By now we’re all familiar with the hit show that takes budding entrepreneurs and turns them, and their ideas, into lucrative success stories. ABC’s “Shark Tank” stars five titans of industry who have each made a name for themselves in their respective careers. The appropriately named “sharks” are billionaire Mark Cuban, businessman Robert Herjavec, multi-million dollar real estate brokerage founder Barbara Corcoran, 120+ patent holding inventor Lori Greiner, founder, president, and chief executive officer of FUBU apparel Daymond John, and businessman and founder of software agency The Learning Company, Kevin O’Leary (nicknamed Mr. Wonderful), with at least any given four appearing on an episode at a time.
What you might be less familiar with, however, is that there have been a plethora of Caribbean business leaders appearing on the show throughout its 14-season run. Here are the top 10 Caribbean entrepreneurs who have appeared on the reality show, and where they are now.
Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste | Kreyol Essence
Haitian American married duo Yve-Car Momperousse and Stéphane Jean-Baptiste brought their skincare company, Kreyol Essence, on Season 11 Episode 11 of “Shark Tank.” Their pitch for a $400,000 investment with a 10% stake in the business included a full display of artisans showing how they harvest, hand-select, press, roast, decant and filter their company’s “liquid gold,” more commonly known as Haitian black castor oil.
The sharks were presented with custom boxes of Kreyol Essence’s best selling products, including their Body Creme and ground coffee body wash. Though four sharks pulled out for lack of clinical trials, expertise in the beauty space, scalability and for concern of becoming just another product in an already competitive market, Kevin O’Leary was most impressed with the sales figures and projections. He offered the couple $400,000 at 37%, with which Momperousse was unimpressed.
Aside from the push for profit, the two were emotionally adamant that the company takes a step in the right direction to combat poverty, specifically in a struggling Haiti. After much negotiation, Kreyol Essence secured $400,000 from O’Leary for 5% equity and a royalty of $.25 on each unit sold. Since the episode’s airing, the skincare company is doing well, with products now being sold by major retailers like JCPenney and Ulta Beauty.
Junior Desinor | Toor Lockbox
Season 8 Episode 8 starred investor Chris Sacca as a guest shark, and he definitely made an impression once real estate agent Junior Desinor came into the tank. The Haitian American pitched the Toor Lockbox, which would allow a potential homebuyer to tour a house without having a real estate agent present. Through the company’s app, the lockbox allows agents to upload their properties and give access to potential buyers who might want to tour. Once on site, a potential buyer who is already in the system just has to alert the agent to open the lockbox from wherever they are by pushing a button on the app.
Desinor came in asking for a $500,00 investment for 10% equity for his smart lockbox. While Sacca was adamantly against the idea, both Barbara Corcoran and Kevin O’Leary shared an investment of $200K for 10% and a loan of $300K. After leaving the room, Sacca and Mark Cuban fought over the practicality and ingenuity of the product, with Sacca claiming a very similar product is already on the market. All that aside, unfortunately Toor never amounted to much. After the show aired, Desinor decided to decline Corcoran and O’Leary’s offer and the lockbox’s sales plummeted. But Desinor himself has remained committed to entrepreneurship, even opening a high-end CBD company called City Naturals with his wife in 2020.
Joshua Esnard | The Cut Buddy
St. Lucian immigrant Joshua Esnard appeared on Episode 7 of Season 9 pitching his product, The Cut Buddy, a grooming tool that would take the guesswork out of cutting your hair at home. With precision guides, the multi-curve tool allows men to shape up their hairline or beards easily and with confidence. Esnard shared with the sharks that this product was a personal victory for him, as growing up his parents didn’t let him go to a barber, which meant he started cutting his own hair at a very young age.
