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Series / Dragons' Den

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If you were following a "Shark Tank" link but were expecting the stock Death Trap instead of the show, that's over at Shark Pool.

Duncan Bannatyne: Apart from the castle, what have you got for your £120,000?
Entrepreneur: You may be able to see a fence here.

Dragons' Den, based on the Japanese TV show Money no Tora ("Money Tigers"), has versions, with varying success, in Japan (the original), the UK (longest running), New Zealand, Israel, Nigeria, Canada (with another exclusive to Quebec), Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, the Arab world, Ireland, the United States (titled Shark Tank), Australia, Germany and Brazil. The format is owned by Sony. The original Japanese show debuted in 2001. A couple of versions have had spinoffs, Junior Dragons featuring kid contestants in Ireland and Beyond the Tank (2015-2016) featuring followup reports on prior contestants in the U.S.

A spinoff for the U.S. Shark Tank that provided more info about what happens to companies after they appear on the show, titled Beyond the Tank, premiered on ABC on May 1, 2015, ordered for ten episodes but airing initially as a three episode miniseries.

Contestants have a set period of time to pitch their business to the eponymous Dragons (businessmen and women of note who operate in the nation). They then have to answer questions. This is where a lot of them fall down, as their big impressive numbers turn out to be guesses. They have to go in with a set amount of funds they want and a percentage of the business they want to give away. One of the rules is they have to get all the money they came for or leave with nothing. They usually give away much more of their business than they hoped.

Part, if not most, of the show's appeal is the utterly-insane inventions and businesses some people put forward (and the Dragons/Sharks absolutely ripping apart the contestants' dreams). Generally speaking, pitches break down into five categories:

  1. The Insane — the product makes no sense, solves a problem that doesn't exist, already has a much cheaper solution, or behaves in a way that is laughable.
    How to stop British drivers driving on the wrong side of the road in France? How about a plain white glove, worn on the right hand!
  2. The Unstable — the product works, but the business (or sometimes the entrepreneur themselves) has serious problems. They might not own the patent or have huge debts... or maybe the owners just intend on spending all the money for their own salaries.
    I have much experience in this field! This will be the third company I have run to try and make this toy!
  3. The Slightly Problematic — the product is good and there are some merits, but due to various issues, the dragons decide that they're out. Perhaps each of them just doesn't feel the business is a good fit for them, or the business is solid but not making enough of a profit to justify an investment, or maybe they have worries about the risks or something in the past history of the business that the business owner or owners just can't shake out of them.
    • A sub-variant on this is The Horrible Presentation — the product or concept is good and solid, but the presentation of the product is absolutely horrible, or they can't handle the questions that the various animals throw at them.
  4. The Uncooperative — they get an offer, but refuse it. Sometimes, they're just being ridiculous, i.e. "I wanted to give away 5% of my brand-new company for £100,000. I refuse to give away 40% just because you know what you're talking about." In certain cases, though, they're probably better off refusing.
    Kevin ("Mr. Wonderful"): "Okay, here's the deal. I'm going to make you an offer, but I want 51% of your equity and a 10 cent royalty on every item sold until I make back my initial investment."
  5. The Successful — they get the deal. The Sunday Times once tried to make a big deal of the fact that some deals never went through after the show, but it didn't really work because the show never made a secret of that fact — both sides have a period of due diligence, and there have been several people who lied about their figures on the show. As Theo Paphitis put it, "I kept up my end of the bargain. The show is not about a cash prize, it is about us pledging to invest. But people must tell the truth. Simple."

A variation that fits in with more than one of the categories above is when at least one Dragon likes the idea, but doesn’t invest, not because of a flaw or the person pitching the deal, but because they are doing so well, they don’t need any investors.

There have been several very successful products that got their start in the Den, not least Reggae Reggae Sauce and a growing set of hardware products owned under an umbrella company by Duncan Bannatyne and James Caan. For the U.S. Shark Tank, the banner products are a cleaning product called Scrub Daddy and a fitness product known as Simply Fit Board. For the Australian version, the banner product currently is a light-up tongue depressor called Throat Scope.

Dragons' Den and its variants provide examples of the following tropes:

  • All or Nothing: Entrepreneurs must secure all of the money they ask the investors for, or they leave with nothing. This is the big catch, because if the entrepreneurs come in with what is considered an "insanely high valuation," i.e. "I want 500,000 in exchange for 10% of my business" (a five million dollar valuation), then they can get skinned alive when the investors instead say that the only way they'd be willing to do it would be to give them $500,000 in exchange for something like 51% of the business, sometimes even joking it would take 120%. The insanely high valuation problem can easily be a big deal-breaker if the investors don't feel that there's any good chance they can get back the money they're going to invest within a reasonable timeframe.
    Kevin: I have to be immortal to get my money back.
  • Animal Motifs: The large majority of the show's various international titles feature a fierce animal: tigers in Japan, and dragons, sharks, and lions in various other versions; all of which emphasize the ruthlessness and ferocity of the investors.
    • Dragons traditionally also have the trait of possessing vast wealth.
    • Sharks are a pun on the "loan shark", an investor who demands large amounts of interest with their return.
    • Some European countries and Kenya, the connotation is ferocious lions (investors) hunting weaker animals (contestants) to receive the Lion's Share of profits.
  • Artistic License – Economics
    • The Dragons called out two women who were trying to set up an all-female building business for this. They were offering 20% equity in two separate companies, and the Dragons naturally assumed this meant 20% of each company, only to discover that they were actually being offered 5% of an established company and 15% of a company that hadn't even started trading yet (Even assuming these two turned out to be of equal value, that's a total of 20% of 200%, meaning they're really only offering 10%). The two women were initially incredulous that the Dragons would have any problem with this, and then when Theo attempted to explain why their 20% figure wasn't valid they accused him of being sexist, sending Theo and Duncan (both of whom have women as over half their workforce) into a blind fury.
    • The Canadian Dragons were once confronted with John "the Engineer" Turmel, who came in talking about how inflation was eroding the value of the world's currency. His presentation to the Dragons advocated that Canada abandon its dollar, which will eventually lose its value, with redeemable poker chips, which would theoretically never lose their value. The Dragons immediately pointed out to Turmel that his solution wouldn't solve anything, since the money the chips could be redeemed for would still lose its value. They also noted that there was no real way they could make any money from Turmel's scheme. There's a reason Turmel holds the world record for the number of failed election attempts...
    • In general, a lot of contestants crash and burn because they failed with economics somewhere along the line.
  • Artistic License – Physics: The UK version has an interesting example. One businesswoman pitched a bandage which cools down the area it is applied to, with the idea that it would help soothe injuries. She described it as being superior to ice for the same purpose, as the bandage "sucks the heat away gradually, rather than trying to force the cold in like ice." Anyone who has done basic thermodynamics in school can tell you that this is not how the universe works, and all "coldness" which we interpret is as a result of heat moving from hotter areas to colder areas, so in a sense all "cooling" works by "sucking" the heat away from things. Interestingly, none of the Dragons noticed anything wrong with this claim and the woman walked away with an investment — because the product idea itself was sound. Packing ice onto an injury can make things worse if done incorrectly, and the only real mistake the woman made was oversimplifying the explanation of how the bandage worked (having lower thermal conductivity than ice) to the point where it ended up sounding like nonsense.
