Mark Cuban Regrets Passing On This One Shark Tank Deal

Over the years, the rotating panel of investors on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank" has been presented with a dizzying array of business proposals. Certain products like smartphone apps, food, and clothing are frequently recurring, but it's not every day that viewers see a pitch about flowers. Yet, that's precisely what happened when Bouqs appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2014, and it turns out it's a deal Shark Mark Cuban regrets missing out on.

Bouqs was founded by John Tabis and Juan Pablo Montufar, the latter of whom grew up on a farm in Ecuador and witnessed firsthand the clunky process of getting flowers in the hands of end-users. In comments made to ABC News, Tabis explained, "Flowers are largely sourced ... out of Ecuador and Colombia and, as a result, have a very long and convoluted supply chain. They go from farmers to exporters to importers to wholesalers to florists and then you buy them from some website."

The budding company's strategy was to deliver floral arrangements directly from farm to consumer, yielding not only lower prices for consumers but fresher flowers and more rapid payment to the farmers. Additionally, Bouqs promised no extra fees, such as delivery charges.

The ask was too high

Bouqs co-founder John Tabis appeared on Season 5, Episode 27 of "Shark Tank," to pitch Bouqs' offering of direct flower delivery. While the Sharks seemed receptive enough to the concept, there were some significant drawbacks pointed out. Real estate magnate Barbara Corcoran declined to invest in Bouqs mainly because she disliked the company name, Bouqs (rhymes with "kooks"), which is also difficult to spell. Frankly, we at Money Analysis have to agree that the name isn't optimal. Shark Lori Greiner, meanwhile, also made the observation that there are little-to-no barriers to entry for competitors to replicate Bouqs' business model, if successful. Those observations aside, most of the Sharks simply felt that Tabis asked for too large of an investment for too little stake in the company.

Specifically, the offer was for 3% ownership in Bouqs in exchange for an investment of $258,000, which implied a value of approximately $8.6 million for the entire company. Like so many "Shark Tank" presenters before him, Tabis justified the valuation by pointing to growing sales from the then 10-month-old company. Besides Bouqs being a pricey risk, Mark Cuban — entrepreneur and owner the Dallas Mavericks basketball team — also didn't like the fact that the company was already in the process of raising capital from other investors, rendering his investment as just one-in-a-crowd or "dumb money," as Cuban said on the show.

Bouqs got a second chance off-camera

As you've probably already guessed, all of the Sharks declined to invest, and John Tabis and Bouqs left without a deal, but that's not quite the end of the story. Three years after Bouqs' appearance on "Shark Tank," investor and cybersecurity expert Robert Herjavec reached out to Tabis for advice on purchasing flowers for his upcoming wedding to Herjavec's "Dancing With the Stars" partner Kym Johnson.

Tabis educated Herjavec on the flower business in general and, more specifically, why conventionally sourced flowers were so expensive. This time around, Herjavec had a better appreciation of the information and decided to invest in a round of funding worth $24 million. In comments to ABC News, Herjavec joked, "And most importantly, I saved a ton of money on my flowers for my wedding."

Mark Cuban, on the other hand, expressed some regrets. "That's the one I regret not doing, 'cause that's a deal I would've loved," stated the entrepreneur. More recently, Bouqs has delivered more than 140 million individual "stems" worldwide and expanded its business to Japan in 2021, a market estimated to be worth over $7 billion (via Floral Daily).

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