Mark Cuban offered multiple $1 million ‘Shark Tank’ investments this year—here’s what they have in common

Wealth

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

But they weren’t in software, crypto or sports businesses. Instead, the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks gave his biggest investments of the year to two food companies. He offered $1 million to Umaro, a seaweed protein company, for 7% of the company — and $1 million in CupBop, a Korean Barbeque chain, for 5% equity.

Cuban also split another $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 seems to be going well for both companies. A couple of 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, due to a different 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, will be in 60 different restaurants by the end of January.

It’s not unusual for a “Shark Tank” investor and company to abandon or revise their partnership. In 2016, Forbes interviewed 237 companies that appeared on the show between seasons one and seven, and found 43% of deals made on the show fall apart and another 30% are changed after taping.

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

Cuban, who went vegetarian in 2019, has invested millions of dollars over the past few years in other food companies 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 name a few.

The lifestyle, and investment strategy, appear to be beneficial to Cuban, too: He told Habits & Hustle podcast host Jennifer Cohen in August that he stopped eating meat to help reduce inflammation after he had both hips replaced. “It’s like night and day,” he said on the episode.

His investments have also translated into a gift-giving strategy off the air. In 2019 and 2021, the billionaire told CNBC Make It he planned to give loved ones 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 so much junk food [at the holidays], they need something tasty, low-cal and healthy,” he told CNBC Make It in 2019.

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