Though impressed with the product, the sharks were even more impressed with Esnard’s sales for the year, which amounted to $700,000 and 60,000 units in 2016 alone. Esnard was asking for $300,000 for a 10% stake in the company, and he eventually cut a deal with Daymond John for half his ask at $300,000 for 20% equity. Within a year of the deal, the Cut Buddy forged a partnership with Andis Clippers (one of the oldest distributors of hair tools in America), made their way into 10,000 stores and became one of the top sellers on Amazon. The Cut Buddy is still on the market, doing exponentially well, and Esnard is also now part-owner of a family-owned North Carolina truffle farm.
Alexiou Gibson | The Transformation Factory
Bahamian entrepreneur Alexiou Gibson made his appearance on Season 13 Episode 24 of “Shark Tank” and got a deal of a lifetime with actor and guest shark Kevin Hart. The former 500+ pound Gibson shared with the panel that in his journey of losing weight and improving his health, he discovered sea moss, a type of seaweed that contained 90% of the body’s essential minerals and nutrients. This inspired his company, The Transformation Factory, that bottles different flavors of sea moss gel for consumption.
Although the taste of the sea moss was surprisingly great, what really shocked the tank was Gibson’s sales records, with $3.5 Million in sales over a period of 11 months with a 35% profit margin. All sharks were in, with offers flooding in from Hart, Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban and “Mr. Wonderful” himself. Though Gibson’s ask was initially $500,000 for 5% ownership, he eventually negotiated a dual deal with Hart and Cuban for $600,000 at 20%. Following the episode’s air date, Gibson did five months worth of sales in three days. Gibson officially closed Hart and Cuban’s deal in October of 2022, so we’ll see what’s in store for The Transformation Factory.
Noel Durity | Twist it Up Comb
Trinidad-born entrepreneur Noel Durity finally made it onto Season 10 Episode 12 of “Shark Tank” after auditioning three times before. His product, the Twist it Up Comb, is a pocket-sized tennis racquet-looking tool designed to create and manage twists on Afrocentric hair. The product had done well up to Durity’s pitch in the tank, with over $100,000 in sales in the previous four months alone.
Presented with a fully choreographed dance routine, Mark Cuban and Daymond John were both sold on the idea, and negotiated a joint investment of $225,000 for 25% equity, specifically contingent on getting a licensing deal. Though Daymond was hesitant, Cuban sweetened the pot and pledged to pick up the tab on any remaining amount, should the licensing fall through. Durity accepted the deal and has since experienced a huge boost, continuously seeing around $6 Million in sales per year.
Dr. Juan Salinas | P’nuff Crunch
Originally from Honduras, scientist Dr. Juan Salinas made his snack dreams come true in the final pitch on Season 12 Episode 2. The healthy peanut snack called P’nuff Crunch is made from high quality plant-based protein with limited sugar, healthy carbohydrates and fiber. After getting kicked out of multiple facilities due to risk of allergen contamination and food safety from the peanut oils, Salinas decided to purchase his own facility, which resulted in a lower sales figure than the sharks were expecting.
Surprisingly, Mark Cuban chimed in that he was already familiar with the snack as his wife had actually bought a bag before. He continued to tell Salinas that he sat down and ate the whole bag because of how good they were. Though he originally was asking for a $300,000 investment for a 10% stake, Salinas made a deal with Cuban for $400,000 and a 25% stake.
Since his 2020 “Shark Tank” debut, the deal with Cuban never officially closed, but P’nuff Crunch is currently doing well regardless with an annual revenue of $1.5 Million as of November 2022 and stock available at Amazon, WalMart, Target, The Vitamin Shop and other major retailers.
Maria del Carmen Luna and Hector Rodriguez-Luna | Bravo
Married Puerto Rican couple Maria del Carmen Luna and Hector Rodriguez-Luna brought their new-age payment platform concept to Season 9 Episode 9 of the hit show. Their app, Bravo, allows the general public to tip street musicians, bartenders, drivers and more with no cash involved. Bravo allows you to use proximity or a simple name search to send money to your recipient with no personal information involved, making it safer than more well known apps on the market like Venmo or Paypal. The Luna team even brought on famous singer, songwriter and Madonna’s guitarist Monte Pittman as a demonstrative element for the pitch.
