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Mark Cuban biggest ‘Shark Tank’ investments of the 12 months have something in common

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Mark Cuban, who built his fortune starting and selling tech firms, only offered two $1 million investments on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2022.

But they weren’t in software, crypto or sports businesses. As an alternative, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks gave his biggest investments of the 12 months to 2 food firms. He offered $1 million to Umaro, a seaweed protein company, for 7% of the corporate — and $1 million in CupBop, a Korean Barbeque chain, for five% equity.

Cuban also split one other $1 million investment offer with guest Shark Peter Jones: $300,000 with a $700,000 line of credit for 10% of dress shirt company Collars & Co.

Since their appearances, business appears to be going well for each firms. A few months after landing the “Shark Tank” deal, Umaro CEO Beth Zotter tells CNBC Make It she and her co-founder “parted ways amicably” from Cuban, attributable to a unique closed funding round. While they didn’t get the $1 million from Cuban, their product, which was only a prototype when the episode was filmed and aired, might be in 60 different restaurants by the tip of January.

It’s commonplace for a “Shark Tank” investor and company to desert or revise their partnership. In 2016, Forbes interviewed 237 firms that appeared on the show between seasons one and 7, and located 43% of deals made on the show disintegrate and one other 30% are modified after taping.

In May, CupBop told CNBC Make It it was operating 36 locations across six U.S. states and greater than 100 locations in Indonesia. The corporate didn’t immediately reply to CNBC Make It’s recent request for comment.

Cuban, who went vegetarian in 2019, has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years in other food firms on “Shark Tank.” He’s been particularly drawn to startups specializing in plant-based food, like Pan’s Mushroom Jerky, vegan cold-cuts company Unreal Deli and vegan pork rind company Snacklins, to call just a few.

The approach to life, and investment strategy, look like useful to Cuban, too: He told Habits & Hustle podcast host Jennifer Cohen in August that he stopped eating meat to assist reduce inflammation after he had each hips replaced. “It’s like night and day,” he said on the episode.

His investments have also translated right into a gift-giving strategy off the air. In 2019 and 2021, the billionaire told CNBC Make It he planned to present family members healthy snacks, like Alyssa’s Cookies which he invested in 2012, after its co-founder Doug Saraci sent him a box of cookies with a note asking for $50,000 for 25% of the business, Saraci told CNBC Make It in 2019.

“People get a lot junk food [at the holidays], they need something tasty, low-cal and healthy,” he told CNBC Make It in 2019.

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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