Shark Tank Cast
The cast of ABC’s Shark Tank is a rotating group of investors, business experts, and self-made millionaire and billionaires. There is a core group of 6 sharks (Mark Cuban, Robert Herjavec, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary), 5 of which appear on any given episode of Shark Tank. From time to time the Shark Tank cast includes special guest investors like Jeff Foxworthy, John Paul DeJoria, Steve Tisch, Nick Woodman, and Ashton Kutcher. Kevin Harrington was part of the original Shark Tank cast appearing on seasons one and two.
As far back as elementary school, Mark Cuban has been a tenacious entrepreneur. Growing up in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, he was the son of a middle class family and watched his father spend the better part of his life working as an auto upholstery professional. His drive to accomplish more and to pave a better life for himself inspired him to make the most of what he was given, and today he is one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the business world.
Cuban’s entrepreneurial spirit was cultivated in middle school and high school when he sold sets of trash bags to fellow students to make money to buy a pair of shoes he desperately wanted. He also sold coins and stamps throughout school and made a name for himself as salesmen before he ever graduated from high school.
After high school, he went on to enroll at Indiana University. During his college years, he purchased and managed the most popular bar in the city. However, after the bar was shut down (he hosted a wet t-shirt contest featuring an underage girl) he moved to Dallas to pursue bigger and better things. Although he initially took a spot as a bartender, he later launched a company called MicroSolutions and sold it in 1990 for $6 million. He cleared roughly $2 million after taxes, but saved another $1 million to pursue additional interests down the line.
At the ripe age of 30, Cuban took the $3 million in his bank account and purchased a $125,000 lifetime pass on American Airlines, and was flying first class anywhere he wanted to. Despite his near ‘’rock star” status, Cuban was still making moves for his future. He started working for a hedge fund and ended up selling it with a partner for $20 million.
In 1995, Cuban and longtime friend Todd Wagner developed a powerful business idea to stream audio over the internet. At the time, it was known as Broadcast.com. Over the next four years, they developed the company and created a significant audience for their services. They eventually sold the company to Yahoo for a record $5.6 billion dollars. Cuban had become a billionaire by the age of 37.
Five years after reaching billionaire status, Cuban took a dramatic turn in his investment portfolio. In 2000, he purchased a majority stake in the Dallas Mavericks. The purchase set him back $285 million, but it might have been his biggest and best investment ever. Forbes reports that the Dallas Mavericks are the fifth most valuable sports franchise in the NBA, worth over $685 million.
Today, Mark Cuban is married with three children and continues to make major strides within the business and entertainment world. His appearance on the hit reality series “Shark Tank” has catapulted his popularity and brought his magnetic personality to the masses. His work as an entrepreneur and business investor is undisputed, and at not even 60 years old, he is far from done.
Mark Cuban shares his wealth of experience and business savvy in his first published book, How to Win at the Sport of Business: If I Can Do It, You Can Do It.
Barbara Corcoran is an American business icon, speaker, consultant, author, investor, and star of the hit show Shark Tank. Her tenacious business attitude and drive to assist other entrepreneurs down their paths to success makes her an audience favorite in the tank. However, her life wasn’t always so clearly defined.
Corcoran was born on March 10th 1949 in Edgewater, New Jersey. The second oldest of 10 children, she was immediately in competition from day one. Her mother was a homemaker and her father was a printing press foreman. She grew up learning the value of a hard work ethic, although Barbara struggled through school, barely managing to pull D’s in most of her classes. She eventually graduated from high school and enrolled at St. Thomas Aquinas College, graduating in 1971.
Once she completed her education she become a teacher, but only stuck with it for one year. Throughout her life, Corcoran has held twenty-two jobs. She credits her work as a waitress at a diner for helping her become the business mogul she is today. During one of her shifts she met a man made Ray Simone, a New Jersey based home builder. The duo started dating and shortly thereafter, she borrowed $1,000 from him to launch her own apartment rental company. However, it wasn’t long before their relationship dissolved.
Simone funded that initial investment of $1,000, but it was Corcoran who helped the company expand. After showing an apartment to a Union Carbide engineer who decided to purchase it rather than rent, Corcoran realized the potential within sales. She posted an ad for a sales agent the following day setting into motion her career in real estate. Within just two years, the Corcoran-Simone company was generating over a half million dollars in sales.
It took several years for the company to dissolve but according to Corcoran, Simone said she would never succeed without him, which further fueled her desire to make a name for herself. They divided the company in 1978 and she founded the Corcoran Group, the first female-run real estate company. The company earned over $350,000 in its first year.
Fast forward to 2001 when Corcoran decided it was time to sell the company. She had shifted her focus to family matters, after trying to get pregnant for over eight years and eventually giving birth to her son, Tommy. With negotiations on the table and an annual revenue of $100 million, and realizing she was the top broker in New York City, she told her attorney to find a buyer for $66 million—her lucky number. She sold the company to NRT Inc. within just a few short days.