  • Ascended Extra: On the US version Shark Tank, both Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner started out as guest Sharks but ended up becoming regulars.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Season 3 of the Australian version has shown a few entrepreneurs who have admitted to being fans of the show and in at least one case, the reason why they went into business in the first place. One case involved an old lady who ran a gluten-free bakery (wholesale) who openly admitted that she watched the show, was shown gushing over the details as she did the walk down the corridor into the boardroom and appeared to be practically giddy with excitement throughout the show.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    Peter Jones: I don't think it's a bad idea. I think it's a ridiculously stupid, and crazy idea.
    Deborah Meaden: I think you're great, I think it's great, and I think the valuation is crazy.
    Daymond John: If I invested in this, I'd sleep like a baby. I'd wake up every two hours, crying, and asking my Mommy, "where's my money?"
  • Bald of Evil: Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary
  • Baths Are Fun: In the sixth season of the U.S. Shark Tank, two entrepreneurs presented SoapSox, a machine-washable toy to help make bathing fun for kids, which combined a plush toy with a washcloth. They came up with the idea while working in child care when they encountered a kid who refused to bathe because he wasn't allowed to bring his plush toy into the bathtub. The company had some fairly good sales and the Sharks seemed to like a lot of what they heard about the company, but disliked the stated valuation and heard certain other issues that they weren't comfortable with. Ultimately, they were made an offer by Daymond John, but he wanted 33% of their company when they were only offering 10%. They admitted they were hoping to get a deal with him and countered at 15%. Lori and Robert then made an offer a million dollars to simply buy them out, but this idea didn't interest them. Ultimately, they decided to decline both offers, electing to keep their business entirely to themselves. Despite this, their official website still offered a Shark Tank promotion good till a week after the episode's original airdate.
  • Berserk Button
    • American version:
      • Kevin O'Leary and board games. In a 2014 episode, he even took a failed board game entrepreneur up to his personal cabin just so he could burn the board game that was pitched in the den in front of its creator.
      • Kevin O'Leary also cannot stand when a company's cost of goods sold is above four dollars, and almost always harshly points that out and pulls out if that is the case, usually also telling the entrepreneurs to shut down the company.
      • Mark Cuban hates when someone takes his offer seriously, then asks if there are any other offers. He usually pulls out right then and there.
      • Mark Cuban also despises patent trolls. He goes on a massive rant when a lawyer proudly mentions how he had sued companies (Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, etc) for infringing on his patent - for running a wire in clothing fabric. He also refuses to invest in a novelty fake cell phone company because they had a patent on plastic fake cell phones.
      • Barbara Corcoran in season eleven, episode twelve revealed a dislike of entrepreneurs being supported by family and not in danger of losing everything, believing that a lack of urgency holds them back.
      • Robert Herjavec has a large presence in the Cybersecurity space, so he hates when pitches involving tech cannot give a firm answer on how they handle their security, both in terms of data security and countermeasures to hacking.
    • Overinflated business valuations tend to be one for all of the Dragons.
    • Whenever former investment bankers show up, particularly one case where they wanted to start a financial company.
    • Anyone who admits or is found out to intend part of the investment to pay their own salary will find themselves facing the fury of all of the Dragons at once. Typically more of a problem during the earlier series, but eventually people realized just how bad an idea this was, but on the US version, some people STILL admit to taking a salary. It usually does not end well (especially if it's a large salary).
    • Anybody that expects the Dragons to put up a significantly greater amount of money than they themselves have.
    • Anybody who comes to the Dragons for an investment, despite having the money to do so themselves.
    • Anybody who tries to convince Dragons that an industry is an "$x million/billion" dollar industry.
    • Deborah Meaden hates it when people try to bargain percentages with her.
    • Peter Jones hates sloppily-dressed people. His official website profile even says he would never invest in one!
    • Duncan Bannatyne hates smoking, and thinks it's unethical to invest in any products that relate to it.
    • If a company is even borderline illegal, Jim Treliving (former RCMP officer) will not be amused. This is doubly so if it sounds like snake oil.
    • Telling a diabetic (or anyone with a health condition for that matter) that they should stop taking insulin or whatever else they're using to treat their condition because that article you read on the internet says that herbal medication can cure them. A snake oil salesman who tried this got chewed out for making such bold claims. Mark Cuban in particular hates this sort of pseudoscience; on one occasion he actually turned down the free sample positive/negative ion bracelet the entrepreneur handed out; and on another after he chewed out the entrepreneurs of protein bars who made bold claims about weight loss, he told everyone watching not to buy them.
    • The Sharks in the Australian version do not like people who are clearly coming on the show to advertise their product/concept. It doesn't help that those people have typically borked the presentation in some shape or form.
    • The Australian Sharks have also developed another button - people who come off arrogant or smug in their presentation or when answering questions. One guy who had a solid concept and was doing quite well wound up losing all of the Sharks because of this.
    • If you come onto the Australian show pitching a concept and expecting the Sharks to take the risk, Janine Allis will not be happy.
    • Make sure you know the numbers regarding your business (ie. costs of manufacturing, sales, projected profits) or the Sharks will destroy you.
    • Anything that sounds like a pyramid scheme is doomed to be called out as such and booted.
  • Big Eater: Mark. He ate at least three jars (one of which was originally Robert's) of "Wicked Good Cupcakes” during the product’s pitch. He even tried to get some of Daymond's sample!
  • Big "SHUT UP!": One of these comes from Nice(r) Girl Hilary Devey, of all people.
  • British Stuffiness: In the UK version, just about all of the Dragons were mean Brits. Peter Jones, Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis, and Deborah Meaden fall squarely into this category. Simon Woodroffe and Rachel Elnaugh weren't quite as bad, but could certainly turn on the nastiness when needed. Even Doug Richard, who is technically American, could earn an honorary Mean Brit title due to the fact that he could be as nasty as the others, and has resided in the UK for some time. James Caan (no, not that one) is the only real exception to this rule, as he is by far the nicest of the British Dragons (Richard Farleigh was the nicest overall, but is actually Australian). Hilary Devey seems to be covering for Caan as "the nicest one". Piers Linney and Kelley Hoppen also downplay this trope.
  • Brutal Honesty: Some are more brutal than others, but none of the Dragons are the kind to mince words about a product's or company's flaws.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Kevin O'Leary, of the Canadian and American versions, is obsessed with money. He also is very good with it, and knows a ridiculous amount about everything from toys to Greek mythology.
    Kevin O'Leary: So I actually have a little experience in the bee business...
    Lori Greiner: [laughing] In beekeeping, of course you do.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • In UK series 17, Theo Paphitis returns to stand in for Touker Suleyman in some episodes.
    • Arlene Dickinson left the Canadian show after season 9, and returned in season 12.
    • Robert Herjavec had a longer bus ride, leaving after season 6, and returning for season 17. note 
  • Catchphrase
    • The Dragons have an official one, "I'm out." The US (and Australian) Sharks also often use a specific variation of it; prefacing their rejection with an explanation of the reason or reasons why they don't think the business is a good fit for them, ending with "...and so for that reason/those reasons, I'm out."
    • The contestants have developed an unofficial one used when they have been given an offer "Could we have a moment to discuss this?"
    • All the British Dragons (particularly Meaden) regularly use the phrase "Let me tell you where I am," usually when they're about declare themselves out. The US Sharks have also been known to use this.
    • Theo Paphitis: "Why should I risk £x of my children’s inheritance on...?" and any reference to "Mrs. Paphitis"/"Mrs P."
    • Bannatyne: "Ludicrous" and "Ridiculous".
