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Top 10 Rejected Shark Tank Pitches That Became Successful

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Sadie Perkins Not everybody manages to catch a shark - but sometimes, they still come out on top. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rejected “Shark Tank” Pitches That Became Successful. For this list, we’re looking at pitches that were originally turned down on the show, but took off later. The pitch could have been rejected outright by the Sharks, or the deal may have been refused by the entrepreneur. Either way, the more successful the pitch was after the show, the better. Have an idea you want to see made into a WatchMojo video? Check out our suggest page at http://WatchMojo.comsuggest and submit your idea.
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Not everybody manages to catch a shark - but sometimes, they still come out on top. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 Rejected “Shark Tank” Pitches That Became Successful.

For this list, we’re looking at pitches that were originally turned down on the show, but took off later. The pitch could have been rejected outright by the Sharks, or the deal may have been refused by the entrepreneur. Either way, the more successful the pitch was after the show, the better.

#10: Proof Eyewear

Hindsight is always 20/20. When the three Dame brothers from Idaho pitched their idea for Proof Eyewear – one-of-a-kind glasses frames crafted from wood – the concept itself impressed the Sharks. Though the brothers presented some impressive numbers for a fairly new company, only Sharks Robert and Kevin offered deals, both of which the brothers refused. After the show, Proof used the “wood” trend to its advantage, almost tripling their sales shortly afterwards and continuing to grow and build their brand. After all, what’s more appealing than being eco-friendly AND stylish?

#9: CellHelmet

Even billionaires drop their phones sometimes. To avoid the problem of smashed phone screens, David Artuso and Mike Kane came up with an idea for a tougher phone case, as well as a guaranteed repair or replacement if the phone broke while within it. Unfortunately, the Sharks weren’t biting. Predicting that bigger companies with larger budgets would pounce on the idea as soon as CellHelmet became big, it didn’t take long for the investors to scatter. But upon arriving home, the two founders immediately discovered that their inbox was filled with offers from other investors. These days, CellHelmet can be purchased at over 3000 wireless stores across the U.S.

#8: Coffee Meets Bagel

These sisters said it themselves - it’s yet another dating site. However, the idea behind the app, which allows users to meet potential dates through mutual friends on social media, was unique enough that it sparked a huge offer from Shark Mark Cuban - 30 million dollars for the entire company. The sisters refused, preferring to keep the company for themselves. Though the offer itself fell through, seeing the interest from Cuban drew other investors to the app once the show aired. Enjoying massive amounts of marketing exposure and investor interest, the app continues to grow and make its mark in the world of online dating.

#7: Lip Bar

Breaking into the beauty industry isn’t an easy thing to do, but these two makeup artists were determined. Pitching their all-natural and extensively colored line of lipsticks, entrepreneurs Melissa Butler and Rosco Spears managed to impress the Sharks with the quality of their product. However, the duo’s weak numbers and confused marketing strategy had the Sharks bowing out. Apparently magazines like Cosmopolitan and Ebony thought otherwise, however, as the two have enjoyed coverage from both, and have launched their own mobile Lip Bar tour to further spread their brand.

#6: Rocketbook

Making it to #1 on Amazon is every developer’s dream - and these two managed to do it without the Sharks’ help. Pitching their idea for a reusable digital notebook that was reset by putting it in the microwave, entrepreneurs Jake Epstein and Joe LeMay claimed to have a revolutionary idea on their hands. However, not only did the Sharks not see an opportunity with the product; they laughed the duo off the show, right into the arms of success. Shortly after airing, Epstein and LeMay reported earnings of over $10 million, and the Rocketbook was Amazon’s #1 best selling notebook in November 2016.

#5: Xero Shoes

Even with the Sharks expert financial advice, sometimes you might be able to see your company’s potential better than they ever could. After pitching an ultra-minimal sandal for either day-to-day or running use, Steve Sashen and Lena Phoenix predicted that their product was worth $5 million. Calling the sandals nothing more than “rubber and a string,” the Sharks scattered, but the money soon started rolling in. In the week after the show aired, Xero Shoes managed to sell the same amount they usually sold in three months. The sandals might be simple, but they sell.

#4: Ring (DoorBot)

The Sharks aren’t the only investors prowling the waters. Originally named the DoorBot, this product kickstarted a new type of smart-home security. It’s a doorbell equipped with a camera that streams footage to your smartphone. After rejection from most of the Sharks and a declined offer, the product attracted other huge investors including Richard Branson, Goldman Sachs, and Qualcomm Ventures. Developer Jamie Siminoff has since rebranded the DoorBot into the “Ring” app, and continues to expand and create new products for his line. Good thing he opened the door when opportunity came knocking.

#3: Chef Big Shake (CBS Foods)

There’s a burger for everyone’s taste nowadays - turkey, beef, veggie, vegan, shrimp… wait, what was that last one? When chef Shawn Davis came into the Tank and proposed his idea of shrimp burgers, the Sharks were all about the taste, but not about the valuation of the company. Leaving with no offer on the table but plenty of praise for the food itself, Davis went home to a heroes welcome and another investor who granted a better offer than what he’d originally asked for. Now selling his burgers in over 2,000 grocery stores and predicting over $5 million in upcoming growth, Davis’s appetite for business hasn’t slowed down.

#2: Copa di Vino

Here’s an entrepreneur so confident in his product that he not only managed to get onto the show twice; he refused offers both times. Pitching his “wine by the glass” concept, James Martin butted heads with the Sharks during his two separate appearances on the show. Experiencing a flood of sales and exposure after both his first and second appearances, Martin grew the company to the point where he was making over $25 million in revenue. Kevin O’Leary has called Martin “the one that got away,” and we can imagine that nowadays wine might taste a little less sweet to Mr. Wonderful.

Before we reveal our top pick, here are a couple honorable mentions.
- Slawsa
- Mrs. Pickles (Lynnae’s Gourmet Pickles)

#1: CoatChex

In the words of founder Derek Pacqué, this business turned “an inconvenience into an opportunity.” Pitching his high-tech coat checking system to the Sharks with zero sales under his belt was a risky move, and resulted in the recent business-school graduate walking away after rejections and a declined offer. However, since appearing on the show, CoatChex has been hired by prestigious events like New York Fashion Week, the Super Bowl, and Life in Color. This inconvenience sure was an opportunity; and one that this company was quick to seize.
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