After exiting the New York City real estate market, Corcoran wanted to get in front of the public in a fresh way. She decided to co-author a book, became a short-lived Fox consultant, and then went on to join the cast of Shark Tank. Her investments and public appearances have helped her multiply her millions and have given her a prominent place among business leaders.
You can learn from Barbara’s vast business experience in her books, Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business, and Use What You’ve Got, and Other Business Lessons I Learned from My Mom.
Robert Herjavec is a gregarious entrepreneur who has built and sold several multi-million dollar IT companies and who now runs The Herjavec Group, a fast-growing security software company. His business success has earned him global recognition and seen him chart as a bestseller as the author of “Driven” and “The Will to Win.” Robert is a goldmine for budding entrepreneurs who are looking to tap into some hard-earned wisdom.
It was in Canada that Robert learned his early lessons in the working world, as an immigrant from the farmlands of Croatia discovering what it meant to be poor in an alien economic landscape. He quickly learned to make ends meet as a newspaper deliveryman and a waiter, picking up valuable lessons in relating to his customers, maximizing his tips and turnover.
Before his foray into entrepreneurship, he experienced a variety of industries including working in retail, in film production as an assistant director and even as a collection agent. Adaptability is a trait that Robert emphasizes as key to success for an entrepreneur.
Robert’s entry into the tech industry involved him convincing Logiquest, a computer start-up, to let him work there for free. He was under qualified for the position selling IBM mainframe emulation boards, but after 6 months he earned himself a paycheck and went on to become the General Manager. He was eventually fired from the company, which gave him the push to start his own company to keep up with his mortgage payments.
Robert says he’d never thought of becoming an entrepreneur, yet after starting BRAK Systems in his basement, it soon became Canada’s top provider of Internet Security Software, before being sold to AT&T for $100 million. Within couple of years Robert managed to sell RAMP Networks, another technology company, to Nokia for $225 million.
Robert attributes his success to working in a field that he’s passionate and knowledgeable about. After taking three years retirement to spend time with his family, he started his best business yet, The Herjavec Group. It’s an IT integrator that does computer security and information storage for enterprise and government. He says its like a mini IBM. The Herjavec Group has become the fastest growing Canadian security company to date, earning tens of millions of dollars in revenue every year.
Aside from technology, Robert has a love of racing cars, achieving multiple podiums in the Ferrari Challenge North America Series.
In response to the question of what he would differently if he had to do it all again, Robert says he would have dreamed bigger.
An original entrepreneur, Daymond John’s evolution from waiting tables at Red Lobster to carving a career with unparalleled success in fashion and branding is quite a story. He credits his success to his love of learning. A true opportunist, Daymond always found a way to up his game and acquire the skills he needed to take his business to the next level. ‘The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance,’ he says, putting his money where his mouth is. Daymond has become an ambassador who regularly shares his wisdom as a sought after branding and business expert and motivational speaker.
Daymond’s creative vision, commitment and sewing skills got the most iconic fashion brand in recent years off the ground from his mother’s remortgaged house in Hollis, Queens. FUBU, standing for “For Us By Us,” tapped into a market that had previously been neglected and paved the way for Daymond’s total innovation of branding strategy. Sharing his neighborhood with Hip Hop artists like RUN DMC and Salt-N-Peppa, FUBU became a synonymous with the emerging music culture that had a dedicated and growing community. When Daymond succeeded in getting various rappers, including superstar LL Cool J, to wear his T-Shirts on their music videos, popularity for his brand soared. He was still waiting tables while building the company for several years, sewing much of the merchandise himself. He recruited a couple of friends and then eventually some seamstresses, who came to work in his mother’s house as sales started to climb.
Drive and improvisation have gotten Daymond through one learning curve after another. The journey from sewing hats in his kitchen to being listed #15 on Details magazine’s list of “50 Most Influential Men” has earned him some valuable lessons. From mastering manufacturing to developing the perfect partnerships, to building and maintaining brand legitimacy, Daymond has become a master strategist. He soon recognized that the only way to fill the gaps in his knowledge was to partner with someone who already knew what he needed to know. When he signed a deal with Samsung America for global distribution, FUBU reached annual sales of $350 million, on a par with Donna Karan New York and Tommy Hilfiger.
Daymond now uses his branding expertise to build new companies through strategic relationships with icons in pop culture. As author of Display of Power: How FUBU Changed A World Of Fashion, The Power of Broke: How Empty Pockets, a Tight Budget, and a Hunger for Success Can Become Your Greatest Competitive Advantage, and The Brand Within: How We Brand Ourselves, From Birth To The Boardroom, Daymond continues to share his wisdom on the power of relationships in building brand success.
