Get All Access for $5/mo

How Daisy Cakes Reeled in a 'Shark' 'Shark Tank' judge and investor Barbara Corcoran named a southern cake-making business as her best investment on the show. Here's how that baking entrepreneur's pitch stood out.

By Diana Ransom

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

How Daisy Cakes Reeled in a SharkKim Nelson may have learned how to bake from her grandmothers and her aunt, but wrangling money away from a shark is a skill she picked up all on her own.

In a recent episode of ABC's Shark Tank, judge and investor Barbara Corcoran -- against the advice of her fellow judges -- agreed to hand over $50,000 to Nelson, who owns Daisy Cakes, a cake-making business out of Spartanburg, S.C. Although Nelson had to give up 25 percent of her company's equity in the process, she came away with funding, instant notoriety and spate of new orders.

What's more, Corcoran herself says Nelson and Daisy Cakes is her best investment on the show to date. "Daisy Cakes has been selling over 10,000 cakes a week from the day she appeared on Shark Tank. Prior to that, she had sold roughly 1,000 cakes over two years," says Corcoran.

So how did she reel in a shark when her business was merely a guppy? Here are four ways Nelson's pitch stood out:

1. A quality product: Nelson says her secret for baking delicious cakes is simple. All you need is hand-sifted flour, farm fresh eggs and a personal touch. And though all of the judges on Shark Tank proclaimed Nelson's cakes as the best they've ever had, everyone -- save Corcoran -- passed on the investment. Corcoran says she noticed something: "When you passed your delicious cake around, every guy here ate more than 50 percent. But after each of these guys dropped out, they bent forward and had another bite." So in spite of her reservations about Daisy Cakes pint-size, Corcoran decided the product was good enough to merit an investment.

2. Sales: Though modest, Nelson was able to demonstrate an impressive level of sales. From October through December last year, Daisy Cakes had amassed a little over $27,000 in sales after appearing at just three holiday shows in Baton Rouge, La., Lafayette, La., and Houston. She was also able to tout a recent deal with Whole Foods where she would soon sell her packaged lemon curd.

3. Ability to scale: Though many of the Shark Tank judges weren't convinced, Nelson did make a case for being able to bake more cakes if demand suddenly surged. She noted that she uses a commercial kitchen and had the ability to produce 5,000 cakes in 30 days. What she didn't have, however, was a more concrete plan for how exactly she would put investors' dollars into action

4. Passion and sales savvy: Nelson has "the best tasting cake this side of the Mississippi, no doubt," says Corcoran. "But what she really has is inordinate passion and the ability to sell her product." That, she adds was the first thing that attracted her to Daisy Cakes. "I've never seen a business that's succeeded that didn't have a salesman at the helm," Corcoran says.

What qualities helped your business's funding pitch stand out? Let us know in the comments section.

Diana Ransom is the former deputy editor of

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

You Can Now Apply to Renew Your U.S. Passport Online — But There's a Catch

The U.S. State Department officially launched the beta program this week.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.