The 10th year of ABC's Shark Tank did not disappoint.
Though it's hard to top the episode in 2017 when Virgin Group founder and guest Shark Richard Branson threw a glass of water on Mark Cuban, 2018 has had plenty of memorable moments. From emotional pitches that had all the Sharks in tears to celebrity bickering that rivals any reality show, there's been no shortage of entertaining anecdotes on Shark Tank this year.
Part of what makes the show so unpredictable is the growing list of guest Sharks who have tested the waters of the tank. This year, the Sharks have welcomed former professional athletes Charles Barkley and Alex Rodriguez and celebrity entrepreneurs Sara Blakely and Bethenny Frankel. Ring founder Jamie Siminoff even made history as the first former contestant to serve as a guest Shark.
Ten years and $100 million of investments later, Shark Tank remains one of the best sources for inspiring stories about entrepreneurship. Read on to discover the best moments of 2018.
1. Cup Board Pro
Season 10, episode 3
It's rare to see the Sharks cry, but there wasn't a dry eye in the house when siblings Kiera, Christian, and Kaley Young pitched their late father's invention, Cup Board Pro. A former firefighter and amateur chef, Keith Young created a bamboo cutting board with an attachable plastic dish to collect scraps. In March of 2018, just weeks before his children appeared on Shark Tank, Young died from a rare form of cancer related to his 9/11 cleanup efforts. Tragically, his wife Elizabeth Young had died of breast cancer six years earlier. Touched by the Young children's story, the Sharks offered the trio exactly what they asked for: $100,000 for 20 percent of the business--split evenly between all five Sharks. They also pledged to invest any profits from the business to a charity benefiting firefighters suffering from illness related to the 9/11 cleanup.
2. The Kombucha Shop
Season 10, episode 5
Mark Cuban is known for outbidding his co-stars at the last second, but at the end of the Kombucha Shop's pitch, it was Cuban who got out-Sharked. Entrepreneur Kate Field blew the Sharks away with her at-home kombucha brewing kit's $3.2 million in lifetime sales. Cuban applauded Field throughout her pitch for not raising money on crowdfunding sites, never spending money on advertising, and not making any health claims about kombucha. In the end, however, he didn't act fast enough. Barbara Corcoran and guest Shark Sara Blakely offered $350,000--split between $200,000 in cash and a $150,000 credit line--for 10 percent of the company. Before Cuban could overbid the pair, Field accepted their offer.
Season 10, episode 2
Entrepreneur Keisha Jeremie impressed the Sharks with her organic applesauce company, Sanaia, but Kevin O'Leary didn't mince words when he learned that Jeremie still worked a day job in human resources. "If you believed in this, you'd quit your job and you'd be telling me you don't sleep on weekends," O'Leary said. When Jeremie explained that she was supporting her entire family and couldn't afford to quit, Robert Herjavec defended her, noting he had to work a second job when he started his IT-security firm. "I had a mortgage. I had a child at home," Herjavec said. "I didn't have a choice." Mark Cuban was moved by Jeremie's story and agreed to invest $150,000 for 25 percent equity.
Season 9, episode 14
Entrepreneur Yair Reiner walked out of the tank with a golden ticket, literally. Lori Greiner offered him the golden trinket she reserves for her favorite products. Reiner's company Frywall makes a silicone lining for cookware designed to prevent splatter. He had $800,000 in lifetime sales after about a year in business. Kevin O'Leary and Daymond John each offered him $100,000 for 15 percent equity before Greiner swooped in. "I'm going to give you exactly the offer you came in asking for," she said, adding that she'd also fund Frywall's purchase orders and extend a line of credit indefinitely. Reiner couldn't say no.
5. Bouquet Bar
Season 9, episode 19
Gift box business Bouquet Bar was hanging by a thread after four Sharks said they were out. The company sells customizable gift boxes that include items like flowers, candy, and candles. Co-founders David Yusuf, Sal Aziz, and Alex Amidi had been operating the business for only four months but had already invested $600,000 of their own money. Their $100,000 in sales was impressive, but the Sharks all agreed that Bouquet Bar's customer acquisition cost of $60 per person was too high. With Mark Cuban as the only Shark left, the founders explained that they had products ready to ship and simply needed guidance. Cuban offered them $150,000 for 20 percent of the company and said the deal was "non-negotiable." They accepted and skipped out of the tank.
Season 10, episode 4
When father-and-son duo Steve and Josh King pitched the Sharks their "below-the-waist" men's grooming company Manscaped, the investors went into hysterics. The company sells grooming kits packed with a razor, trimmer, moisturizer, and hair and body wash. The Sharks were impressed with the presentation, but guest Shark and NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley was not sold on the idea. "Ain't no woman going to leave me because I don't shave my [private parts]," he said. That didn't stop Mark Cuban from making a gag, which turned into an investment. "I will put up the money just to see you sell it on QVC," Cuban told Lori Greiner. Kevin O'Leary noted that Cuban was kidding, but Greiner immediately said yes and Manscaped had a deal.
7. Shark Tank Meets Shark Week
Discovery Channel's Shark Week
During a special episode for the Discovery Channel's Shark Week, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary swam with actual sharks. Each investor learned about a different species and the various challenges they face. The Sharks eventually wound up pitching one another on which oceanic organization was the most deserving of a $50,000 donation. It was the first time audiences saw the Sharks pitch while competing against one another. It was also the first time anyone saw Kevin O'Leary in a tuxedo-printed wetsuit.