Power Players

'Shark Tank': Why Mark Cuban invested six figures in a company that sells dog food seasoning

ABC/Eric McCandless

Billionaire Mark Cuban has invested over $800,000 in pet-related companies on ABC's "Shark Tank," including vegan dog treats startup Wild Earth and matching dog and human clothing set seller Dog Threads.

And on Friday's episode, Cuban added another one to his portfolio: dog food seasoning company Shake It Pup!

The company has 10 different seasoning flavors, and each bottle has enough seasoning for 30 to 60 meals, co-founders AJ Crook and Brett Maiolfi told the Sharks.

"Sharks, would you enjoy eating the same thing every single day? Of course you wouldn't. And dogs don't like it either," Shake It Pup! co-founder Maiolfi said during the episode. "That's why AJ [Crook] and I created Shake It Pup! dog food seasoning."

He and Crook asked the Sharks for a $100,000 investment in return for a 20% stake in their company.

Before becoming business partners, Crook and Maiolfi met in the second grade.

"We met on the school bus, and our friendship has always revolved around dogs," Crook told the Sharks, sharing that he and Maiolfi bonded as children when his dog passed.

But Cuban was less interested in their backstory and more eager to learn the company's numbers: "Let's get back to business," he said.

And they did. The co-founders revealed that each bottle is sold for $12.99 but costs them $2.45 to make, which impressed the Sharks. The two also said they made $105,000 in sales during their first year of business.

Crook and Maiolfi struggled to keep up with growing demand, as they said during the episode, and shared their issues with producing their product.

"We grew really fast and found traction right away," Maiolfi told the Sharks. "But, we ran into production issues right away. We have invested everything we made into production equipment, but we're not production guys. We cannot produce this ourselves anymore."

But this issue didn't scare Cuban at all.

"It sounds like your biggest inhibitor has just been your ability to make [the product]," he said during the episode. "You have more demand than you can fulfill right now."

Cuban added that his company Wild Earth would work well with Shake It Pup!

"Last year I did a deal with a company called Wild Earth that does organic dog food. Wild Earth has been a great success because dog owners really care about their pet health and will spend anything to do it the right way. I think this would be a great combination," he told the co-founders.

As a result, Cuban offered Crook and Maiolfi $100,000 for a 25% stake in their company, which they accepted.

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Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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