By Bill Murphy Jr. -Huff Post Small Business
Nearly 400 entrepreneurs have pitched the sharks since the show debuted in 2009. Recently, I set out to study almost every single one of them. I took an afternoon and poured every pitch from the show’s first five seasons into a spreadsheet, tagged and analyzed them, and tried to draw some conclusions.
(This column might make more sense if you take a quick look at my chart on 377 pitches that have been made on Shark Tank over the past five years.), which highlights some of the preliminary results of my analysis of
Here’s what I learned.
1. Your odds are as good as anyone’s.
Let’s start by establishing a baseline. Out of 377 pitches that I reviewed, 185 were successful — meaning that the entrepreneurs on the show reached a handshake deal with at least one shark to invest in their company. That works out to a pretty amazing 49 percent success rate.
Of course, only a small percentage of entrepreneurs who apply for the show get picked to appear to begin with–0.4 percent, according to the show’s producers. Even after a deal appears to be struck, there is usually an intense due diligence process that kills many — maybe even a majority — of deals.
2. Bigger markets are better.
I used seven categories to characterize each of the entrepreneur’s pitches, and the most consistent predictor of success was “mass market.” An amazing 78 percent of the pitches we tagged in this category were successful.
Granted, there were a number of pitches where the sharks held back because they were wary of getting into a big industry dominated by big players. However, where all else is equal, the sharks wanted to see massive potential for growth. If you don’t have a big potential market, that’s hard to demonstrate.
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