For over 12 years, Shark Tank made entrepreneurism cool. This ABC show features entrepreneurs pitching their small businesses to a group of angel investors. They’re seeking the money and connections they need to get past the roadblocks and scale their businesses.
In return, the sharks take a piece of their business. But how rich and successful are the sharks themselves?
There are two phases of their fortunes: pre- and post-Shark Tank, and we’ll look at both phases to determine their success. Some notable companies and brands came from the show, including Ring, which was later bought by Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, and the Scrub Daddy.
Here we look at which shark has fared best and who is the richest shark?
How Much Are the Sharks on Shark Tank Worth?
The show has a rotating cast of wealthy investors, with six main sharks and two dozen guest sharks over the course of the series. The main sharks are:
Kevin O’Leary originally started on Canada’s Dragon’s Den and is a well-known venture capitalist and TV analyst. Born in Montreal, Quebec, O’Leary learned to invest from his mother and eventually started his own business, Softkey. By 1995, it was a major player in educational software and bought The Learning Company for $606 million.
The combined company was then sold to Mattel for $3.6 billion, netting O’Leary a large portion of his $400 million fortune. The rest came from his subsequent investments in Storage Now, O’Leary Funds, and his Shark Tank companies.
Robert Herjavec is another Canadian who started on Dragon’s Den, and he also made his fortune in software. He’s an IT thought leader and member of the US Chamber of Commerce Task Force for Cybersecurity. His Herjavec Group earns over $120 million in annual revenue, making it one of the largest cybersecurity companies in Canada.
Herjavec’s net worth is estimated at $200 million, based largely on the value of his company, although his shark businesses contribute too.
Barbara Corcoran is one of the most successful real estate agents in New York City, and she started her company with a $1,000 loan. She sold the company to NRT in 2001 for $66 million and transitioned out of real estate into media.
Today, Corcoran is worth an estimated $100 million, based on both the sale of her company and her successful Shark Tank investments.
Daymond John is the creator of clothing brand FUBU, which grew into an $8 billion company by the time he joined the Shark Tank cast. He’s a branding expert who also founded co-working space Blueprint and Co, along with several coaching and branding services.
John’s net worth is estimated at $350 million, which includes these businesses along with his successful Shark Tank investments.
Mark Cuban is one of the most outspoken sharks. He rose to prominence as the owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks. Cuban is a blue-collar billionaire who started his career during the dotcom bubble in the 1990s. He sold his company Broadcast.com to Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.7 billion in company stock.
This set Cuban on a mission to diversify, and he bought a $40 million Gulfstream Jet, Landmark Theaters, and the Mavericks. He also invests in startups and is the chairman of AXS TV, which helps grow his $4.4 billion net worth.
Lori Greiner is known as the “Queen of QVC,” as she owns over 120 patents and is responsible for exponentially more product releases. She’s an inventor, salesperson, and entrepreneur who’s comfortable appearing on television to hawk her products.
This helped her build a fortune estimated at $150 million, which she loves to invest in upcoming entrepreneurs with products she believes in. But she’s not the richest shark.
Is Mark Cuban the Richest Shark?
Although everyone on Shark Tank is wealthy, Mark Cuban is the only billionaire in the main cast. However, he’s not the richest investor to ever become a shark – that honor belongs to Sir Richard Branson, whose net worth of $4.6 billion just barely makes him richer.
Guest shark Chris Sacca is also a billionaire, worth approximately $1.1 billion. John Paul DeJoria (worth $2.7 billion) was also a guest shark, as was Steve Tisch, who is valued at $1.2 billion. Guest shark Daniel Lubetzky is worth $2.1 billion, rounding out the billionaires who appeared on the show.
Where Did the Sharks Get Their Money?
The sharks largely made their money from starting and selling their own companies. It’s typically one big sale that makes the bulk of their fortunes, but they continue investing in businesses. That’s why they’re on Shark Tank.
When they invest in a business, they often ask for a stake in the business, along with a repayment plan. They will sometimes (O’Leary especially) require a regular payment until they recoup their investment. Everything from there is profit, and each shark has a track record from the show.
The most successful products on Shark Tank are Bombas ($225 million in sales), Scrub Daddy ($209 million in sales), and Squatty Potty ($164 million in sales), two of which were Greiner’s investments, making her the most successful shark investor.
How Much Money Have the Sharks Invested?
A statistical breakdown of the first 10 seasons found some interesting numbers. Over half (56 percent) of contestants make a successful deal, and the average deal amount is $286,000. These averages continue going up as the show continues and better companies are presented for investment.
The main sharks invested over $120 million in the first 10 seasons, with Cuban leading the pack at $33.6 million of his money invested in 151 deals.
Herjavec and Greiner each invested over $20 million, while the others invested over $10 million each. Corcoran is both the least wealthy shark and the shark who invested the least at $10 million, approximately 10 percent of her net worth. Greiner and Herjavec also invested over 10 percent of their net worth on the show.
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