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With Mark Cuban's help, cat-drawing entrepreneur hits the jackpot

Steve Gadlin wants to draw a cat for you. Just so there's no ambiguousness about it, he named his company I Want to Draw a Cat for You.

As it turns out, the self-professed two-dimensional cat expert is allergic to cats. Luckily, that didn't stop him from grossing more than $200,000 as a result of his appearance on "Shark Tank." His visit to the tank wasn't exactly typical, but a guy who spends all the livelong day drawing cats wouldn't be either.

Steve Gadlin
Source: Liza Hughes | CNBC
Steve Gadlin

"I sent them a two-sentence email and said, 'Hey guys, I draw stick-figure cats—lemme at 'em,' " he said. "I fully expected to get a funny rejection letter." But within months, he was in Los Angeles, pitching to the sharks.

"I keep expecting them to tear me apart because I've seen them eviscerate people with far more sound business ideas than mine," he said. "But I kept talking through it and they kept taking me pretty seriously. And as I was waiting for the hammer to drop, Mark Cuban jumps up and says let's do business together."

Steve Gadlin during taping of show
Source: Liza Hughes | CNBC
Steve Gadlin during taping of show

Gadlin's initial proposal was 25 percent of his company for $10,000, but Cuban upped the ante to one-third ownership for $25,000. The business has gone on to gross more than $200,000 in the first year since the show, but the first $25,000 was the artist's favorite.

"I had set up that (Cuban) was going to wire this money into my bank account," he said. "I set up an alert on my phone for any transaction that was over 'X' amount of dollars. One day I'm sitting at my day job and my phone buzzes and I look at my phone and it says '$25,000 deposited from Mark Cuban Companies.' It was one of the coolest moments ever."

—By Liza Hughes, Special to CNBC.com. Follow Liza @Liza_Hughes.

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Meet the Sharks

  • Mark is the highly successful entrepreneur and investor who founded HDNet, Broadcast.com and MicroSolutions.

  • Barbara Corcoran parlayed a $1,000 loan into a five-billion-dollar real estate business.

  • Lori Greiner started with one idea and turned it into a multi-million dollar international brand.