Shark Tank is a show about chasing your entrepreneurial dreams. Some people come on the show and learn hard lessons and other people see their ideas take off thanks to the investments of the judges, otherwise known as the ‘sharks.’ Each of the sharks on Shark Tank are very wealthy in their own rights. How else could they invest in other people’s business ideas each week? However, there is one judge who rises well above the others in regard to the amount of wealth: Mark Cuban.
Entrepreneurs come looking for a chance
The idea behind Shark Tank is pretty simple. Inventors and entrepreneurs come on the show to pitch their product idea to real-life investors, also called sharks. The sharks then evaluate the products and decide if the idea is worth the risk of investment of their own money.
Shark Tank is in its 12th season and has shown amazing success. The show has also been the launching point for a number of very successful products. Investopedia lists the top eight successful product investments:
- Sleep Styler: heat-free hair rollers, $100 million in sales
- The Bougs: online flower seller that partners with eco-friendly farms, $100 million in sales
- Tipsy Elves: Ugly Christmas sweaters, $125 million in sales
- The Original Comfy: Wearable blanket with hoods, $150 million in sales
- Simply Fit Board: an exercise board you stand on and twist, $160 million in sales
- Squatty Potty: Toilet Stool, $164 million in sales
- Scrub Daddy: a reusable smiley face super sponge, $209 million in sales
- Bombas: comfort socks and t-shirts (an item is donated to help the helpless for every item purchased), $225 million in sales
One Shark is much wealthier than all the others
It is true that Cuban is by far the wealthiest shark on the panel of investors. South China Morning Post reports that Cuban is, in fact, valued at $4.5 billion. With that kind of wealth, it is easy to see that Cuban has been in business for a long time.
He started at the young age of 12 selling garbage bags. He hit his first billion in 1999 after making investments in multimedia platforms and his broadcast.com was sold to Yahoo. Cuban is the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. He also owns Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures. He is definitely the biggest shark in the entertainment industry.
In second place for the wealthiest shark is Kevin O’Leary. He has a pretty good size fortune in his own right, but it’s still not even close to Cuban’s. O’Leary has $400 million to his name.
O’Leary has done a few things to earn his fortune. He founded his SoftKey International company (now The Learning Company) in 1986 and then sold it to Mattel for $4.2 billion in 1999. He also co-founded Storage Now in 2003. Storage Now provides temperature-controlled storage to companies, including Pfizer. He also owns O’Leary Publishing, O’Leary Fine Wines, and O’Shares ETF’s.
What about the other sharks?
While Cuban and then O’Leary holds the bulk of the wealth at the shark’s table, the other investors hold fortunes not to be sneezed at. Consider these other sharks and their fortunes.
- Daymond John ($350 million): John created the sportswear brand FUBU over 20 years ago. Since then he has founded the co-working space, Blueprint and Co, and created his Daymond on Demand video training service. He was named Barack Obama’s presidential ambassador for global entrepreneurship in 2016.
- Robert Herjavec ($200 million): Herjavec’s family immigrated to Canada from Croatia when he was young. He sold newspapers and waited tables to earn money. He created a computer company in his basement and then went on to launch and sell several IT businesses. He is a member of the US Chamber of Commerce Task Force for Cybersecurity.
- Lori Greiner ($150 million): Greiner has created over 500 products and holds 120 patents to her name. She is called the Queen of QVC thanks to her knack for selling things on TV. We can thank Greiner for the Squatty Potty and Scrub Daddy.
- Barbara Corcoran ($100 million): Corcoran held 20 jobs by the time she was 23. With a loan of $1,000, she started the Corcoran Group real estate company. She then sold it 25 years later when it was valued at $5 billion. Corcoran now makes extra spending money through her inspirational speaker gigs.
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