When Blueland’s founders enter the “Shark Tank” in Season 11, they seek $270,000 in exchange for just 2% of the company, inputting a $13.5 million valuation that already had Mark Cuban’s eyebrows up to his well-kept hairline. After all, it’s very similar to the $12 million valuation Simple Habit tried to sell him on back in Season 9. And while Blueland’s business — which is selling dissolving cleaning-solution tablets that mix with water in reusable bottles — is a bit more solid than the suspicious meditation app, he couldn’t buy Blueland’s asking price.
On “Shark Tank,” a gold digger is an entrepreneur who comes on the show only for the free advertisement it offers. Because of the “Shark Tank” Effect, even businesses that don’t secure deals with the investors end up seeing a significant bump in sales. Thus, if the entrepreneur is confident in their product and has no real desire to partner with someone on the panel, they might offer an immovable and borderline discouraging buy-in (such as Simple Habit’s $600,000 for 5%). The situation is a win-win for the entrepreneur, as they either get a large investment without giving up much of their company or a free infomercial, broadcast to millions.
Cuban seems especially frustrated by this phenomenon, as he told Forbes in 2023 that even some of his successful on-air deals turned out to be gold-diggers off-camera, leading to the partnership evaporating. Now, when he senses one on the show, Cuban has taken to openly ridiculing them, likely to make the appearance as negative as possible should it air. We can see shades of this in his incredulous and over-the-top reactions to Blueland’s negotiations — but there’s more to this story in particular.