5 of the Worst Products in Shark Tank History

Updated on April 14, 2018
Jan Michael Ong profile image

Jan enjoys writing about sports and television shows, video games and personal finance.

Mary Ellen Simonsen thinks her product is the next big thing. The sharks think otherwise.
Mary Ellen Simonsen thinks her product is the next big thing. The sharks think otherwise.

Attached Notes

Mary Ellen Simonsen valued her company at $500,000. Her product was a retractable board that you can attach to your laptop monitor so you can place sticky notes on it. It was basically a sticky pad for sticky pads.

Not only did the sharks find no use for the product, they found her valuation absurd and her retail price to be ludicrous. $9.50 for a product with no real value was simply too high for the sharks.

Robert Herjavec thought it was a bad product and did not really solve any problem. Mary Ellen was adamant that people would find her product useful. She even cited the billion dollar laptop market. However, without any patents or actual sales, all of this was just theory.

What Mary Ellen did not realize is that laptops already have a lot of virtual notepads such as Microsoft Notepad and Microsoft One Note.

Mary Ellen leaves the tank empty handed and looking bad on national television since she was thoroughly roasted by the sharks and she had no good answers for them.

Mary spent $1000 of her own money to develop the product and did not have any more resources to get the product into the marketplace. Without the financial backing of the sharks, the future looks bleak for Attached Notes.

The Sharks were appalled by the No Fly Cone using dog poop as bait.
The Sharks were appalled by the No Fly Cone using dog poop as bait.

No Fly Cone

The No Fly Cone is a re-imagining of the traditional glue based fly trap.

While there is no question that glue based fly traps do work, they are very unsightly.

The No Fly Cone looks better as the flies are trapped in the dome, which hides the fact that there are fly carcasses inside.

At first, this seems like a very plausible idea. Bruce Gaither seemed to have something going for him. After all, Bruce had a real problem with a huge number of flies in his barn due to the presence of his dogs and horses.

However, here comes the kicker. The attractant for the No Fly Cone is dog manure. This repulsed the sharks as this sounded very unhygienic and disgusting.

Bruce said that he was able to get the product into stores but it did not sell as people did not know what it was. It was clear the No Fly Cone was a type of product that needed to be demonstrated.

Robert Herjavec then joked that he could see Lori Greneir selling the No Fly Cone in QVC. Herjavec said that the No Fly Cone is a perfect QVC product.

Bruce brought out his friend Seth MacFarland of Family Guy fame. Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec were ecstatic to see him. Kevin O' Leary had no idea who he was. Mark was especially thrilled to see Seth do a Stewie impression.

Daymond John then asked Seth if he was an investor. He said he was not. Robert Herjavec asked if Seth used the trap in his house. Seth then responded that he did not have a dog but if he had one, he would be first in line. This made Seth MacFarland a poor endorser of the product.

Bruce ended up getting no deal. Perhaps if the attractant had been something less disgusting, the sharks might have found more merit for the product.

No Fly Cone

The sharks got the shock of their life when they messed around with the Squirrel Boss.
The sharks got the shock of their life when they messed around with the Squirrel Boss.

Squirrel Boss

If you want PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) breathing down your neck then this is the product for you.

Squirrel Boss is a squirrel-proof bird feeder that uses static shocks as a deterrent. The squirrels would then be discouraged from turning your bird feed into a buffet.

The sharks took turns trying out getting electrocuted by the contraption. Everyone tried except for Mr. Wonderful. The sharks were all shocked as the power of the Squirrel Boss was more than what they anticipated.

During their questioning, the sharks found out that many people did not like the price of the Squirrel Boss and did not like the fact that they had to actually watch out for the squirrels and then press a button to zap them. They also discovered that Michael DeSanti was not able to secure a patent for his product. Michael blamed this on the incompetence of the patent attorney he hired.

Michael put in a few thousand dollars towards this venture and even got an angel investor to shell out $140,000. He was able to pay back two-thirds of the investor's capital already and would have paid him in full if he did not waste his money on ineffective marketing tactics.

Michael asked $130,000 for 40% of his company but did not get a penny from the sharks. The sharks did not like the fact that the Squirrel Boss was promoting animal cruelty. Lori Greneir even described it as "sadistic."

The sharks were perhaps right not to do this deal as the product has since received numerous complaints in the Better Business Bureau and Amazon websites. They sites defective product and quality issues as well as poor customer service.

Squirrel Boss

The 40 million dollar sugar cubes did not sell with the sharks.
The 40 million dollar sugar cubes did not sell with the sharks.

Nootrobox

Geoff Woo and Michael Brandt were a couple of tech nerds trying to hype up caffeine infused sugar cubes as the "next big thing." With a $40,000,000 valuation (highest in Shark Tank history), they hoped that the sharks would bite despite the insane valuation. The pair came in the tank asking for$2,000,000 for 5%.

The two claimed to be biohackers who claimed to have developed products that help with cognitive function. They claimed that their goal was to optimize the human body to produce peak performance.

The main product of the company was chewable coffee cubes. They also had supplements which they named Yawn, Rise, Kado-3 and Sprint. The main goal of the products was to enhance cognitive function.

Woo even highlighted that unlike other caffeine-based alternatives, their products contain L-Theanine which help neutralize the jittery effects of caffeine.

Throughout the presentation, the sharks lambasted the duo for their Silicon Valley-like valuation and the uncertainty of the long term side-effects of the products.

The sharks were also not impressed with the presentation and the product itself. The entrepreneurs were too focus on science and not enough on the sales and marketing aspect of the product.

Though the company boasted $1,000,000 revenue year-to-date, $2,570,000 in investments and a decent distribution, the sharks could not get over the over-inflated value of the company.

In the end, the two came up empty as they were not able to justify their high asking price.

Wired Waffles
Wired Waffles

Wired Waffles

What happens when you combine Red Bull and Eggos? You get Wired Waffles.The product was a caffeine infused waffle which was complemented with caffeine infused syrup.

Roger Sullivan came into the tank with a $300,000 valuation. He was asking for $75,000 for 25% of his company.

The sharks found merit in caffeinated products but did not think waffles were the right product. They also did not like the taste of the waffles and found them to be too dry. Roger later defends his product and said they sat in the studio too long and it thus compromised the quality of the waffles.

The sharks had many concerns regarding the product. Robert Herjavec did not like the taste of the waffles. Kevin thought that there was nothing proprietary about the product and he could just be crushed by the bigger players in the industry. Lori was concerned children might eat the waffles and this would be a liability nightmare.

The amount of sales could not redeem Wired Waffles either. With a mere $1000 under its belt, the sharks were not impressed.

Roger tried his best to get a deal, but to no avail. He was not able to excite the sharks with his caffeinated waffles.

Roger saw a spike in sales due to exposure from the show but his company did not last very long without the sharks' money and expertise.

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    © 2018 Jan Michael Ong

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