Over the course of eight seasons, entrepreneurs have braved the waters and pitched their startups to the panel of Shark Tank investors. Companies can experience great success from their appearances on the show, ranging from lucrative licensing deals to millions of dollars in sales.
But it takes a good pitch and even better idea to get the Sharks' attention. The show's eighth season just wrapped up, which has earned our congratulations and a look at the five coolest pitches that landed deals in the last year.
When you Google how to save a water-damaged smartphone, one of the most popular suggestions is to bury the device in a bag of rice. Co-founders Adam Cookson and Craig Beinecke want everyone to stop doing that. Their company, TekDry, sells machines that dry electronics in 30 minutes by using tiny silver balls that heat slowly and turn the liquid water to vapor.
The product, which is currently sold in 82 stores, recently announced its plan to expand across 600 Staples locations nationwide. TekDry charges between $39.99 and $99.99 for its services, depending on the size of the item. The duo appeared on the third episode and agreed to give Kevin O'Leary a 5 percent stake in the company for a $500,000 loan.
Trisha Prabhu got the idea for her ReThink technology when she learned that an 11-year-old girl killed herself after being tormented by cyber-bullies. She didn't know the girl, but wanted to find a technological solution to the problem technology created. When users download the ReThink app, they receive alerts if they try to post an offensive message to social media. From there, the app gives the user a chance to reconsider the message.
ReThink was featured at a White House science fair program during the Obama administration and was a global finalist at the Google Science Fair. Prabhu appeared on the first episode of Shark Tank's eight season and made a deal with Lori Greiner and Mark Cuban, exchanging 20 percent equity for $100,000.
No matter the season, sunscreen is important. But as co-founder Dave Cohen explains, it's sometimes hard to determine the right amount to apply and where to apply it. Cohen and his co-founder, Jon Meyer, created Sunscreenr, a special camera that shows the UV rays that sunscreen blocks. When a user looks through the lens to see if someone is applying sunscreen correctly, they can see any spots on the skin that may not be covered. The waterproof device fits in the palm of a hand, and retails for $119.
Sunscreenr launched a Kickstarter campaign in the summer of 2016 and got $119,629 after setting a goal of $45,000. Cohen appeared on this season's sixth episode and accepted an offer from O'Leary of $800,000 for 33.3 percent equity.
4. Rumi Spice
Rumi Spice was created by Kimberly Jung, Emily Miller, Keith Alaniz, and Carol Wang (who did not appear on the show). The four veterans partnered with Afghan farmers to produce, process, and distribute saffron internationally. According to the group, one gram of saffron retails for $18 and takes about 150 hours to make because there is no automation involved.
Rumi Spice, which is named after the 13th-century Persian poet Jalal al-Din Rumi, appeared on the second-to-last episode of the season. Cuban offered the co-founders $250,000 for 15 percent equity in the company.
5. Milk Snob
Parenting comes with a lot of stuff, but this company is trying to reduce that. Milk Snob is a breathable-fabric nursing cover that can also be used as a cover for shopping cart seats, carriers, and play chairs. The item comes in many designs and has a four-way stretch to fit any child carrier or over a mother's body as she nurses. The product is $36 and is available on the company's website. On episode eight, founder Melanie Disbrow told the Sharks she's seen $1.2 million in sales in 18 months.
Disbrow created the product after seeing a lack of well-fitting and stylish infant car-seat covers available to parents. She wanted something that protected her children from the elements but that also allowed proper air circulation -- so she invented it. Disbrow scored a deal with Greiner for $150,000 in exchange for 5 percent equity.