You win some, you lose some. Shark Tank, which is now in its 14th seasons on ABC (syndicated on CNBC), proves that old adage. Despite many successes—Scrub Daddy, Breathometer, Plated—the sharks passed on a $700,000 deal for 10% of Ring doorbell, which sold to Amazon for $1 billion just over four years later. Ouch!
On a smaller (yet heavier) scale, pro bodybuilder/powerlifter Stan Efferding raised a 600-pound deadlift and $50,000 for a 1/3 stake in The Kooler, a shaker bottle cooler. Also, pro bodybuilder Steve Kuclo and his then-wife, pro bikini competitor Amanda Latona raised $250,000 for a 1/3 stake in BootyQueen Apparel. Both products seem to be out of business now. And so it goes.
But those are lightweights compared to our super-heavyweight winners. The Barbell checks in on Shark Tank‘s four biggest fitness success stories ever. Some lured a shark. Some didn’t. But all of them thrived after their televised pitches. In alphabetical order, these are the four most successful Shark Tank fitness products.
“Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door,” so they say. Clean Bottle applied this logic to something as simple and boring as a water bottle. Clean Bottle is easy to wash because both the top and bottom can be removed. Its inventor, triathlete David Mayer (and his friend, NBA legend Bill Walton), pitched it on Shark Tank in 2012, and Mark Cuban bought 8% for $60,000 when it was, after only two years of business, already valued at $1 million. Marketed to cyclists, hikers, and other fitness enthusiasts, Clean Bottle expanded its line to include stainless steel versions along with the original soft plastic and a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes and also mugs and tumblers. In December 2018, it was acquired by an investment firm for undisclosed terms. It is now available in over U.S. 5000 stores and six countries.
Like Ring, sometimes the sharks miss a big fish—or, in this case, a bear. Kodiak Cakes owner Joel Clark walked away from the sharks in 2014 because he didn’t want to give up more than 10% (for $500,000) in the Utah company his brother launched in 1996. Just three months before, Kodiak had added protein powder to their mix along with whole grains; and, with Shark Tank’s publicity, the new Power Cakes sold to fitness enthusiasts like, well, hot cakes. The company nearly doubled their 2013 revenue in 2014. More protein-packed products followed. Blowing away the $20 million in four years Clark predicted on Shark Tank—and the sharks scoffed at that number—Kodiak Cakes made over $100 million in 2018 alone.
SIMPLY FIT BOARD
Once again it was the better-mousetrap approach. Simply Fit is indeed simple. After Linda Clark skateboarded with her grandsons, her core muscles were sore. So, she teamed up with her daughter, Gloria Hoffman, to replicate the movement, and they formed a piece of curved plastic that you balance on, working the core, hips, and legs as your twist back and forth. Simple. In November 2015, they convinced shark Lori Greiner to invest $125,000 for 20%, and, because they had no patent, the women moved fast to get it everywhere. In 2019, USA Today ranked it as the fourth best-selling Shark Tank product ever with $160 million in sales.
When Ben Young and Greg Coleman shook hands with Mark Cuban in February 2016, it was for $1.5 million, which would’ve given the mogul a 10% stake in Sworkit, the popular, free, ad-supported workout app. However, the deal subsequently fell through when the two sides couldn’t hammer out the fine print—providing a backstage peak at how things sometimes go on Shark Tank. Nevertheless, the massive (almost) deal—then the largest tech deal in the show’s history—generated much publicity. And the Sworkit app continues to work it. Valued at $18.5 million on Shark Tank six years ago, Sworkit is estimated to be worth $60 million today.