    • Richard Farleigh/James Caan: "Your valuation is ridiculous!"
    • Hilary Devey: "You (would) make my foot itch, mate!"
    • Kevin O'Leary:
      • "You know what matters in this room? MONEY!!!"
      • "Sooner or later, all roads lead to Mr. Wonderful." (Often used if all other Sharks are out and his is the only offer left on the table.)
      • "Stop the madness!"
      • "You're dead to me."
      • "I forbid you to do this."
      • "There has to be a better way."
      • "Kumbaya", done sarcastically in mockery of the other investors trying to be nice and often in conjunction with another sentence (but he sometimes just sings it to ignore the other Sharks/Dragons).
    • Robert Herjavec: A very subdued "Ta-da!" whenever anyone makes a grand unveiling of their product.
    • Lori Greiner: "I can tell instantly if it's a hero or a zero."
    • "There's nothing proprietary about this."
    • "[X], what are you going to do?", with X being either the entrepreneur or a fellow investor.
    • If some of the Sharks start arguing over an investor, Daymond sometimes quietly chants "Shark fight! Shark fight!"
    • Touker Suleyman frequently mentions giving an entrepreneur 'Touker time'. Also, "I don't get out of bed for x%."
    • "Where are you from?" seems to be the catch phrase of Steve Baxter from the Australian version, usually when he first addresses the entrepreneur (albeit done politely).
    • Less of a catch phrase and more of a catch laugh- Robert will quietly chuckle if a valuation is a strange and obviously calculated number (12.5% vs 15%, $36,500 vs $35,000 etc.)
    • "There are no rules in the Tank." - Used on the U.S. version when a Shark does something like going out only to then unexpectedly coming back in.
  • Celebrity Endorsement: It's becoming increasingly common in the US version for contestants to bring in a celebrity that they've met to help pitch their product.
    • One skin product's pitch in the Canadian version had one of the Dragons become a celebrity endorser as part of the deal.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Jim Treliving, toward the end of a Snake Oil Salesman's cure-all pitch, repeatedly calls the salesman's claims "bullshit."
  • The Comically Serious: Sometimes the Dragons are faced with intentionally humorous pitches (such as the pantomime business in series 9).
  • Continuity Nod: The show often provides updates on how previous entrepreneurs are doing with their products, whether or not they got an investment. A couple times in the US version, an entrepreneur actually came back into the Tank to make a second pitch; and the Canadian version will sometimes dedicate an episode where all of the entrepreneurs are returning for another chance.
  • Cool Shades:
    • In Shark Tank, the pitch was for a sunglasses company made from wood that many celebrities use. Daymond backs out because it was cool, saying cool companies like theirs have caused him trouble in investing due to being a temporary trend.
    • In Shark Tank's Season 4 theme/intro, the Sharks each wear them.
    • In the Australian version of Shark Tank, one pitch involved a sunglasses company that used sustainable wood and the concept was sound. Two of the sharks wound up making a massive joint offer, which was accepted.
  • Crossover:
    • The ending of season finale of the U.S. fourth season featured an odd crossover in which Dr. Doofenshmirtz of Disney Channel's Phineas and Ferb appeared to pitch a Shrink Ray. In an acknowledgment, though, of the fact that this probably wouldn't interest most regular viewers of the show, only a brief portion of this was shown, with the remainder of the segment available to view freely on the show's official page on ABC's website. Doofenshmirtz was asking for $500,000 in exchange for 1% equity in his "Shrinkinator" invention. He ended up destroying his own invention by accidentally pushing the self-destruct button, and since it was a No Plans, No Prototype, No Backup deal, that was the end of it.
    • On an episode of The View, some homemakers pitched their products to the Sharks.
    • With an episode of The Neighbors called We Just Jumped the Shark (Tank)!
    • The UK version had a crossover with Top Gear with Jeremy Clarkson pitching a new car model named the P45. Duncan Bannatyne offers him £1 for 1%.
    • Arlene Dickinson from the Canadian version appears as an investor (credited as "Miss Dickinson") in the Murdoch Mysteries episode "Invention Convention" and declares "I'm out!" when Crabtree's demonstration of Murdoch's pneumograph fails.
    • The US version later had Jimmy Kimmel come on and make joke pitches similar to the Phineas and Ferb one, one proposing making pants for horses and another for giant wearable road cones for kids' safety. Just as with P&F, the pitches themselves were shown on TV but the rest of the segments were online.
    • Shark Tank Meets Shark Week, made for Discovery Channel's annual event. Several of the US investors each teamed up with a shark conservation non-profit and made product pitches to each other to decide which one would receive a charitable donation.
    • In an episode of Grace and Frankie, the titular duo go on the American version in an attempt to get funding for their "Rise Up" toilet, designed for individuals who have trouble standing up after using the bathroom. Mark Cuban ends up being the only one to give them an offer, but Grace rejects it because her husband had asked her not to take any money from Cuban specifically.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Kevin O'Leary had this odd habit of personifying money.
    • Some of the contestants who appear on the various incarnations of the show seem to fall into this category.
    • Invoked partly by name on the British show when an inventor pitched the "Shuc", a portable showerhead bracket to use in hotels that didn't have one. After trying unsuccessfully to explain to her that there were next to no practical applications for the gadget, James Caan declared, "I think you're in Cuckooland!"
  • Demand Overload: invokedA common issue; a number of entrepreneurs' motivations for seeking an investment involves needing help to fill the demand they've created for themselves. In followup segments, either on the regular show or Beyond the Tank, multiple investors have noted that demand spiked the night they appeared on the show, and a few unprepared or unlucky ones have had their websites crash from the load.
    • One lady in the Australian version came on admittedly for this reason, however, that concern was soon dismissed when she outlined her sales figures and business plans. The problem? She was in her late 60's and admittedly age was catching up to her. Despite this, the Sharks were very excited by how well she'd done, had nothing but praise for her and Naomi ended up making her an offer which she took.
    • One lady in the US version admitted that her business had boomed so quickly that she was forced to invest her rent money into expanding it, leading to her and her daughter alternating between couch-surfing with relatives and living out of their van.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In later seasons of the British version, the dragons will often say "I'm not investing, so I'm out" when "I'm out" is usually an indication that they're not investing.
  • Didn't Think This Through: A very common pitfall is a product or service idea that sounds interesting on paper, but falls apart when trying to think about how it would practically work.
    • Kardoctor aimed to be an advice hotline for cars. The issue with that became apparent when the Dragons tried to roleplay how a call would go: Since the call centre cannot see the vehicle or be confident in the car owner's technical know-how, their first course of action is to suggest taking the car to a garage, setting the whole situation back to square one.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: The panel on the Canadian version was being pitched a product attached to playing cards to assist in the construction of sculptures with them. They were more interested in the muscular female model that the businessman brought along with him instead.
  • Dramatic Curtain Toss: Some investors like to reveal their product to the Dragons this way. This appears to be more common on the UK version.
    • A variant of this popped up on the Australian version, although it was more like Dramatic Door Open as one entrepreneur rode in on the product he was pitching (a ride-on wheelbarrow) for his entrance.
  • Dumb Blonde: Subverted in one episode of Season 5 of the Canadian Version. One of the entrepreneurs was a blonde bombshell who pitched nut-free cookies. Apparently, even before the entrepreneur had started her speech, Arlene Dickinson had written her off as an airhead and was subsequently impressed by the blonde's pitch as well as her confidence. Arlene then confessed and apologized for her prejudice and was one of the Dragons who eventually signed up a deal with her.
