A savvy $225,000 investment is currently serving Mark Cuban’s best interests one year later. He took to a promising startup on the popular show Shark Tank, where he’s featured as an angelic force who uplifts companies suited to hunt down their goals.  

Friday saw the premiere of an episode of ABC’s Shark Tank where the couple showcased the company Wondry, a Black-owned wine label that Cuban took on about 11 months ago. The revenue from the startup has already quadrupled to an impressive $1.1M, with Cuban at the helm as lead investor. Co-founders Whitney and Chaz Gates reported their earnings to the audience, making a statement that other aspiring startup owners can cite for their own entrepreneurial endeavors. Now, they are looking forward to better and recurring annual reports for the foreseeable future, at the very least. 

Since November 2022, when the original deal was made, there’s been an outstanding leap in the company’s ability to yield a substantial profit. At that time, the couple noted they had successfully reeled in approximately $250,000 of lifetime sales, $60,000 of which were profitable. They pitched to Cuban, landing them $225,000 in resources for 15% of the Dallas-based project. 

According to them, there are no regrets since closing the deal last year. The results send a clear and concise message that taking Cuban’s deal was the right move. 

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“Before Shark Tank, we were just a local Texas business,” said CEO Whitney. “But after, we became a nationally recognized brand overnight.”

Shark Tank presented the couple with a unique bundle option of effective exposure, infrastructure investment, and networking connections that are almost unparalleled in business today. The initial investment was sought because the couple found themselves stuck doing manual labor on their 1,400-square-foot facility and were looking to buy an automated bottling line. 

A short two weeks after the investment in 2022, Cuban connected the co-founders to national alcohol distributor Southern Glazer’s, according to Chaz. This move brought Wondry to the shelves, landing coveted space in restaurants, retailers, and airlines across the country. This increased the need for a speedy technological upgrade in the production facility—a factor the team was now adequately prepared to address. 

Now, Wondry takes up an impressive 10,000-square-foot space. Its products can be found in over 400 stores across the nation, offered by 50 additional reputable retailers than were present at the time of the original deal.

From a humble start, the dedicated husband-and-wife team put $100,000 of their own money into launching Wondry in August 2021. They put their savings on the line with courage, passion, and fervor, and it paid off. The couple have taken the pretentiousness out of wine, prioritizing high-quality ingredients and poising their product for an industry breakthrough. 

According to recent studies, Mr. and Mrs. Gates are helping redefine the sector itself, as only about 1% of wine labels in the United States are currently owned by Black entrepreneurs. Whitney’s uncle was an amateur winemaker who focused on marketing for major beverage brands, giving her a leg up on the competition. On the other hand, Chaz served as in-house counsel for a major tech company. Both parties brought something to the table, and customers are tasting the results in the quality of the wine they produce. 

“When you’re a Black winemaker, you’re a rarity,” said Cuban. “And as a rarity, their community looks up to them. And you compound that with them being successful and growing so quickly, they’re going to be encouraging entrepreneurs across the country.”