It has been 14 years since the reality T.V. show Shark Tank debuted on ABC.
It has been a reliably entertaining watch and a solid ratings draw in its time slot ever since.
So why has it had such staying power? Having a solid cast of sharks certainly helps. The current core group of six Sharks (listed below) have been together since Season 4. Guest Sharks such as Ashton Kutcher, Kevin Hart, and, this season, Gwyneth Paltrow make occasional appearances to switch the dynamic.
The product pitches are usually entertaining – regardless of whether the products themselves seem viable.
But, most of all, the award-winning show’s success hinges on showcasing two things Americans love most: Entrepreneurial spirit and making money.
We applaud when one leads to the other. However, it doesn’t always work that way. And a crash and burn story can be equally as captivating as a success story.
Whatever Happened To… Part 3
This is the final installment of our three-part series on whatever happened to the eyewear companies that once were featured on the T.V. show Shark Tank.
The first two parts each featured wildly successful ventures:
Proof Eyewear spurned offers by multiple Sharks in 2013. The Idaho company took its eco-friendly frames and crafted its own path. It is now reportedly worth $7.5 million.
Pair Eyewear took the deal it was offered by a pair of Sharks in 2020. The online direct-to-consumer company hasn’t stopped growing since. Co-founders Sophia Edelstein and Nathan Kondamuri have raised an astounding $72 million in additional funding.
Part 3 features whatever happened to Frameri. Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have the happy ending of the first two.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Frameri opened in 2012. The eyewear startup featured removable lenses that could be inserted into multiple frames.
The company made its Shark Tank pitch in May 2015 during Episode 27 of Season 6. Co-founders Konrad Billetz and Kevin Habichfor were looking for a $150,000 investment for 4% equity. A Shark offered a deal. However, the company passed.
Initially, at least, that looked to be the right decision.
The national exposure from appearing on the show undoubtedly helped Frameri strike a partnership with Hoya Vision Care. And by June 2017, Frameri products reportedly were being sold in more than two dozen eyecare retailers in 15 states.
Billetz and Habichfor both left the company in 2017, in March and January of that year, respectively, to pursue other ventures. Frameri still had plans to grow, though. And under the direction of new CEO Sam Pellerito, the company announced ambitious plans to open more showrooms across the country. The company’s original location in the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood in Cincinnati opened as a pop-up shop in 2015.
Unfortunately, the company couldn’t secure the needed investment to fund its planned growth. Pellerito said the company secured $1.2 million during its initial round of investments. It then needed to raise at least that much in its Series A round of funding, but it wasn’t able to do so.
Frameri closed its doors for good in January 2018.
“We were not bulletproof to the idea that if you don’t have the right amount of runway, you will eventually run out of money,” Pellerito said at the time to local T.V. station ABC 9.
(Note: Swipe to the right on the video below for the short news item on Frameri’s closure.)
More About Shark Tank
The main cast members (the Sharks) have been together since Season 4 and include:
- Mark Cuban – American businessman and owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Forbes estimates his net worth at $4.8 billion.
- Lori Greiner – American inventor and entrepreneur. She is known as the “Queen of QVC” for her numerous appearances on the network.
- Daymond John – American businessman and founder, president and chief executive officer of the apparel company FUBU, which has earned more than $6 billion in global sales.
- Barbara Corcoran – American businesswoman and columnist. She founded the real estate brokerage firm The Corcoran Group, which she sold for $66 million in 2001.
- Kevin O’Leary – Canadian businessman who co-founded a technology company geared toward family education and entertainment. The sale of The Learning Company to Mattel in 1999 made him a multimillionaire.
- Robert Herjavec – Canadian businessman and founder of The Harjavec Group, one of the largest computer security and technology companies in Canada, with more than $200 million in annual revenue.
Shark Tank is unscripted, which lends to its appeal. You never know how a pitch is going to go or what kind of advice or comments the Sharks will impart.
But did you know that not all deals announced on the show actually go through? In fact, a Forbes investigation found that nearly half the deals fail to get finalized. Most deals that fall through do so during the financial vetting process, which some entrepreneurs have called overly cumbersome.
Despite that, “almost every entrepreneur interviewed by Forbes said going on Shark Tank was worth it for the exposure alone.”
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