Mark Cuban, the billionaire investor on ABC's "Shark Tank," doesn't always strike gold. Speaking on the "Full Send" podcast, the 64-year-old tech mogul admitted that despite investing in a total of 85 startups so far, he has yet to reap the benefits.
"I haven’t gotten out more than I have put in, but that doesn’t account for all the ongoing, operating businesses and their valuations," he explained.
According to him, the worst investment deal he ever made on the show was with the Breathometer. Charles Michael Yim, the entrepreneur behind the Breathometer, claimed that his plastic smartphone attachment could produce accurate BAC level readings, which would therefore help its users make safer decisions. Marketed as "the world's first smartphone breathalyzer," the concept impressed all five of the Sharks, who ultimately agreed on a joint investment: $1 million for a 30% stake (valuing Yim's company at 3.3. million).
Unfortunately, Yim proved difficult to work with. Cuban revealed that despite the potential of the product, Yim failed to keep his focus on the company, resulting in its own downfall.
"It was a great product; but, the guy, Charles – I’d look at his Instagram and he’d be in Bora Bora. Two weeks later, he’d been in Vegas partying, and then he’d be on Necker Island with Richard Branson."
"I’d text him, like "What the f— are you doing? You’re supposed to be working,'" Cuban said. Yim would simply reply that he was "networking" for the company, but over time, his habits caught up to him. Eventually, all of the money was gone.
But that's not all — in 2017, the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against Yim, saying he had misled customers about the Breathometer's ability to produce accurate BAC level readings. According to the FTC, Breathometer never conducted appropriate testing on the device, despite claiming that it had been tested under "government lab" standards.
Yim later responded to Cuban's comments, telling CNBC Make It that Cuban's comments were "completely off" and that he never used the company's money to party. He defended his trip to Necker Island, in particular, saying he was there to pitch the Breathometer to Richard Branson. In fact, Branson was reportedly impressed by the product, and Yim became a finalist in Branson's Extreme Tech Challenge in 2015.
"You can’t look at someone’s social media and take it for face value. That’s not how social media works," Yim said.
Today, the Breathometer is no longer available for purchase on Yim's website, and the company is reportedly soon to be acquired.