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The 18 best Shark Tank success stories

These entrepreneurs bet their future on a TV reality show ... and won big.
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1 of 37 ABC/Sony Pictures Television

Jump into the Tank

I have an admission to make: I'm a huge Shark Tank fan. The show is entertaining, sure, but it's also quite instructional for those of us in the business world ourselves. It's about good (profitable!) ideas, planning, financials, innovation, and execution.

The companies in this gallery all know what it takes to succeed -- not only did they make a deal, they also thrived as a result of signing one. Some were included because of massive sales growth, others because they made a windfall in royalties for their Shark. And in yet another case, a smart entrepreneur landed a multi-million-dollar buyout offer from a tech giant shortly after appearing on the show.

Can your business learn something from these great Shark Tank success stories?

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2 of 37 QVC

Scrub Daddy

Scrub Daddy is the biggest success story in Shark Tank history. Period.

When inventor Aaron Krause showed up to the Tank to demonstrate his revolutionary Scrub Daddy sponge concept -- the material is stiff in cold water, but soft when warm -- he started a major bidding war between Lori Greiner and Daymond John. Greiner ultimately closed the deal by offering $25,000 over John's maximum bid and promising to get the product on QVC as soon as possible.

Initial Ask: $100,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $200,000 for 20% equity, closed with Lori Greiner

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3 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Spongeworthy

The company has experienced some growing pains along the way -- the product became so popular so quickly, that Scrub Daddy contracted to build a new multi-million-dollar manufacturing facility in Germany.

Since first appearing on Shark Tank in 2012, well over $75 million worth of Scrub Daddy, Big Daddy, and Lemon Scented Scrub Daddy sponges have been sold in myriad stores nationwide. New Scrub Mommy, Scrub Daddy FlexTexture, Scrub Daisy, and Mop Daddy products, meanwhile, are expected later this year.

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4 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Squatty Potty

Squatty Potty CEO Bobby Edwards and his mother, Judy Edwards, have a message for you: You're going to the bathroom wrong!

QVC maven Lori Grenier saw big potential in the Edwards' Squatty Potty, a toilet stool accessory that promotes good colon health and helps relieves constipation. Grenier beat back competition from Kevin O'Leary to secure a 10% stake in the company.

Initial Ask: $350,000 for 5% equity

Final Deal: $350,000 for 10% equity, closed with Lori Greiner

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5 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

The No. 1 Tank investment in No. 2

The deal has been a home run for all involved. The Edwards sold $1 million worth of Squatty Potties in the first two days after their TV appearance. In three months, that number rose to a mind-blowing $12.3 million, buoyed in part by placement in Bed, Bath and Beyond.

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6 of 37 Sony Pictures Televison

TenThirtyOne Productions

Melissa Carbone, CEO of Los Angeles-based horror attraction company TenThirtyOne, raised the ire of Kevin O'Leary when she valued her company at $20 million. But that valuation didn't scare off Daymond John or Marc Cuban, both of whom made a $2 million play for the LA Haunted Hayride and Great Horror Campout operator. When Carbone finally signed with Cuban, the two entered into the largest deal in Shark Tank history.

Initial Ask: $2 million for 10% equity

Final Deal: $2 million for 20% equity, closed with Marc Cuban

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7 of 37 TenThirtyOne

Big scares, big bucks

With big risk comes big reward: Shortly after appearing on Shark Tank, Carbone and Cuban secured an investment from event organizer Live Nation and expanded TenThirtyOne into the New York City area.

The company may have fallen short of its $5 million revenue goal for 2015 due to bad weather, but that hasn't stopped TenThirtyOne -- it now employs over 500 people and is planning an expansion into the Dallas market.

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8 of 37 Sony Pictures Entertainment

Bottle Breacher

Former Navy Seal Eli Crane was able to form an emotional connection with Kevin O'Leary over his .50 Caliber bottle opener product Bottle Breacher, made by military veterans. That, along with the customizable product's appeal to wedding parties, led O'Leary to make an investment along with fellow Shark Marc Cuban.