    • Quite a few of the entrepreneurs in the Australian version will fit the stereotype, only to then blow the Sharks away with their pitch, figures or product (or all three).
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Series 1 of the British edition.
    • People had to carry their own products up the stairs, instead of the items being put there by the production team before the pitch.
    • The room was smaller, so there was no space for entrepreneurs to go to the back of the room to discuss deals on offer. (The first series was a real location in London; they switched to using a set for subsequent series.)
    • Duncan Bannatyne and Peter Jones seem to have more tolerance for bad pitches. (No doubt their impatience in later seasons is due to having to sit through hundreds of awful ideas.)
    • It's also a little disconcerting to watch later seasons with the briskly no-nonsense Deborah Meaden, then watch seasons one and two with very soft and rather quiet Rachel Elnaugh as the female dragon.
    • Some pitches in Season One and Two began with entrepreneurs shaking hands with the Dragons.
    • The first few episodes of Shark Tank had the Sharks sitting at a large table. This made the ritualistic "shake hands with an entrepreneur after you invested with them" awkward, because the Shark had to walk all the way around the table instead of just walking directly to the entrepreneur.
    • Seasons 1 and 2 of the Australian version lacked the little "confessionals" where the Sharks would talk about some aspect of business or appearing on the show. The number of pitches also differed slightly between episodes before settling on generally four per episode from around Season 3 on.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: On the Canadian version, the male dragons aren't shy about whistling and cheering when scantily clad models are brought out to demonstrate products. Arlene rolls her eyes at this behavior, but she's more than appreciative when a pitch involves well-built men wearing little clothing.
  • Embarrassing First Name: When the Dragons asked if "Levi Roots" was his real name, he responded that real name is Keith.
  • Everyone Hates Mimes: Mark turned down a wine brand, claiming that it's because a mime was involved in the pitch. When asked if he doesn't like mimes, he flat-out states that "Nobody likes mimes, except for the mimes!"
  • Everyone Has Standards: Kevin O'Leary may admit to being greedy, but even he won't endorse (let alone invest in) a product that's obviously a scam.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Invoked by James Caan in one episode, when rejecting investment in a vest for dogs that stops the animal from worrying about wounds it has:
    James Caan: It kind of looks like it does what it says on the tin. It's probably not something for me.
  • Face Palm: A common reaction to very bad ideas. Mark Cuban in particular does these quite often.
  • Fanservice:
    • The first pitch of Series 11 started with three women in bikinis dancing, in order to show off the product in question (a tanning lotion and cellulite reducing cream).
    • This is extremely common in the Canadian version to the degree that it becomes a running joke that the male dragons are distracted by the dancing models. An entire segment on the behind the scenes episode strings some (but not all) of them together.
    • An episode in the Australian series featured a pitch for a pole-dancing exercise studio, helpfully demonstrated by two dancers in skimpy outfits. Then Janine got up to try some moves, but remarked she wasn’t really dressed for it.
  • The Farmer and the Viper: The scorpion variant was referenced by Kevin when dealing with a lawyer who was being particularly feisty on Shark Tank.
  • Follow the Leader: invokedDiscussed regularly. When a Shark is talking about whether a product is "proprietary" or not, that's the technical term for "Can a competitor copy your product and rip you off?" And not just Shoddy Knockoff Products either; the Sharks sometimes point out that if you are doing something the big-name brands aren't, then once you prove there's money in it they'll adopt the feature themselves and muscle out your smaller brand. The Australian Sharks also have little patience for people who do not have the patents or the trademarks (with one notable exception, where they were more disappointed because the person who had the patent only had 3 years left on it).
    • Shark Tank also had at least one show following its lead. Food Network briefly aired Food Fortunes, which had some format changes (such as a studio audience that their investors can poll) but was still largely Shark Tank for food/kitchen/restaurant businesses.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • Deborah Meaden is the only British Dragon who does not have children, but she is clearly fond of them. She once cheerfully admitted she wasn't really paying attention to a pitch for a type of baby product because she was distracted by how cute the baby was that the entrepreneurs had bought with them.
    • The US Sharks are almost all parents as well; one sure way to get their attention is to have a product aimed at children, or bring some with you to help with the pitch.
    • The Australian sharks seem to be heading this way as well. One company (a family daycare that has a focus on inclusive children) managed to bring one of the Sharks to tears and convinced another Shark (Steve Baxter) to invest on this principle. They've also responded positively to anything that seems to be marketed towards children.
    • Invoked with any product on the show aimed at babies or children - the investors in all versions do NOT have any patience for people who have not had their products safety tested.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Doug Richard and Peter Jones, in stark contrast to Duncan Bannatyne. Steve Baxter is also this to Andrew Banks and to some minor extent, Naomi Simson.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: With Arlene Dickinson's announcement to return to the Canadian Dragon's Den for Season 12, the lineup will now consist of three men and three women.
  • Genre Blind: Anyone who comes on the show and sets their company at a particularly high valuation, especially a million dollars or more, with little or no revenue has no idea what they're talking about. This is easily one of the quickest turnoffs and is immediately evident from watching just a few episodes of the show.
    Peter Jones: Sorry, did I hear that right? You want £150,000 for 1%?
    • One exception were the folks behind Rosterbot from the Canadian version. They came out asking for $100,000 for 2.74%, valuing their company at around $3.6 million. While this is normally a sign of a doomed pitch, the entrepreneurs revealed that they already secured a million dollars in funding at the same valuation from another investment group as well as an additional $100,000 from the founders of Hootsuite. This got Jim, Michael, Arlene, and David excited enough to offer $100,000 each in exchange for 5% for each investor so that they could have more of a say in the company's future.
    • Another exception to the above is the iCapsulate guy from the Australian version, who came on asking for $2.5 million for 15%. Unlike most cases, he had the figures to back up his claim. He got what he came for.
    • Also, any company who comes on the show without a decent presentation or who does not have the entire "founding" team present. One just needs to watch ANY version of Shark Tank/Dragons Den to at least get the idea.
  • Get Out!:
    • Theo Paphitis delivered an epic one of these after an entrepreneur revealed that he owned a company that could have funded his product, but expected the Dragons to take the bulk of the financial risk associated with it.
    • Jim Treliving delivered one to an entrepreneur offering silver laced water, claiming it was a cure for cancer. All the dragons were concerned with the snakeoil pitch, but Treliving was furious at the fact that he was selling false hope.
    • An entrepreneur tried to sell the American Sharks on a "Pavlok" that gave users shocks to stop certain behaviours. Most were uneasy, with Cuban particularly incensed...except for Kevin O'Leary, who made a fairly standard offer. The contestant then stated he would not do a deal with him and would only work with the other sharks. O'Leary told him "You're an asshole, get the fuck out of here."
  • Goshdang It To Heck: Kevin O'Leary has sometimes called bad ideas "poo-poo" instead of some less TV-friendly word for excrement.
  • Graceful Loser: Occasionally an entrepreneur accepts the criticism the Dragons offer as valid. In episode 6 of season 3 of the British version, an entrepreneur selling a child safety product was distraught when Theo Paphitis tore it apart and showed it was a choking hazard. He politely accepted the criticism and agreed to recall his product and go back to the drawing board.
