From edible cups to paddle boards: A look at Mark Cuban’s ‘Shark Tank’ investments

By   – Digital Editor, Dallas Business Journal

It was nearly Christmas, but before Ashley Thompson and Katherine Thomas could celebrate, they still had thousands of orders to fill.

Their company, Mush, had appeared on ABC’s reality TV show “Shark Tank” in October 2016, and two months later, the entrepreneurs were still struggling to fulfill a spike in orders they had received after the episode aired.

The duo had already pulled 10 all-nighters before the worst happened: They ran out of cups to package their overnight oats.

Exhausted, they considered their options. Should they shut down their website? Refund customers’ money?

Before making any decisions, they emailed Mark Cuban, who had invested $300,000 in the company on “Shark Tank.”

His response was almost immediate, Thompson recalls.

Cuban told them to go home, shower, eat and get a good night’s rest. Seemingly simple advice, Thompson said, but it was the refresh that the team needed.

The next day, Cuban worked with Mush to find a new container, and within 48 hours, production started again.

Cuban is a trusted adviser not just to Mush, but to the roughly 75 companies he’s invested in through “Shark Tank.” While he doesn’t run each business’ day-to-day operations, he gets weekly updates from each company and lends advice when needed.

“(My goal is) to help the entrepreneurs reach their goals and to hopefully have a business or social impact,” Cuban told the Dallas Business Journal.

Mark Cuban Companies, led by director of business development Abe Minkara, oversees Cuban’s investments, including his “Shark Tank” portfolio. On top of Cuban’s guidance, the team helps each company with back-end operations like finding the right manufacturing partners and getting their products picked up by big-box retailers and e-commerce sites like Amazon.


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That way, Minkara says, entrepreneurs can focus on what they do best: building their companies.

Click here to read more about Mark Cuban Companies and how it manages Cuban’s “Shark Tank” portfolio.

Before Cuban gets involved in a “Shark Tank” business, the startup has to show the Dallas-based billionaire that it’s worth his time and money.

“I take all the information available to me and try to determine how I can help the company and entrepreneur,” Cuban said. “If I think there is a way to get a great return or to have a social or other impact, I’ll do the deal.”

Once a company lands a handshake deal with Cuban in front of “Shark Tank” cameras, Mark Cuban Companies starts a due diligence process to ensure each company can back up the claims they made in the tank.

“We have a checklist and process we do with any company in Mark Cuban’s portfolio. We’re not more lenient with ‘Shark Tank’ companies,” Minkara said. “If everything checks out, usually the deal is inked within three months. They get the check as agreed upon in exchange for equity.”

Mark Cuban Companies is currently undergoing the due diligence process with the businesses Cuban made deals with during season 10 of “Shark Tank.” Cuban has been a regular panelist on the show since season three.

While episodes won’t begin airing until October 7, Minkara hinted that he expects another 10 to 15 companies, pending the due diligence process, will be added to Cuban’s portfolio from “Shark Tank’s” newest season.

In the meantime, fans of Cuban and the show can tune into a live streaming event with Amazon on Aug. 27 between 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Central Time. The event will feature five of Cuban’s “Shark Tank” companies.

This link will be customized for the event on the morning of Aug. 27.

To get a taste of some of the companies Cuban has invested in during previous “Shark Tank” seasons, click through the slideshow above. Each slide links to a story about the business.

If just watching the show isn’t enough and you’re an entrepreneur angling for an investment from the Dallas businessman, he has the following advice for companies pitching on “Shark Tank:”

“Remember that you not only have to have a great business, you have to be entertaining. It’s a TV show. You won’t make it if you can’t keep an audience engaged,” Cuban said.

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