Mark Cuban says many of his ‘Shark Tank’ investment deals are flops


After 13 seasons on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” Mark Cuban reckons he’s had about as many hits as misses.

Some of his on-screen offerings have worked very well, he says. Others, not so much. Such is the risk of investing. But even when it comes to who ultimately left him scratching his head, Cuban told CNBC Make It he has “no regrets.”

By Cuban’s own estimate, about one in four of his “Shark Tank” deals “worked great or crashed it,” he told a local Denver ABC affiliate on Friday. “Fifty percent…have been good and keep going, and 25 percent where I’m just like, ‘What was I thinking?'”

One notable example: Cuban highlighted the Breathometer, touted as “the world’s first smartphone breathalyzer,” as his worst “Shark Tank” investment yet. Cuban said he lost around $500,000 on the deal, having invested in the company in 2013.

“That was my biggest beating,” Cuban told CNBC Make It in July.

In total, the billionaire investor closed more than 200 on-screen deals worth more than $61 million during his time on the show, according to a recent online estimate. On Monday, Cuban told Forbes that the actual figure was closer to $29 million: not all of the trades featured on the show reach close.

Cuban says his “Shark Tank” deals aren’t always just about generating big financial returns. “I’m okay with that with my ‘Shark Tank’ companies”, Cuban wrote on Twitter in July. “I don’t do the show to get the best investments. And I don’t always invest because I think I’m going to make money. Sometimes my offers are purely to help someone or send a message.”

That’s why he doesn’t seem to mind that he’s not yet in the dark when it comes to his total investments in the show. In July, Cuban told the “Full Send” podcast that he had suffered a net loss on all of his “Shark Tank” investments so far. He later clarified that he meant “on a cash basis”, only taking into account investments he has already exited.

“I haven’t exited more than I’ve invested. But that doesn’t take into account all the companies that are in operation and their valuations,” Cuban told CNBC Make It at the time.

Failed trades are inevitable in investing, according to Kevin O’Leary, another “Shark Tank” star. “You make 10 investments, you get two to three huge hits. And it pays off for the other seven [failed investments]”O’Leary told CNBC Make It last month.

Still, Cuban says he’s starting to think about when he should step away from “Shark Tank” to focus on his own businesses, including new online pharmacy Cost Plus Drugs.

“Part of me wants to quit,” Cuban told Forbes on Monday.

The investor offered no timetable for when he might leave the popular program, but said the show could likely resist his exit: “They’ll survive fine without me.”

Disclosure: CNBC has exclusive off-network cable rights to “Shark Tank.”

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