Now in its eighth season, ABC's reality TV show "Shark Tank" is hitting an impressive milestone with the episode airing Friday night: The sharks have made $100 million worth of investment offers on the show.
Since the show first aired in 2009, more than 600 entrepreneurs have ventured into the "tank" to pitch their business ideas to a rotating panel of investors, or "sharks," according to a statement from ABC announcing the milestone. (Not all investment offers made on the show end up closing.)
The deals offered on the show have funded businesses that have, in turn, created more than 10,000 jobs, according to interviews with sharks published on the show's Facebook page.
When he was first asked to participate, FUBU founder Daymond John says he thought for sure the show would flop.
"I never thought that 'Shark Tank' would exist. Ever. I thought it was going to be a failure," says John, who addressed the Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit in February . "Nobody wants to listen to five businessmen and women talk! Who wants to watch that?"
John agreed to be part of the pilot so that he could get access to the show's producer, Mark Burnett, to pitch his own concepts for TV shows. As it turned out, John's ideas didn't pan out, but "Shark Tank" did.
"The show resonates with audiences because it embodies the American Dream and I think it inspires people to go out and take a chance," says billionaire investor Mark Cuban , owner of the Dallas Mavericks.
"We tap into people's desire to better themselves or their lives. Everybody wants to do better. It's the human condition," says investor Robert Herjavec, an investor on the show and the founder and CEO of the cyber-security firm the Herjavec Group.
John isn't the only participant who was surprised by the show's success.
"No one knew when we started this journey where it would go," says investor Kevin O'Leary, who launched SoftKey Software Products from his basement. "It's now created over 10,000 jobs. It's helped people create businesses that had nothing when they arrived in the tank that are doing tens of millions and hundreds of millions in sales."
"I think if I were to crystallize what's really occurred, it's ignited a spark of entrepreneurialism in all ages in America," says O'Leary.
While the entrepreneurs who have appeared on the show have benefited both from the investment and the publicity, the sharks have been inspired, too.
"It is absolutely amazing, the innovation that we see on 'Shark Tank,'" says John.
Herjavec tells CNBC that his reason for being on the show has evolved over time.
"It is undeniable that we all have egos that like to be fed, and when we first got on the show, that was cool: Being recognized, getting great seats at a restaurant and so on. But it quickly becomes work, and then you ask yourself, 'Why do I do this?'" he says.
Herjavec remains involved with "Shark Tank" because he hopes to inspire both the entrepreneurs who pitch on the show and those watching at home.
"For me, it was the idea of helping others. I am in immigrant who came here on a boat with my Mom and Dad and one suitcase. And look what I have been able to build!" he says.
"There is nothing special about me – Mark, Kevin any of us – and that is the great thing about America. As difficult as the times are today, this country is built on people who came to these shores with nothing and risked everything to build a better life," Herjavec continues.
"Every week when I sit there, I hope someone looks at one of us and says, 'If they can do it, why not me?' Indeed, why not!!"
Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."
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