The largest investment on ABC’s “Shark Tank” in 2022 didn’t go to a robotics company or a vegan food empire. Instead, it went toward cold-water baths.
On a May 2022 episode, Robert Herjavec offered $2.4 million to Plunge, a Lincoln, California-based company that sells tubs designed for cold-water immersion. The baths cost nearly $5,000 and brought in $4.9 million in its first full year of sales after launching in 2020.
Soaking in freezing water, even just for 60 seconds, is a wellness practice with health benefits, co-founders Michael Garrett and Ryan Duey said on the show.
Research regarding how cold or how long you should submerge yourself in freezing water is mixed. But early studies, like 2020 research from the University of Portsmouth in the U.K., found that open-water swimming in cold temperatures did improve participants’ mood.
A 2018 case study from a collection of British universities additionally found that the activity could be used to treat depression and anxiety.
Garrett and Duey asked the Sharks for a whopping $1.2 million in exchange for 5% of their company, noting that they were ahead of their competitors on both price and convenience. Some luxury ice baths cost up to $10,000, and you have to manually fill some of those tubs, they said.
In comparison, the Plunge comes with a water filter that attaches to the average household hose, and a cooler to moderate the water’s temperature.
The Sharks didn’t blink at the seven-figure request. Kevin O’Leary offered Garrett and Duey $1.2 million for 18% of Plunge, while Barbara Corcoran offered $600,000 in cash and $600,000 in loan or line of credit for 20% of Plunge.
The co-founders declined both offers, saying they needed more cash to build their inventory.
Then Herjavec, who’d already hopped into a model Plunge tub on set, said he’d invest $2.4 million — half cash, half line of credit — for 15% of the company.
Mark Cuban, noting that players on his Dallas Mavericks NBA team use similar products to reduce inflammation, also made an offer: He’d invest $1.2 million and finance all of Plunge’s purchase orders for 15% in equity.
Garrett and Duey asked Herjavec and Cuban if either would take 10%. Herjavec responded with 12%, and the co-founders accepted.
“Twelve months ago we were in my garage building cold plunges,” Garrett said. “And now here we are. We have a deal with Robert for $2.4 million. It’s incredible.”
CNBC Make It reached out to Plunge for an update, but the company declined to comment on the current status of their partnership with Robert Herjavec.
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”