Robert Herjavec has been an investor on Shark Tank since the show premiered in 2009. KIND founder Daniel Lubetzy is now a regular guest Shark on the ABC hit and has grown accustomed to the choppy waters when competing for deals. Both panelists described how pressure can mount in the Tank and assured viewers that every dime they invest in a company is their own.
The ‘Sharks’ put in their own cash on every deal
Shark Tank has been a hit on ABC for 13 seasons, drawing in an audience that crosses all demographics. Despite the longevity of the show, some fans question if the Sharks invest from their own bank accounts.
“People need to understand that this is a very real show,” Lubetzky told The Motley Fool in April. “People don’t believe it, that it really is our money, and that we don’t know anything before those entrepreneurs show up. Everybody believes that we actually get some brief. We really don’t.”
Herjavec echoed Lubetzky’s comments, saying even those in his inner circle have asked if what they see on the small screen is genuine.
“Even my friends to this day, to Daniel’s point, are like, ‘Oh, come on, it’s not really your own money – You must get a whole dossier of information on people’,” Herjavec shared. “I’m like, ‘No, they just show up,’ and like, ‘Come on. It’s just us. You can tell me the truth,’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s what it is’.”
‘Shark Tank’ requires everyone to ‘really be on your toes’
Lubetzky described how fast-paced things can get during a pitch in the Tank, where both entrepreneurs and Sharks have to be quick-witted in order to size each other up.
“It’s very, very hard because you’re with opinionated Sharks that are asking a thousand miles a minute,” the guest Shark remarked. “You’re there in this big stage, and Robert, and everybody’s jumping with questions – and you have to really be on your toes, listening for all those patterns because you might miss something. … you need to get at the personality of the people, and their values, and their integrity, and the competitive landscape.”
The billionaire revealed that pitches are much longer than what viewers see after editing, yet it is still not enough time to full assess if a company is worth an investment.
“The ultimate edited thing is 11 minutes or 12,” Lubetzky said. ‘The interviews actually last… maybe 30 to 45 minutes on average, but it’s not enough… That’s part of the excitement of the game, and it’s hard. You really need to look for signals in between the lines of like, is this person a loyal person? Do they have a hard work ethic? Do you have the right brain power in determining their personalities and the competitive landscape? It’s not easy.”
Robert Herjavec advises to expect the unexpected
Herjavec pointed out that entrepreneurs walking onto the now-famous red carpet should prepare for the unknown during their pitch.
“If you can handle the pressure of Shark Tank, you can handle anything,” he said with a laugh. “You don’t always get to choose your timing, and you don’t get to choose your cadence. Yeah, you may have a pitch, and you may want to go this way, and then Daniel is going to ask you a question completely unrelated to where your pitch is going, and then Kevin is going to cut off Daniel; you’ve got to respond.”
The Shark Tank star added, “I think that is the beauty of it, because that’s life. Life is unpredictable. Life is all over the map. Life is zigs and zags.”
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