T he Tigers of Money is one of Japan’s most successful exports. The TV series format, which offers ambitious entrepreneurs the platform to pitch their business ideas to would-be investors, has been sold to 30 countries around the world. We take a look at three of the ideas that made it big.
The most successful product on the US version of the show, Shark Tank, is a smiley-face-shaped household sponge called the Scrub Daddy. This product was pitched as a sponge for auto body shops that turns soft in warm water, firm in cold water.
Shark Lori Greiner invested $200,000 USD in return for a 20 percent equity and helped to line up promotional slots on QVC and deals with Bed Bath & Beyond, Walmart and Target. As a result, the sponge became the most successful Shark Tank product to date with more than $100 million USD in sales.
When Hatem and Tonia Jahshan appeared on the Canadian version of the show, Dragons’ Den, in 2012, they were struggling to turn a profit from their premium loose tea direct sales business.
However, the enthusiasm for their Tupperware-style tea “parties” in their hometown of Cambridge, Ontario secured a joint investment of $250,000 CAD for 20 percent of the business from Dragons Jim Treliving and David Chilton. Steeped Tea is now the leading direct seller of loose tea in North America, turning over $20 million CAD a year.
The far-and-away success of the British version of the show was a series 4 phenomenon. When Levi Roots strolled into the Dragons’ Den with his guitar and an ode to his Reggae Reggae sauce, a stalwart at the UK’s famous Caribbean celebration, the Notting Hill Carnival, he launched a brand that was to become a UK household name.
Between them, Dragons Peter Jones and Richard Farleigh invested £50,000 GBP in return for 40 percent of the company. Since then, as well as expanding the Reggae Reggae brand, Roots has launched his own Caribbean cookbook, cookery show, and presents reggae shows on UK radio. His net worth is now estimated to be around £35 million GBP.
The biggest success not to secure investment appeared on the US version of the show in 2013. Jamie Siminoff asked Shark Tank investors for a $700,000 USD investment for a 10 percent stake in his struggling startup, DoorBot. He walked away without investment, but then sold the company to Amazon this year for a staggering $1 billion USD.
Other “ones that got away” include Trunki, the ride-on suitcase for kids, and Tangle Teezer, the detangling hairbrush, both of which appeared on the UK version of the show.