cbs foods chef big shake  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Shawn “Chef Big Shake” Davis appeared on Shark Tank in 2011. He wanted $200,000 for 25% of his shrimp burger company, CBS Foods. The sharks enjoyed his food but they didn’t think investing in the company would be a wise decision. Mainly because shrimp is an expensive item, and the cost of maintaining the business would be higher.

After the show, some angel investors saw potential in his business. They offered him $500,000 for a percentage of equity in the company. The terms offered were better than what he would’ve gotten on Shark Tank. Before the deal, he was making a revenue of $30,000. In just one year, that number jumped to $5 million. By 2013, you could find their products in 2,500 stores.

On top of that, Davis and his wife opened a restaurant chain called Big Shake’s Hot Chicken and Fish. It also grew in revenue, and it ended up becoming a franchise. Davis showed that if you work hard and believe in your product, you can make it big in any business. His journey proves that sometimes, the best opportunities come after a setback.

Kodiak Cakes

kodiak cakes  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Kodiak Cakes was started in 1982 by Penny Clark, and later her son Joel Clark took over the business. In 2014, they appeared on the Shark Tank wanting $500,000 for a 10% equity in the business. The Sharks were skeptical of the evaluation by the founders. They also had concerns about them competing with the other big brands. The offers they received were of a higher equity in the company, to which they declined.

In the six weeks after the episode aired, Kodiak Cakes crossed $1 million in revenue. The brand also saw an increase in popularity soon. It also became the #1 selling protein pancake mix at Target. It also outperformed brands like Aunt Jemima and Bisquick. In 2016, Kodiak Cakes received a minority investment from Sunrise Strategic Partners. This investment helped the company’s revenue from $15 million to over $200 million.

Kodiak Cakes didn’t secure a deal on Shark Tank, but it proved to be a major turning point for the company. They introduced more innovation in their products and made strategic partnerships. The founders also utilized modern marketing techniques to transform a small family business into a highly successful multi-million dollar brand.

The Bouqs Company

the bouqs company  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

The Bouqs Company came on Shark Tank in 2014. John asked for a $258,000 investment from the Sharks in exchange for 3% equity in the business. They didn’t get a deal in the Tank because the equity was too small for Robert and Mark. Barbara didn’t like the name and Kevin O’Leary didn’t like the six-day shipping schedule it had. 

After their appearance on the Shark Tank, the company was able to secure $1 million in seed funding. To this date, they’ve secured $88 million worth of investment. The company has also increased its employee count to 106, according to the latest numbers. The customers are enjoying their products, as their revenues have soared to $16 million per year. 

Their story is a prime example of the potential that startups have. Just because someone else doesn’t believe in your product, as long as you believe in it, that’s the most important thing. They managed to carve out their place in the highly competitive floral market without getting a deal with the Sharks.

BedJet

bedjet  rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Mark Aramli appeared on the show seeking $250,000 for a 10% equity in his business, BedJet. It allowed users to precisely control the temperature of their bed. There were many reasons why The Sharks didn’t like the product. First, it was the lack of sales and production experience with the founder. Then, they had pricing concerns. It only cost them $98 to make, while the retail was at $499. They also had doubts regarding the market demand for this product.

Despite The Sharks not investing in BedJet, it went on to become a highly successful product. After the show was aired, Mark self-funded the project and raised $1 million. The company is now the global market leader for temperature comfort systems in beds. As of our latest research, the company is making $5.2 million in revenue. 

The Sharks didn’t believe in the product, and it was doomed to fail. But, Mark’s determination and grit to make the product work and sell to mass consumers outweighed any cons in front of him. The company continues to grow and innovate, positioning itself as a leader in the sleep tech space.

Voyage Air Guitars

voyage air guitars rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Jeff Cohen along with his son Josh Cohen came on the first season of Shark Tank. They introduced their own innovative folding guitars that they manufacture. While on the show, they turned down a $1 million deal from Mr. Wonderful, who was impressed by the product the duo introduced, but disagreed with the terms.

After the show aired, their new innovation was seen by many retailers. They secured deals with Fender, a major retailer, which helped boost their visibility and sales even more. The father-son company has since grown to sell millions of dollars worth of guitars. It has placed itself as a leader in the market for portable musical instruments.  They’re still in business and are making more than $1 million in revenue each year. 