    • Many of the Australian entrepreneurs will accept the criticism and are incredibly polite towards the Sharks. One guy even asked the Sharks for feedback so he'd know what to do better next time (Short version: EVERYTHING. Guy had a good concept, just a less-than-decent presentation). More recent seasons have had the entrepreneurs coming on for mentorship as well as the money.
  • Guest-Star Party Member: On the US Shark Tank, guest investors sometimes sit in on the panel in the place of a regular Shark. Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner both started out this way on the show.
  • Happily Ever Before: Kevin O'Leary's introductions mention how he started what became The Learning Company in a basement and helped grow it into a success that was acquired by Mattel. What the intros don't mention is that the acquisition is considered to be one of the worst of all time and ended up being a multi-billion-dollar loss for Mattel within a year.note 
  • Happy Ending Override: Some companies have managed to get a deal on the show, only to for some reason or another go out of business later. Here’s an (unverified) full list, including no-deals.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: For Shark Tank's 100th episode, Kevin O'Leary, of all Sharks, uploaded a gag reel of Shark Tank moments that puts certain parts of the show in a comedic light.
  • Honest Corporate Executive: The Dragons in general (brutally so). They've all earned their money through legitimate means, and if they find anything about a company or product immoral or legally questionable, that alone is enough of a reason for them to say they're out.
  • Hopeless with Tech:
    • Duncan Bannatyne. He has stated he knows almost nothing about computers, and therefore never invests in pitches that relate to them.
    • Steve Baxter (AU version) owns and runs tech startups and therefore will not invest in pitches relating to technology if the people behind the product do not know anything about the finer technical specifics behind said product (one example was of a guy who was pitching a "Tinder for Tennis". He openly admitted that the person who helped him code the app was still learning. Steve was not amused)
  • Hostile Show Takeover: Done as part of a pitch for a horror franchise in series 10 of the UK version. An entrepreneur starts with his pitch, before being grabbed around the ankle by another entrepreneur wearing a zombie mask from under a covered table. The first entrepreneur runs away, as the second one comes out from under the table and gives his own pitch (for the horror franchise).
  • Humiliation Conga: The pitch for "The Knowledge", a service that allowed people in London to get directions from off-duty taxi drivers, in UK Series 3. It got off to the worst possible start when Peter Jones was invited to try the service out, causing him to spend several minutes on hold without ever getting through, and resulting in him immediately dropping out. Duncan Bannatyne and Richard Farleigh quickly followed after it was revealed that the service was only making £15 a day, with Richard (one of the nicer Dragons in any version) openly deriding it as the worst business idea he'd ever seen on the show. Deborah Meaden then delivered probably the kindest rejection of the pitch, saying that the idea would likely soon be rendered obsolete by advances in technology.note  Finally, Theo Paphitis delivered the coup de grace by pointing out that it'd be easier and probably cheaper to use an actual taxi to get across London.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Peter Jones loves to make bad puns about pitches for ideas he hates. (He never does this for things he is seriously interested in, though.)
  • Idiot Ball
    • One pair of investors in series 9 of the UK version (who had delivered a very confident pitch) had six offers from four Dragons — and managed to get every Dragon to declare themselves out after deciding to stick to their original demand of 25%. Their best offer was for 30%, with a 5% refund if they hit the first year target they had repeatedly declared was easy and realistic.
    • On Shark Tank, an inventor presented the plate topper, a microwavable plate cover. He had a perfect pitch requesting $90k for 5% equity, and within five minutes had 2 offers. One for $900k in return for 30%, the other $1m for 25%. Instead of saying yes to either one, he said he had a different valuation than what he entered with, but refused to state it. In response, the million dollar offer was off the table and the $900k went down to what he asked for. He then said he was initially going to ask for $750k for 5% equity, valuing his company at $15m. His refusal to lower his valuation brought him nothing but abuse from the Sharks and upped the only remaining offer to $90k for 8%, which he settled for (though it later fell apart in due diligence). All the sharks are amazed at how tightly he held onto the Idiot Ball. They even said that the product was probably the best they ever had on the show, and he could possibly walk away with nothing.
    • On the US version of Shark Tank: James Martin, the man behind Copa Di Vino (single servings of wine in pre-sealed cups) would not take a single offer from any of the Sharks and the two sides reached a deadlock. The reason was that the Sharks were interested in the technology behind Copa Di Vino and wanted to invest in order to license the tech to other companies. James was more interested in selling his wine and saw the technology (and the show) as a way to get his wine out to as broad a market as possible. Although the Sharks insisted that a deal would provide James with the freedom to develop different wines to his heart's content, James didn't take any offers and simply walked out. It was later revealed that James had misrepresented himself. He didn't actually own the technology and was merely licensing it so couldn't agree to a deal on the Sharks' terms but wouldn't reveal that fact and simply ran the negotiation around in circles in an attempt to gain publicity.
    • Things for going amazingly for the team behind Jobloft. All five sharks had agreed to invest and were signing the cheque. Seemingly nothing could go wrong for them. Then the team's business professor proceeded to insult all of the sharks, calling their valuation pathetic and insulting Jim Treliving for coming to the meeting in his private jet. The cheque was quickly torn to pieces.
    • On the U.S. show, Wisp founder Eben Dobson received a $500,000 offer from Kevin, while Lori Greiner had offered him some marketing opportunities but no money. Dobson accepted Kevin’s offer but, while he was walking up to shake Kevin’s hand, he turned to ask Lori if she had another offer. Insulted, Kevin immediately declared himself out and Dobson walked away empty-handed.
  • I Have a Family: Used by the owner of Remyxx shoes to appeal to one of the dragons for a 50/50 stake instead of 80/20. It didn't work, but he took the 80/20 deal anyway.
  • I'm Not Here to Make Friends: In the U.S. version, Kevin says this when trying to get one of the businessmen to accept his pitch. "I'm not trying to make friends, Drew, I'm trying to make money. I think we should get in tune with that." In the end, it was Kevin's offer that he took.
  • In Vino Veritas: In an Australian episode, the company Vodka Plus let the sharks sample their product, leading to almost everyone getting a little tipsy. When Naomi asked them why they gave their company a $2.5m valuation, they replied, “Well... we’re drunk.”
  • Ironic Nickname: Kevin O'Leary is commonly nicknamed "Mr. Wonderful". O'Leary himself semi-sincerely argues that the title is apt, as he tries his best to get unstable pitchers to abandon unsuccessful, unpromising ideas which are in many cases bankrupting them and putting their families at risk.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Duncan Bannatyne and Deborah Meaden's attitude towards Reggae Reggae Sauce. To this day, Peter Jones likes to remind them of their prediction.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The Dragons, especially Kevin, are often brutally honest towards the entrepreneurs.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As harsh as the Dragons may be, they typically wish the best for the entrepreneurs.
  • Last of His Kind: Following the departure of Duncan Bannatyne at the end of Series 12, Peter Jones is the last remaining original British Dragon. Ditto for Jim Treliving on the Canadian version when Kevin O'Leary left the show after eight seasons.
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • The Canadian version of the show features Dragons who are friendlier to each other than the Dragons of other iterations. The Canadian dragons will tease each other, joke around with entrepreneurs, and go into joint deals more often than other countries' Dragons.
    • The Australian version is also quite lighthearted towards the entrepreneurs and it goes both ways with many of the presenters encouraging the sharks to actively get involved with the product/concept. In stark contrast to the other versions as well, the Sharks are also incredibly polite to the entrepreneurs and should things go south, they'll still have some praise for them but will at least explain why they're out. That said, Good Is Not Soft is firmly in play here.
