How A Young Black 'Shark Tank' Contestant Struck Gold and Created a $56 million Company

Photo: Mad Rabbit
Photo: Mad Rabbit
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

This story is part of our Start. Build. Grow. series, a celebration of Black business.

Selom Agbitor is an entrepreneur at his core, having tried his hand at several business ventures — some successful, others not so much.

Thanks to an appearance on season 12 of “Shark Tank,” Agbitor finally struck business gold: Mad Rabbit, a tattoo healing care line that was valued at $56 million in 2023.

Agbitor and his close friend Oliver Zak founded Mad Rabbit during their senior year of college at Ohio’s Miami University.

“Oliver actually had a stick and poke tattoo on his thigh that wasn’t healing properly,” said Agbitor. “His mom urged him to find a way to take care of it since he spent a lot of money on it. She’s the one that helped us create the first version of our tattoo balm.”

There’s irony in the fact that Agbitor — who was born in Ghana and lived away from his parents for years before moving to the United States when he was in third grade — created a successful business involving tattoos considering he had none of his own when he started. He now has a full leg sleeve.

“Oliver asked me if I was interested in starting Mad Rabbit together since we had worked on a couple of businesses together while in college,” Agbitor said. “Initially, I said ‘no,’ because I didn’t have any tattoos. I was always interested in the art form, but I just didn’t know how I could fit into that culture.”

Agbitor said that he and Zak applied “randomly” to be on “Shark Tank” and “didn’t expect anything out of it.”

“Three months later, we got a phone call,” he said. “We were told that they were interested in our product, but we had to send a three to five-minute video pitching our product and company. We probably did our video five times…the whole process started in March 2020 and ended in September 2020. We aired the following year.”

Billionaire “shark” Mark Cuban took a chance on the young duo and struck a deal with them on the popular reality television show. His involvement with the company didn’t stop there: Cuban invested in Mad Rabbit again during their Series A funding round.

Since then, it’s only been up for Agbitor: He’s continued to watch his company grow and his role within it evolve. Since December 2020, he’s served as organizer and delegator of the business, making decisions that deal with e-commerce and advertising. The growth of Mad Rabbit has allowed him to shift his focus within the company.

“We’re able to hire a great team to help take auditors’ responsibilities, and also hire people in things that were previously mediocre,” he said. “For example, we have someone who’s running the majority of marketing right now. They’ve made my life easier.”

For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.