Jeff didn’t agree to Kevin’s terms and left without a deal. He believed in his product and with determination he grew the company. He also improved the product line and committed to his vision. He’s an example to follow that even if you don’t get what you want, you shouldn’t be deterred from your original plan. 

Slawsa

slawsa rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Slawa was a condiment company that focused on making a unique blend of coleslaw, mustard, and salsa. Julie came on Shark Tank seeking a $150,000 investment for a 15% equity in the business. By the time she appeared on the show, the company was already making $500,000 in sales that year. But, due to the episode airing in the winter, and the condiment being more summer-focused, the Sharks didn’t invest.

Julie had extensive marketing experience because of her background in NASCAR. After the show aired, she worked hard to get the condiment in 8,000 stores, including Lowie’s. The revenue reached $5 million because of the hard work and effort put in by Julie with her marketing skills.

Once you know you have a winning product at hand, you go all in, just like Julie. She knew if she focused on the right marketing at the right time, her business was going to grow. If there’s one advice I can give you, it’s to know your business inside and out. Julie wasn’t just passionate about her product, she also understood the business side too. This helped her make smart decisions. 

CoatChex (now Chexology)

coatchex chexology rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

Derek Pacqué was a college student at the time who came up with the idea for CoatChex. It was a company that provided digital, ticketless coat check service for bars, nightclubs, and other venues. He came on the Shark Tank asking for $200,000 for a 10% stake in the business. Others Shark didn’t want to invest because it was a new product, and it was pre-revenue. Mark Cuban made the offer for a higher equity, but Derek declined.

After Shark Tank, the company raised $1.2 million in seed funding. They also expanded the company to new product lines and also changed their name to Chexology. This was in line to better reflect the core model of what the business was about. As of today, the company has reported an annual revenue of $7 million. Their high-profile clients include the Museum of Modern Art, Live Nation, and American Express.

The lesson we can learn from Derek is to trust your gut. Even though Mark’s offer was a reasonable one, he still didn’t want to give up more equity. He didn’t give up and kept on moving forward with his idea and found new investors. He was also open to change, like rebranding the company and incorporating more products at his company’s disposal. A “No” from others didn’t let Derek stop him from achieving his dream goals with the company.

Copa Di Vino

copa di vino rejected shark tank pitches that made millions

James Martin founded the company Copa Di Vino in 2009. It offers premium wine served in single-serve recyclable plastic containers. He came on the Shark Tank not once, but twice. The first time he came on the show, he asked for $600,000 in exchange for 20% equity in the company. And the second time, he came asking for $300,000 in exchange for 5% equity in the business. Both of those times Sharks didn’t like the valuation of the company. They were only interested in technology. Despite multiple back-and-forth discussions, he left the tank without a deal.

Copa Di Vino saw massive success after appearing on the show twice. They were quickly found in major retailers like 7-Eleven, Walmart, and Kroger. A few years later they were bought by Splash Beverage Group for $5.9 million. This allowed the brand to grow at a rapid rate and was found in hotels and restaurants. Today, the net worth of Copa Di Vino is $70 million. 

Copa Di Vino is the prime example of perseverance and sticking to your guts. The founder had the confidence to build a strong brand and a business model, even in the face of rejection. When you know you have a winning product, you don’t let another person dictate the direction you should go.

Conclusion

These ten Shark Tank stories show us that getting a rejection isn’t and shouldn’t be the end of the road. Rather, it was the beginning of their success. From Coffee Meets Bagel to Copa Di Vino, these businesses prove that if you believe in your idea and put the work in, you’ll get the reward. 

The key takeaways from these stories are:

  1. Trust your gut and don’t give up on your vision.
  2. Be open to change and adapt your business as needed.
  3. Keep pushing forward, even when you’re faced with rejection.
  4. Use setbacks as motivation to work harder and prove your doubters wrong.
  5. Sometimes, the best opportunities come after a “no.”

Their stories serve as the foundation for every entrepreneur out there. Just because someone else says No, doesn’t mean you should stop. Sometimes the most successful businesses are the ones that swim against the current.

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