  • Loan Shark: These kind of sharks are the ones alluded to in the title, not the fish.
  • The Klutz: Theo Paphitis on the UK version. See Running Gag below.
  • The Magnificent: Kevin is always quick to remind everyone that "they call me Mr. Wonderful".
  • Market-Based Title: The show has various titles internationally for different regional versions:
    • Japan's is Money no Tora ("Money Tigers").
    • Dragon's Den originated in Britain and is used worldwide.
    • Shark Tank started in the US and has spread to several other countries as well.
    • Some European countries and Kenya use Lion's Den or some variant of it.
    • And a number of countries have their own unique titles. The list (translated to English) includes 2 Minutes 2 Million (Austria), The Project (Egypt), Kapital (Russia), Traders (Saudi Arabia), Good Deal (Slovenia), Your Opportunity (Spain), and Wall of Tuskers (Sri Lanka).
  • Mathematician's Answer:
    Theo Paphitis: What have you got a patent for?
    Derek Cozens: Because it's a good idea!
  • Meaningful Background Event: Quite often in the American version, Lori and Robert will be whispering to each other in the background while Mark or Kevin talk. They're also the two Sharks who will go in with each other most often.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Invoked by one entrepreneur in UK series 15: a primary-school teacher, who said she would treat the Dragons as if they were children in her classroom. It didn't get her an offer of investment.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Quite common. It it truly amazing to see the array of completely absurd things some people think will make money.
  • Mock Millionaire: The investors will uniformly be ruthless toward anybody they see as inflating the value of their business, especially if they claim to be worth millions but only have a few thousands in sales.
  • Mr. Exposition: Andrew Banks on the Australian version does this a LOT, usually in relation to the financial side of things (eg clarifying how much the entrepreneur wants and summarising the offers made or number of Sharks in/out)
  • Mr. Fanservice: Peter is considered the most attractive of the male Dragons in the UK series. He admitted in a 2012 interview that female viewers have sent him underwear in the mail.
  • Nice Guy: Strangely for a show of this manner, Brett Wilson of the Canadian version was considered one. He considered less than profitable companies that were unlikely to make large profits, offered lines of credit as parts of deals (thereby reaching the requested value), was generally very supportive of investors, and even donated 1000 dollars for an inventor who kept coming back, just to encourage him to continue inventing. Privately, he does a lot of philanthropy work, and has admitted that his spot on the show was an unlikely prospect because the producers thought he was too nice.
  • Non-Idle Rich: All the Dragons are self-made. An entrepreneur once made a sneery off-hand remark about their children having nannies. Duncan Bannatyne immediately declared himself out, as he was so angry that she made assumptions about how the Dragons lived.
    • In the Canadian version, Jobloft had obtained a deal with all five Dragons, who had just signed their cheque, when the Jobloft team's business professor came in. He proceeded to belittle and insult the Dragons, calling their valuation pathetic and insulting Jim Treliving for coming to the meeting in his private jet. Robert Herjavec was so furious he tore up the cheque.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted in Seasons 1 and 2 of Shark Tank with Kevin O'Leary and Kevin Harrington, although Harrington would eventually be replaced by Mark Cuban.
    • Played straight with the Australian version in most cases however, with Steve Baxter.
  • Only in It for the Money: Kevin O'Leary makes it clear that he's only interested in making a profit above all else.
  • Papa Wolf: All the male British Dragons are fathers, and will immediately criticise any product for children that is not safe. Duncan Bannatyne (father of six) and Theo Paphitis (father of five) tend to be most vocal about their protective feelings towards children. One pitch on the Canadian version became extremely awkward because the entrepreneur was using Jim Treliving's step-daughter as a model, who was wearing a bikini no less! The other male dragons are clearly uncomfortable with the situation as Jim holds his tongue before giving into the urge to go Papa Wolf and ordering the male model to step away from his step-daughter.
  • Pet the Dog: Occasionally the investors will think the entrepreneur doesn't actually need the investment and will be fine without them.
    • One that stands out was in the US version when a premium pogo stick company came in asking for an investment to go mass-market. In contrast to their regular ruthlessness, the Sharks insisted he keep doing what he's been doing and encouraged him to stay high-end.
    • The UK Dragons, while capable of being pretty mean, can be pretty civil when a product or business is working well, but doesn't appear capable of giving the Dragons a return on their investment, or they have other reasons for not wanting to invest.
    • One young entrepreneur had shown a lot of enthusiasm for her business and had invested her own money as well as a loan from her parents' mortgage. However, her product had yet to go on sale, and she had no business plan, prompting four of the sharks to tearfully drop out. Daymond, who could relate to asking parents for a loan, decided to take a gamble on her, offering her $70,000 for 70% of the company, allowing him to handle distribution of the product while taking her under his tutelage.
    • The Australian version also seems to be heading this way. In particular, they will often provide some sort of connection or offer to the entrepreneur that is not what they came for in terms of money, but can still benefit them in the long-term (for example, a "vegan snack food" company had Janine [owner of Boost Juice] agreeing to put them in touch with her buyer). For the child entrepreneurs on the show, they have also agreed to act as their mentor.note 
    • In the US Season 10, the Sharks were presented with a cutting board with easy clean-up features that was invented by a New York firefighter and presented by his children, since he had recently passed away due to cancer gained from cleaning up after 9/11 (and their mother had also died from cancer a few years earlier). The Sharks were so impressed by both the product and the family's story that they quickly put aside any bickering and all five jointly invested in it and pledged to give their shares of the profits to a firefighters' charity.
  • Point-and-Laugh Show: The show can be this on occasion when somebody is allowed to present that obviously is never going to get a deal with the investors. It's fairly clear that there's a large amount of people who want to pitch and only certain ones are allowed on after a fairly strict screening process. However, sometimes they just allow on a pitch that obviously is never going to go through - i.e. ridiculous valuation asked for plus insane concept (or in some cases, insane pitch), simply so that viewers can get their giggles.
  • Product Placement: At least one episode of Shark Tank in Season 4 involved Daymond blatantly pulling out a T-Mobile smartphone to take and share a picture of a stunned Mark. It's continued in later seasons as well.
  • Public Service Announcement: The US version had a PSA included with each episode in one season, warning viewers that scammers were falsely claiming their products were "as seen on Shark Tank!"
  • Pun-Based Title: Japan's Money no Tora is a pun on the nickname of WWII General Tomoyuki Yamashita, "mare no tora", "the tiger of Malaya".
  • Put on a Bus
    • Richard Farleigh was booted off the show and replaced by James Caan when The BBC demanded that one of the Dragons be from an African or Asian ethnic background. This would probably have happened to Caan himself after the BBC decided they wanted another female Dragon to create a better gender balance, though other events meant he left the show anyway (see below).
    • On the US Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington is this, having been fully replaced by Mark Cuban.
  • The Quiet One: On the Canadian version, Jim Treliving often sits quietly and lets the others ask the questions until it's time to make offers or say "I'm out". This has been lampshaded several times.
  • Revolving Door Casting: The UK version managed to keep the same lineup through series 5-8 but otherwise has been prone to a lot of changes (in the most recent series Hilary Devey left after just two series, whilst Theo Paphitis had been there since series two). On the Canadian version, no lineup has lasted more than three seasons, and Jim Treliving was the only original Dragon left as of season 9 until he left the show following season 15.