Kevin O’Leary – Mr.Wonderful
Kevin O’Leary, AKA Mr. Wonderful, is well known for his audacious role on Shark Tank, however his history within the business sector has earned him the right to have such a brazen voice in the show. Let’s take a closer look at the man behind the legend and how he came to be the success he is today.
Kevin O’Leary was born in Montreal, Quebec Canada. Learning much from his mother, Kevin began investing his money in high school and took an active interest in how to manage funds properly. His mother taught him to only spend the dividends of his investment and never the principal. That was a lesson that stuck with him for the rest of his life.
O’Leary’s life was forever changed by his very first job at an Ice Cream Parlor when his boss demanded that he scrape gum off the floor. His response was simply, “No” and so he was fired. He vowed then and there to be self-employed for the rest of his life. That moment moved him to attend university despite wanting to be a photographer, and he eventually went on to earn an MBA in entrepreneurship from the Ivey Business School at The University of Western Ontario.
During his time at University, O’Leary took a summer placement job with Nabisco in downtown Toronto. He worked with the company as an assistant brand manager, marketing their cat food after his internship, and was in charge of increasing the brand’s market share.
After his time with Nabisco, he went on to work as a television producer. Shortly thereafter, he founded Special Event Television (SET) and enjoyed moderate success with this venture. One of his partners later bought out his stake in the company for $25,000.
Next O’Leary decided to launch another successful venture, Softkey, a repackager of high-end business software for the consumer market. He secured an investor for $250,000, who later backed out before signing paperwork, and he was ultimately left to find funding elsewhere. Taking the $25,000 he had earned from his sale of SET, O’Leary was able to secure an additional $10,000 from his mother. To get distribution for the software, O’Leary approached printer manufacturers pitching a bundle with their software. It worked. By 1994, Softkey was a billion dollar consolidator in the educational software market, and acquired more than 60 rival companies. Softkey had wiped out the competition thanks to O’Leary’s often unpleasant and fanatical approach to business. Two years later in 1996 Softkey acquired The Learning Company (TLC) for $606 million and took its name. The company was eventually sold by O’Leary for a whopping $4.2 billion to Mattel in 1999. In 2008 he co-founded O’Leary Funds Inc. (a mutual and investment fund management firm that handles over $1.5 billion) with his brother and company director Shane O’Leary. He has built companies bearing his name in a number of other industries including O’Leary Ventures, O’Leary Mortgages, O’Leary books, and O’Leary Fine Wines.
O’Leary has also dabbled in writing and journalism, and released his first book in 2011 entitled Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life. He followed up that book with Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them, and Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money.
O’Leary has appeared on numerous television shows both on and off camera. His resume includes SqueezePlay on the Business News Network, Discovery Project Earth, Dragon’s Den, and of course Shark Tank.
Tenacious, determined, and highly skilled in business, O’Leary will undoubtedly go down as one of the savviest business entrepreneurs of the 21st century.
Meet Lori Greiner, the most prolific inventor of retail products of her time. Lori’s career began with one idea that catapulted her into becoming an international multi-million dollar brand. She has now created over 450 products and holds 120 US and international patents. The key to Lori’s success is her ability to problem solve for the masses, creating affordable products that improve people’s lives. Known as the QVC Queen, Lori’s passionate entrepreneurism has won her a huge following, along with wide recognition for her achievements.
Reining from Chicago, Lori majored in Communications at Loyola University Chicago, with a focus on journalism, television and film. Lori was working at The Chicago Tribune before she acted on her inspiration to produce an earring holder, taking out a $300,000 loan and hustling to get it into J.C. Penny Stores in time for the holiday season. Within her first year of business, Lori’s company For Your Ease Only Inc. had made over $1 million in sales and she hasn’t slowed down since, now with a net worth of over $100 million. Lori is the CEO, working with the support of her husband Dan beside her, managing product development and marketing for her extensive range of inventions.
Driven by an enthusiasm for problem solving, both in her own life and those of her customers, Lori’s products can be found in the homes of millions, including celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Heidi Klum and Joan Rivers. During her 16 year run on QVC, Lori has had a 90% success rate with the products featured on Clever and Unique Creations by Lori Greiner. From kitchen tools to travel bags, Lori’s product range answers to a diversity of needs and she has a keen instinct for a product’s potential for success.
Known as the warm-blooded shark on Shark Tank, Lori values opportunities to give back to the entrepreneurial community, being generous with her offerings of advice. Lori hit the bestsellers list with her first book Invent It, Sell It, Bank It!: Make Your Million-Dollar Idea into a Reality, a hands-on step-by-step guide on how to turn an idea into a million dollar reality. Lori’s product line is regularly featured in Town & Country, O The Oprah Magazine, Woman’s Day, Family Circle and InStyle. She has also been profiled in The Financial Times and Success for her outstanding entrepreneurial achievement.