With an impressive $1 Million in sales accumulated so far, the duo originally asked for $150,000 for a 5% stake in the company. After three sharks dropped out due to questions of sustainability, lack of understanding and feeling the product requires more investment than the duo was prepared for, Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner were the only remaining investors. The two struck a deal of a shared investment of $150,000 for a 10% stake in the company plus 4% advisory shares. Although the deal was never finalized after the show’s airing, Bravo went on to make a few million dollars and eventually rebranded to BRAVO Pay, a brand monetization platform.
Mabel and Shaira Frías | Luna Magic
Season 12 Episode 10 saw Dominican sisters Mabel and Shaira Frías fight for their indie beauty and lifestyle brand, Luna Magic. The pitch included an emphasis on the three B’s: Bueno, Bonito y Barato, standing for great quality, beautiful packaging and great prices for their brand.
The sharks were stunned by the brand’s low product sales record of just $16,000, but the Frías sisters mentioned that they recently partnered with a subscription box company that submitted a purchase order of over $400,000 for their custom makeup brushes, ending up with just over $57,000 in profit from that endeavor and an extra $30,000 from a separate grant. They also revealed to the sharks that they had just secured a deal with Walmart to get into over 1,000 of their stores.
The Frías sisters were seeking $200,000 for 10% equity in the company. After other sharks, including New York Yankees shortstop and guest shark Alex Rodriguez, dropped out due to the oversaturation of the market, the amount of work needed or conflicts with similar products already invested in, Barbara Corcoran was the only investor to make an offer. The Frías sisters ended up walking away with a deal of $250,000 on a credit line for 30% equity of the company. So where are they now? Luna Magic is still doing well with new product lines added and growing sales numbers on Amazon and Walmart.
Olivier Noel | DNAsimple
On Season 9 Episode 12, Penn State College of Medicine research student Oliver Noel pitched funding for his genetics research company, DNAsimple, of which he is the CEO and founder. The Haitian American geneticist, who was working towards an M.D. and Ph.D and holds a Forbes 30 under 30 title, pitched his business as a way to streamline the process of genetic research by providing an opportunity for the general public to supply samples. Participants would fill out a questionnaire online and be matched with a researcher interested in studying their DNA. If chosen, the donor would be sent a kit, swab themself at home, send their sample back and be compensated $50 for undergoing the process, all while remaining anonymous.
Noel garnered the attention of guest shark Richard Branson and investor Mark Cuban, both of whom made offers. Noel was more interested in Cuban’s offer, however, and the two went through a sequence of negotiations until they both agreed on Cuban investing $200,000 into the company in exchange for 15 percent equity.
Though the company is still up and running, Noel has made other new strides in his life. He recently became a husband and father, and in 2021, he officially entered Yale’s Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery residency.
Robbie Cabral | Benjilock
In 2017 Dominican entrepreneur Robbie Cabral appeared on “Shark Tank” Season 9 Episode 4 to seek funding for his hybrid technology padlock. The brand, named Benjilock, was a new concept that came to Cabral when he started going to the gym regularly to help with his mental health and realized that people would forget their locker combinations and lock up essential items like phones or house keys. From there, he started working on a padlock that could be opened by traditional keys or a fingerprint, which led him to creating Benjilock.
He came to “Shark Tank” somewhat accidentally, as the show was holding auditions in the same hotel as a technology show he was attending. After being selected, Cabral entered the tank asking for $200,000 for 10% equity in the company. All of the sharks were interested, with three offers eventually made by Lori Greiner, Kevin O’Leary, and a dual offer by guest shark Alex Rodriguez and Barbara Corcoran. Cabral went with his gut and chose to partner with Mr. Wonderful.
Was it the right choice? After the show, O’Leary guided Cabral to a licensing play. Benjilock partnered with Hampton Products International, the makers of BRINKS locks, and the patented technology was made available in products sold at Walmart, Home Depot, Lowes, Amazon and other major retailers. The company is now thought to be worth more than $4 Million.
Watch the full playlist on the Island Origins YouTube Channel.