  • Rule of Cool: This is really the main reason for the lift in the UK version, since it's actually non-functional (the floor indicators go from "G" to "3" and footage of a lift mechanism is inserted to help the illusion, but it really goes nowhere).
  • Running Gag
    • Theo Paphitis breaking the inventors' prototypes.
    • On the U.S. Shark Tank, Kevin O'Leary's supposed experience in a wide variety of industries and occupations that you wouldn't expect him to know anything about. (See Bunny-Ears Lawyer above.) By the eighth season, when O'Leary says that he has experience in the maple syrup industry, the other Sharks Just Smile and Nod and say something like "of course, you do."
    • The Australian version tends to have Glen offering to test the prototype/product and inevitably ends up getting the worst of it and/or breaking it.
    • Of late, Steve Baxter arguing with any of the Sharks in the Australian version.
  • School Is for Losers: On the U.S. Shark Tank, when a kid comes on with a pitch, several Sharks will invariably ask if the kid is ready to quit school to devote their full time to their business. And they're perfectly serious, too.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: In a 2013 edition of the UK show, there was a pitch for a product designed to help people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. Peter Jones deliberated over whether or not to make an offer for a long time, as he wasn't sure about whether or not he wanted to use such an idea to make money, and finally made an offer with the condition that 10% of the annual profits would go to charity. (However, he later abandoned this stance upon discovering that the business was projected to make £1 million by its fifth year.)
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here
    • Rachel Elnaugh officially left the UK show in order to raise her newborn son. Following her exit however, it quickly became known that she actually left due to a combination of none of the other Dragons liking her, and the fact that the BBC were likely going to fire her anyway. Her company Red Letter Days had recently gone bankrupt, which cast doubts on her credibility as a businessperson. (Incidentally, Theo Paphitis and Peter Jones later bought the company while drunk.)
    • James Caan bailed out on the show after a massive dispute with Duncan Bannatyne, caused by Bannatyne effectively accusing Caan of being a tax dodger in his newspaper column.
    • Simon Woodroffe also left when he felt that the other Dragons were becoming more concerned with their egos rather than whether there were any good investments on offer.
    • Brett Wilson of the Canadian version quit after a dispute with the network. In his exit comments, he challenged the show to provide "constructive criticism as opposed to abuse."
    • In an in-episode example, the creator of "Copa Di Vino", James Martin, got a second chance to pitch his wine-in-a-cup. At the end when offers had been given, Martin simply opened a cup and started drinking it. This led Robert Herjavic to immediately go out and walk off of the set, frustrated at Martin's inability to simply take the offers given seriously.
    • John McGrath on the Australian version left after the first season to concentrate on his business, being replaced by Dr. Glen Richards for Season 2 onwards.
  • Self-Made Man:
    • All of the Dragons have made their fortunes from scratch.
    • One guy in the Australian version invoked this during this pitch, explaining that while his dad was a billionaire, he was determined to not rely on his dad for money and to be a self-made man.
  • Shout-Out:
    • In one pitch, Peter Jones offers to give the entrepreneurs jobs in his business. The narration comments:
      It's an astonishing development. Less "I'm in," and more "You're hired."
    • The short "Meet the New Dragons" which opened series 15 used "PJ and Duncan" to refer to Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne.
    • An entrepreneur pitching a Sky Surfing board — or more like sky-wakeboarding, really — on the American version explained that the product invokedwas directly inspired by TaleSpin.
    • In the 2018 UK series, one pitch involved the production of realistic medical dummies. The Casualty theme was used as the background music.
    • When Theo Paphitis returns to the Den in season 17, he jokingly compares himself to Bobby Ewing stepping out of the shower in Dallas.
    • One product pitched in the US was "Beulr", a service that would allow people to ditch online meetings by setting up a pre-recorded video loop in their place. Mark correctly identifies it as being named after Ferris Bueller's Day Off and the line "Beuller? Beuller?".
  • Sitcom Archnemesis:
    • Peter Jones and Duncan Bannatyne. Jones described Bannatyne as "a shit" in Series 1, and doesn't seem to have changed his opinion. Bannatyne says he can't see what Jones' problem is. Bannatyne ended up going down this path with James Caan later on.
    • The Dragons/Sharks are all competitive, but Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec take the cake, with Mark outright stealing deals from Robert, and even admitting, when pressed by Herjavec, that It's Personal. It's somewhat light-hearted, though - they both have collaborated on deals before, and quite often the camera will pan over to Mark or Robert laughing at the other's comments.
    • On the Canadian show, Arlene Dickinson and Kevin O'Leary clashed more and more often as the seasons wore on as Arlene grew tired of what she saw as a lack of morals and compassion in Kevin. Kevin didn't help matters by continuing to claim that money is the bottom line in business, sometimes driving Arlene to tears and causing her to walk off the set in order to collect herself. It got to the point where David Chilton offered to sit between the two to try and get the bickering to stop.
    • Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner in the US version. One episode had Barbara investing in a frozen popsicle business - even bringing Mark on, who admitted he hated the frozen food industry and knew absolutely nothing about it - just to spite Lori.
      Barbara: Why don't we go and knock 'em out? Let's go together and drop the royalty.
      Mark: Yeah, but I don't want to do the work!
      Barbara: I'll do the work! You know it'll work.
      Mark: You'll do the work?
      Barbara: Yeah, let's go and knock 'em out!
    • Steve Baxter and either Glen Richards or Naomi Simson in the Australian version depending on whoever makes the entrepreneur an offer, he will not hesitate to call them out and state why their offers are crazy.
  • Sixth Ranger:
    • Lori Greiner on Shark Tank. After she became a regular in Season 4, the show had six regular Sharks, even though only five still appear on the panel at a time.
    • Also, Arlene Dickinson when she returned to the Canadian version. Despite being on the show before, since her return, the panel actually does feature six Dragons at a time.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: James Martin, who pitched Copa Di Vino single-serving wines twice in the US version. He failed to get any investments because none of the Sharks could stand his arrogance, with Robert even walking off the set during his second appearance. A later retrospective revealed that Copa Di Vino had become one of the more successful companies to come out of the Tank (despite not making a deal), yet none of the Sharks regretted going out since investing would have meant dealing with him on a regular basis. And of course, the success has made Martin even more smug.
  • The Smurfette Principle:
    • The Canadian version with Jennifer Wood in Season 1, and Arlene Dickson from Season 2 to Season 9. Averted afterwards, with both Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow serving on the panel.
    • For the first two seasons of Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran was the only female Shark. This changed somewhat in the third season when Lori Greiner joined, but it wasn't until the fifth season that the two were simultaneously in an episode (in Seasons Three and Four, you would have either Lori or Barbara in an episode, but never both simultaneously).
  • Smug Snake: Kevin O'Leary epitomizes this trope.
  • Snake Oil Salesman: There's a number of contestants who arguably qualify, but the guy who claimed a mixture of water and silver to be a cure-all is an especially egregious example.
  • Somethingitis: In the U.S. Shark Tank, Mark diagnoses the mother and daughter creators of the Marker Parker with "Inventor-itis," as they also show off several other products that they've made, but haven't perfected and don't really have sales for. This is a danger sign because it signals to an investor they have terminal wanderlust and a problem focusing on just one thing and making it great before moving on to the next business idea.
  • Spin-Off Babies: Junior Dragons in Ireland. (Despite the title, it's about child and teenage entrepreneurs, not investors.)