Initial Ask: $150,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $150,000 for 20% equity, closed with Marc Cuban and Kevin O'Leary

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9 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Breaching the backorder log

Like many Shark Tank success stories, Bottle Breacher grew a nasty log of backorders when it couldn't keep up with increased demand. But those problems have been resolved, solidifying the company's place as a true success story.

After selling $80,000 worth of product in the month prior to appearing on Shark Tank, Bottle Breacher has now topped $2.5 million in sales.

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10 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Groovebook

Brian and Julie Whitman's photo book subscription service, GrooveBook, is built around innovation -- a grooved, flexible spine allows each book to be mailed at a significantly reduced rate than those with stiffer spines. That patent caught the eye of Kevin O' Leary, who made a (rejected) offer to buy 100% of GrooveBook at its opening valuation, $750,000.

After some negotiation, Mark Cuban joined forced with O'Leary to close a deal focused around licensing rights.

Initial Ask: $150,000 for 20% equity

Final Deal: $150,000 for 80% of licensing rights, closed with Marc Cuban and Kevin O'Leary

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11 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

A lucrative acquisition

Less than 11 months after appearing on Shark Tank, the entire GrooveBook operation was sold to Shutterfly for $14.5 million -- the first-ever Shark Tank business to be acquired by a publicly traded company.

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12 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Tipsy Elves

To Evan Mendelsohn and Nick Morton, ugly Christmas sweaters are more than just a novelty -- they're a multi-million dollar business. In Season 5, the pair sought an investment from the Sharks in their already-successful seasonal clothing business, Tipsy Elves.

Initial Ask: $100,000 for 5% equity

Final Deal: $100,000 for 10% equity, closed with Robert Herjavec

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13 of 37 Andrew Jorgensen for Tipsy Elves

A seasonally festive home run

Prior to appearing on Shark Tank, Tipsy Elves had already done over $1 million in sales, much of it through Amazon. The company has since risen to the next level, thanks to a deal with Robert Herjavec; sales are now well over $20 million. That solidfies Tipsy Elves as Herjavec's most successful Shark Tank deal.

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14 of 37 Nuts 'N More

Nuts 'N More

Peanut butter has been a favorite food of athletes for decades, in part, because it's packed with healthy protein. Fitness enthusiasts Peter Ferreira, Dennis Iannotti, and Neil Cameron have taken the food to the next level with Nuts 'N More, a company that serves up protein- and flax-enriched nut butters with a focus on fitness.

Initial Ask: $250,000 for 20%

Final Deal: $250,000 for 35%, closed with Marc Cuban and Robert Herjavec

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15 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

This new product line is nuts

Nuts 'N More had sold roughly $100,000 in product prior to Shark Tank. In the two years since, the company has booked a very healthy $6 million in sales with the help of both Marc Cuban and Robert Herjavec.

The company made a reappearance on Shark Tank to announce signing a nationwide deal with GNC that includes its nut butters and a new whey protein line. The company believes that deal will boost its sales to $20 million.

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16 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

ReadeRest

Rich Hopper's ReadeRest is a simple-yet-ingenious product -- a magnetic clip that holds your reading glasses to your shirt when you're not using them. Lori Greiner saw big potential for the product but negotiated hard, forcing Hopper to give up majority control of his business for a deal.

Initial Ask: $150,000 for 15% equity

Final Deal: $150,000 for 65% equity, closed with Lori Greiner

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17 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Profits are clearly within sight

Since inking that deal, the ReadeRest business has exploded. The product quickly sold out in its first QVC appearance, and is now a big seller at Bed Bath & Beyond stores. In its first three years post-Shark Tank, ReadeRest has accumulated over $10 million in sales.

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18 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

PIP Snacks

Brother and sister team Jeff and Jen Martin started their gourmet snack business PIP Snacks using hand-stamped bags at a Brooklyn farmer's market. The company's signature product, the hull-free miniature popcorn snack Pipcorn, proved especially attractive to Barbara Corcoran -- she paid the Martins' full asking price to invest.

Initial ask: $200,000 for 10% equity

Final deal: $200,000 for 10% equity, closed with Barbara Corcoran

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19 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Small snack, big sales

In the year prior to its Shark Tank appearance, PIP Snacks had $200,000 in sales. Less than three months after closing the deal, PIP Snacks sales hit $1.1 million.

