Are you addicted to ABC’s Shark Tank? Who isn’t? Initially set to compete with The Apprentice, but that’s all that’s going to be said about that and a certain “successful” businessman, Shark Tank is a show that focuses on venture capitalism, which is an alternative way to finance a business startup or grow an existing business. The sharks in the tank give money to budding entrepreneurs so they can get their entity off the ground. Who are the best sharks? Here are a beloved seven.
1. Ashton Kutcher
Actor and Demi Moore-ex Ashton Kutcher is popular no matter what he does. Most known for his work in That 70’s Show where he met his current bride Mila Kunas, Kutcher is more than a successful actor. If you are wondering how he earned the role of guest shark on Shark Tank, here is a tidbit you might not have known. He is also an angel investor and venture capitalist. He has his own company, A-Grade Investments and another venture capital company Sound Ventures. Kutcher’s holdings have financially backed successes such as Airbnb, Foursquare, Houzz, Spotify, and Uber among successful entities.
2. Troy Carter
The owner of Atom Factory and Lady Gaga manager, Troy Carter knows a thing or two about business. He, too, has financially backed Spotify and Uber, but you can also add to his list DropBox, the first extremely successful cloud storage company. Atom Factory is an entertainment venture, keeping Carter’s love for the industry close to his heart. Not only does it manage the likes of Gaga, John Legend, and Meghan Trainor among others, it also works as a television and film production company. Carter not only invested in Spotify, he’s also the global head of creator services for the company.
3. Chris Sacca
Venture capitalist Chris Sacca was a guest shark on the show off and on for two years between 2015 and 2017. Sacca founded Lowercase Capital and invested money to help grow Instagram, Twitter, and Uber into the giants they are today. Sacca did so well for himself that he retired from venture capital investing in 2017. At retirement time, his net worth was upward of $1.2 billion – no wonder Shark Tank producers called upon him to be a shark on the show. Chris Sacca’s wife is no slouch herself. She holds an executive position at Lowercase Capital and is also a successful author.
4. Daymond John
Daymond John owns FUBU, a fashion company initially funded by his mother. In order to get her son’s business off the ground, she took out a second mortgage on her home. With a net worth now of approximately $250 million, it’s safe to say that John has paid his mother back. Rapper and actor LL Cool J catapulted FUBU into the stratosphere by wearing John’s fashions before they were fashionable, and John lends his expertise in this industry to Shark Tank contestants interested in opening up their own clothing businesses. Aside from FUBU, John runs The Shark Group, which manages AT&T and Penguin Random House among other successful ventures.
5. Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban is a billionaire, but that isn’t the only reason he’s a popular shark on Shark Tank. Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks, founded MicroSolutions, which he sold to invest into Broadcase.com, which Yahoo, Inc. bought. Suffice it say, these wise decisions have padded Cuban’s pockets way beyond stuffed. In fact, Cuban is one of the top 250 wealthiest people in the U.S. according to Forbes magazine, and he’s also involved in politics, supporting Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Cuban has said he will challenge Trump’s re-election bid in 2020. Here’s to him!
6. Kevin O’Leary
“Mr. Wonderful,” as those on the show call him, Kevin O’Leary doesn’t mince his words of advice to Shark Tank contestants. Cynical nickname aside, it could be argued that O’Leary has the right to be abrasive; he amassed $3.7 billion alone when he sold Mattel in 1999 and his 2017 net worth was estimated to be more than $400 million. Canadian O’Leary is looking to enter into the country’s political system as its conservative party leader. You could argue that with $400 million in the bank, you don’t really to work anymore so why not get involved in running Canada.
7. Robert Herjavec
When Robert Herjavec and his family fled Croatia for freedom from communist oppression, he probably never imagined he’d be a co-star in a popular reality television show. Herjavec fled to Canada with a whopping $20 in his pocket, and he turned that into $200 million as of 2017. He began his journey to riches by selling vacuums, despite the stigma attached to the job. In 1990, Herjaved opened BRAK Systems, a technology company he sold for $100 million to AT&T in 2000. He founded Herjavec Group, a security software company, and aided in the sale of RAMP Network to Nokia. Rags to riches indeed!
Who is your favorite shark? Maybe it’s one of the seven listed or another one. One thing is certain, Shark Tank has inspired many to adopt an entrepreneurial spirit and seek funding for their ideas. What’s stopping you from doing the same!