  • Stage Money: The UK set includes ostentatious stacks of banknotes on the table beside each Dragon, which they would occasionally use to illustrate "throwing your money away". The Canadian version also has this as well, often in focus during the openings or in eye-catches.
  • Start My Own: This is the reason many of the entrepreneurs on this show started their business in the first place — they had a problem and couldn't find anything that would solve it well, so they created their own invention/product.
  • Start of Darkness: The Canadian version had a special that detailed the careers and origins of each of the Dragons, and Kevin O'Leary's section described the event that led him to become a self-employed entrepreneur: having been hired to scoop ice cream at a parlour, he was ordered to scrape gum off the floor by his employer. He refused, was fired, and vowed never to let anyone have that kind of control over him again.
  • Stealth Pun: For about the first decade, Peter Jones was introduced in the opening montage as a "telecoms giant". He's REALLY tall. The Australian host (Sarah Harris) seems to be fond of these.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe, while looking at a bike helmet with integrated lights, Duncan Bannatyne asked whether cyclists would really want such a product since bike lights are typically powered off a dynamo attached to the wheel. The other dragons had to tell him that such lights had become outdated decades ago.
  • Terrible Interviewees Montage: Some versions of the show (of which Shark Tank is not one) are broken up with narrated portions of two or three unsuccessful ideas back-to-back in less than five minutes. The Australian one started introducing this in Season 3.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    Duncan Bannatyne: Quite often on Dragons' Den I see people with a product, and we think: the business isn't worthy of investment but the product is worthy of buying, and I think "I'll buy the product". But this one, I wouldn't buy, I wouldn't touch. And sometimes I say to people "We're not going to invest, but I wish you all the best success." I wish you absolute failure on this. I hope it doesn't take off, I hope people don't buy it, I think it's ridiculous, and I hope it fails. So I'm out.
    • Kevin O'Leary's speech to the owner of "Pretty Padded Room" (an online counseling service). He uses a metaphor about how the first seal leaving the beach and being eaten by sharks serves to warn other seals to not go in the water. He proceeds to tell her that she has messed up her presentation so badly by not knowing enough about her "numbers" that she will now serve as a warning to other contestants to never make the same mistake.
    • In UK Series 17, none of the Dragons liked the idea of a company selling intravenous vitamin drips, but Deborah Meaden was particularly scathing:
    This, to me, is everything wrong with the world. The thing we've got in humans, we've just got to look for new and for different. You've made it incredibly expensive. It moves it into a really exclusive area for people who are silly enough to think "I've got more money than sense." Honestly, if you made millions and millions out of this business, I wouldn't have one ounce of regret about not investing. I just don't like it and I don't like its ethos. So you won't be surprised to hear: I'm out.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • The Canadian version featured a company by the name of Ms. Lube by Mechanchix. Presenting a company that blatantly infringes on the trademark of Mr. Lube would have been stupid enough, but it takes some sheer idiocy to present said company in front of a panel that includes Jim Treliving, co-owner of Mr. Lube. Even the other Dragons commented on the inevitability of a lawsuit (with Jim blatantly hinting that one was coming) and, after the episode aired, that's exactly what happened, leading to Ms. Lube going out of business.
    • Again on the Canadian version: the team behind Jobloft successfully pitched their product. The signed check was literally in their hands and Jim Treliving was prepared to use the app in his stores. Then their business professor suddenly decided that he'd try to get his students more money by launching into a lecture about valuations while personally insulting Robert, Jim, and Kevin. The professor only succeeded in torpedoing the deal, with a furious Robert taking back the check and tearing it up.
    • On the Australian version, one guy came in with his recruitment software and the pitch seemed to be going well...until he admitted that he was planning on flipping the business, then selling it off. This resulted in every single one of the Sharks going from elated to downright pissed in a matter of seconds.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: As the U.S. Shark Tank approached $100 million in deals, they began displaying a countdown to this and the episode in which it actually happened was promoted directly as having it happen in it. Actually somewhat justified on the part of the network because they wanted to promote the fact that the Sharks were going to be on 20/20 following the show to celebrate it. However, since it happened on the last deal of the episode, it made it obvious that that business was going to walk away with a deal.
  • Two Girls to a Team: The UK series, with the introduction of Hilary Devey (and later Kelly Hoppen after Devey left after only two series). The Australian version also has two female investors: Janine Allis (owner of Boost Juice and Salsa Mex) and Naomi Simson (owner of Red Balloon) in Shark Tank and had two investors in its run as Dragon's Den. The Canadian version has Manjit Minhas and Michele Romanow starting with Season 10. The American Shark Tank currently has Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner since the third season (officially fourth as Lori was a guest in Season 3).
  • Violent Glaswegian: Duncan Bannatyne is more bitingly sarcastic than violent, but you wouldn't want to get into a punch-up with him. He managed to build a successful ice-cream van business in Glasgow when that trade was "protected" by organised crime, so he can't have been offering free hugs. That, and he once threw an officer off a jetty while in the Royal Navy.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: For his first two seasons, Mark Cuban's introduction didn't specify how he made his money, only calling him the "billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks". Later introductions added "entrepreneur and tech guru" to the list, but didn't get into specifics.
  • Worst. Whatever. Ever!:
    • Duncan Bannatyne has variously stated the white glove idea mentioned near the top of this page or the cardboard beach furniture featured in S01E03 are the worst ideas he's ever seen in the Den.
    • Mark Cuban delivered an epic one to the two brothers pitching Rolodoc, a social media network for connecting doctors with their patients, after they were repeatedly unable to explain how they would get doctors to sign up for it.
    • When British inventor Derek Cozens pitched his idea for a flashing light that attaches to existing traffic sign posts just in case people didn’t see them, and revealed the concept had already been turned down by authorities on traffic safety, the Dragons promptly dubbed it “the worst invention ever to be brought into Dragons' Den”.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: It’s all too common for an entrepreneur to have come up with a creative idea for a product, but fall short when it comes to considering the real numbers it would take to turn it into a viable business plan.
    • Notably, Levi Roots, who would become the UK show's most successful entrepreneur, was an example. He didn't appear to fully understand the terms of the pilot order that he had agreed to prior to meeting the Dragons, and also got confused about the size of the order due to mixing up units (he seemed to be under the impression that the order was for 2.5 million litres of product weighing 25,000 kilogramsnote , the actual order is for 2,500 kilograms). It was ultimately Levi's personality and a willingness to step up to the challenge of scaling up the product that won him a deal.
  • Young Entrepreneur
    • The Den/Tank occasionally features teenagers, to whom the Dragons/Sharks are noticeably nicer than they are to other entrepreneurs. The Dragons also compliment them on being so driven at a young age, and whilst one case didn't result in the entrepreneur (a teenage boy) getting an offer, Duncan Bannatyne informed him he'd be proud if his own son grew up to be capable of doing what he'd done. Shark Tank had an episode in Season 5 dedicated solely to child entrepreneurs, with the youngest of them being six years old. (She was with her father who did most of the talking.)
    • Intriguingly, this is mostly averted by the Dragons themselves, who didn't generally become entrepreneurs until later in life. Duncan Bannatyne in particular cheerfully admits he spent his twenties lounging around on a beach and only doing just enough work to pay the bills. Richard Fairleigh has said that he tried running a lemonade stand as a child, but failed badly. Peter Jones is probably the nearest to this, as he did set up a number of businesses when he was younger; unfortunately they all crashed and burned within months, and he had to settle for working for others until he built up enough money to try again.

Alternative Title(s): Shark Tank