That explosive growth came with its share of problems -- the company struggled with backorders after its appearance. Moving the bulk of production out of its New York City kitchen and into a co-packer was instrumental in catching up and moving forward.

These days, you can find Pipcorn for sale online and in select supermarket chains such as Wegmans.

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20 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

The Paint Brush Cover

It was pretty clear to the Sharks that New Jerseyans Sal DePaola, John DePaola, and Anthony Caputo had a hit on their hands with The Paint Brush Cover, a plastic protector that reduces the need for washing paint brushes.

Lori Greiner made an aggressive play for parent company Likwid Concepts and sealed a deal for 20% equity amidst heavy competition from fellow Sharks.

Initial Ask: $50,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $100,000 for 20% equity + $100,000 for purchase orders, closed with Lori Greiner

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21 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Sales growth of 7,000%

Following a redesign of the product's packaging, The Paint Brush Cover has taken off: Sales went from just $35,000 in sales (pre-Tank) to selling $2.5 million in its first post-Shark Tank year.

You can find The Paint Brush Cover in thousands of Home Depot and Ace Hardware stores nationwide.

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22 of 37 Jenny Evelyn Prater for Hold Your Haunches

Hold Your Haunches

When Macon, Georgia entrepreneurs Erin Buckley and Jenny Greer showed up to the Shark Tank looking to fund their women's shapewear company Hold Your Haunches, all the male Sharks quickly dropped out of the bidding. That led Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner to team up on a deal, hoping to prove to the men that they were missing out on the investment deal of the season.

Initial Ask: $75,000 for 20% equity

Final Deal: $75,000 for 40% equity plus $100,000 as a line of credit, closed with Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner

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23 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Hold Your Haunches

The guys are certainly kicking themselves now. Hold Your Haunches had $165,000 in sales in the year prior to its appearance on Shark Tank. In the first six months after appearing, sales had hit $1.5 million, primarily through Amazon and the company's own website.

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24 of 37 Sony Pictures Entertainment

Pork Barrel BBQ

When entrepreneurs Brett Thompson and Heath Hall brought their Pork Barrel BBQ sauces to the Shark Tank on Season 1, they set off a literal feeding frenzy. But only Barbara Corcoran had the appetite for making a deal with the award-winning barbecue sauce and spice company.

Initial Ask: $50,000 for 10%

Final Deal: $50,000 for 50%

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25 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Finger-lickin' profits

The sauce was a near-instant success -- within three weeks of airing on Shark Tank, Pork Barrel BBQ products were available for purchase in Costco stores. Today, you can find the sauce in the Pork Barrel BBQ restaurant in Alexandria, Virginia and at more than 8,000 stores nationwide, with more than $10 million in lifetime sales.

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26 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Drop Stop

Hoping to end the problem of lost fast food french fries for good, inventors Marc Newburger and Jeffrey Simon brought their Drop Stop product to the Shark Tank. Kevin O'Leary made the pair a no-equity royalty offer, but it was Lori Greiner who sealed a deal with the car seat gap filler company.

Initial Ask: $300,000 for 15% equity

Final Deal: $300,000 for 20% equity, closed with Lori Greiner

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27 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Another of Lori's "heroes"

Drop Stop had sold $1.3 million worth of units prior to appearing on Shark Tank. A year and a half after the show aired, gross sales had risen to more than $10 million.

You can currently find Drop Stop in retail stores such as Bed Bath & Beyond and on the company's website.

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28 of 37 Photo Composite by Fox Van Allen

Simple Sugars

Lani Lazzari started her all-natural skin care company Simple Sugars when she was 11 as a way to care for her own eczema. As a 19-year-old, Lazzari won praise from Marc Cuban, who offered her a deal on the show in season 4.

Initial Ask: $100,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $100,000 for 33% equity, closed with Marc Cuban

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29 of 37 Rachel M Hanel for Simple Sugars

A sweet deal

Simple Sugars had $50,000 in sales prior to appearing on Shark Tank, but predictably, presenting her product in front of a national TV audience resulted in a big sales bump. Within six weeks of appearing on the show, Lazzari's company hit $1 million in sales. And it continues to do very well.

Is it any surprise that Cuban considers Simple Sugars one of his best ever Shark Tank deals?

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30 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Grace and Lace

Melissa Hinnant learned to knit during her first pregnancy, when she was confined to bed rest. Sadly, she experienced severe complications, and the child was stillborn. Melissa and her husband Rick turned the tragedy into triumph by creating Grace and Lace, a trendy womenswear company with a philanthropic mission to build orphanages in India.

Robert Herjavec made the Hinnants a full-priced offer for the company, but it was rejected in favor of a similar offer from Barbara Corcoran.

Initial Ask: $175,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $175,000 for 10% equity (half as a line of credit), closed with Barbara Corcoran

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31 of 37 Grace and Lace

Triumph from tragedy

Together, Corcoran and the Hinnants have grown Grace and Lace from $1 million in sales to a cumulative $15 million in sales today, Success reports.

Best yet: Growing sales have allowed the Hinnants to open multiple orphanages in India with a portion of their proceeds, giving hundreds of children roofs over their heads.

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32 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Fiberfix

Spencer Quinn and Eric Child attracted multiple offers from the Sharks for their heavy-duty repair-tape company Fiberfix -- a very good problem for entrepreneurs to have in the Tank. The duo closed a deal with Lori Greiner, who promised to put Fiberfix on QVC and fully fund the expected flood of purchase orders.

Initial Ask: $90,000 for 10% equity

Final Deal: $120,000 for 12% equity plus funding for purchase orders, closed with Lori Greiner

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33 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

The best kind of sellout

Lori's funding promise came in handy for Quinn and Child, as Fiberfix sold out during its first TV appearance. The company went from just $300,000 in sales pre-Tank to selling an astonishing $6 million worth in just 3 months.

You can find Fiberfix at the company's website, at Bed Bath & Beyond and at other retailers nationwide.

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34 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

Screenmend

Sometimes, the most lucrative Shark Tank investments are the simple ones that solve common problems. Take, for example, Brian Hook's ScreenMend -- the product was inspired by his 9-year-old daughter Lily, who smartly suggested that a screen window patch would hold better if it was covered in candle wax.

The heat-activated ScreenMend drew interest from Marc Cuban, who offered a deal at the full asking price. The Hook family instead signed a more expensive deal with both Cuban and Lori Grenier to get their product on TV and into stores sooner.

Initial Ask: $30,000 for 25% equity

Final Deal: $30,000 for 50% equity, closed with Marc Cuban and Lori Greiner

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35 of 37 Sony Pictures Television

A million-dollar idea

Prior to its appearance on Shark Tank, the Hooks had only sold $4,000 worth of ScreenMend. By the end of the company's first post-Shark Tank year, ScreenMend had sold over $1 million in repair patches on TV, online, and in big-box retail stores such as Home Depot and Bed Bath & Beyond.

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36 of 37 Wicked Good Cupcakes

Wicked Good Cupcakes

Hoping to take their profitable cupcake-in-a-jar business, Wicked Good Cupcakes, to the next level, mother-daughter duo Tracey Noonan and Danielle Desroches entered the Shark Tank willing to give up a piece of their equity. Kevin O' Leary talked them into an equity-free royalty deal instead, offering the company a $75,000 loan in exchange for a perpetual 45-cent royalty per jar.

Initial Ask: $75,000 for 20% equity

Final Deal: $75,000 for a $1 per jar royalty until the money is paid back, then 45 cents in perpetuity, closed with Kevin O'Leary

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37 of 37 Wicked Good Cupcakes

A sweet partnership

It was an unusual deal at the time, but it has very clearly paid off for all involved. Wicked Good Cupcakes sold $150 thousand worth of treats in the nine months prior to appearing on Shark Tank in 2013. This year, with the help of Mr. Wonderful and a partnership with Cinnabon, the family-owned company is on track for $3.5 million in sales.

You can find Wicked Good Cupcakes' wares online and at their retail location in Boston's famed Quincy Market.

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