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The latest news on Shark Tank from Business Insider

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    Screen Shot 2016 08 05 at 11.30.12 AM

    Going on ABC's "Shark Tank" is a big publicity event that can immediately supercharge your business.

    But making a pitch in front of five celebrity investors can also be tremendously nerve-racking.

    Tower Paddle Boards CEO Stephan Aarstol knows that, as he almost choked during his presentation on the show.

    Still, Aarstol was able to land a deal with Mark Cuban, and the company took off. Now he works only five hours a day. More amazingly: He forces all his employees to keep that same schedule.

    We recently caught up with Aarstol to hear his story ...

    SEE ALSO: These superstar execs made more than $5 million selling business software last year

    This is Stephan Aarstol, CEO of Tower Paddle Boards. His startup sells stand-up paddleboards.



    Here's what a stand-up paddleboard looks like. It's basically a surfboard with paddles. Paddleboarding is one of the fastest growing water sports in the US.

    Source: YouTube



    Aarstol's company is doing well. It only has 11 employees but is on track to hit nearly $10 million in revenue this year. In 2014, it was among the fastest-growing private companies in San Diego.

    Source: Tower Paddle Boards



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    jeremy liew lightspeed

    Apple's upcoming TV show about apps now has a venture partner to invest in app makers.

    The idea behind "Planet of the Apps" is that budding software developers will create an app for iPhones and iPads on reality TV.

    Think "Shark Tank" meets apps. 

    As the show progresses, they will be mentored by celebrity-entrepreneurs like Will.i.am and Jessica Alba, and if their idea is good enough, their app will get featured placement in the Apple App Store.

    But if their idea is really good, they could get funding from Lightspeed Venture Partners, one of Silicon Valley's top-tier VC firm — famous for finding great investments like Snapchat

    Simply getting a pitch meeting with Lightspeed is a big goal for many Silicon Valley startups, and that's exactly the opportunity "Planet of the Apps" contestents will have. 

    "There will probably be three or four of us that will meet with the companies together, hear their stories, deliberate about a potential investment and make a decision," Lightspeed partner Jeremy Liew told Business Insider. 

    Lightspeed is committing over $10 million dollars to fund the winning companies in "Planet of the Apps." Lightspeed is a good fit as a VC firm for the show, because it has had a lot of success finding consumer software companies. 

    "For us, it's less about making a documentary about what Silicon Valley is about. It’s more about encouraging a new generation of entrepreneurs that can really reach massive scale. That there is access available to funding for those people. There is access to promotion for those people from Apple within the App Store," Liew said. 

    Contestents haven't been selected yet. An earlier casting call suggested that filming for the show will take place starting in October and run through early 2017. 

    The show is looking for contestents nationwide, not just in the Bay Area, but having big-name tech entrepreneurs, as well as the platform the show will provide, could entice some hot early-stage startups to try to join the reality TV show. Applications are currently open

    "Planet of the Apps" was first announced by Apple's senior vice president of internet software, Eddy Cue, in the New York Times. The show will likely be distributed through Apple-owned services, but the show's producer, Propagate, hasn't commented on whether it will air on a TV channel as well. 

    SEE ALSO: How Snapchat's first investor found Snapchat before anyone else

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Facebook has a feature that stalks you all over the internet — here’s how to turn it off


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    pavlok shark tank

    Over the past seven seasons of "Shark Tank," Kevin O'Leary has established himself as the mean, sarcastic investor who either challenges entrepreneurs to better defend their business or else dismisses them as "cockroaches."

    But in a pitch featured in the Season 7 finale he dropped the shtick, and in a state of being genuinely angry and hurt, called an entrepreneur an asshole and told him to "Get the f--- out of here."

    Maneesh Sethi, the founder of consumer-electronics company Pavlok, prompted this response when he explained that he had to turn down O'Leary's offer, even after the other Sharks pulled out, not because of its terms but because of O'Leary's personality. "I would take an offer from anybody besides Mr. Wonderful," Sethi said, using O'Leary's nickname.

    We got in touch with both O'Leary and Sethi for their insight, now that the pitch has been seen by millions of viewers. O'Leary suggested he kept his emotions around the pitch within the confines of the Tank, and explained that Sethi has a big lesson to learn if he wants to be successful in business. Sethi said that the 11-minute broadcast version of his 45-minute pitch didn't accurately portray him or his company, and he explained that he doesn't regret refusing O'Leary's offer but wishes he had conducted his presentation differently.

    In late 2014, a "Shark Tank" producer reached out to Sethi to ask him if he wanted to apply to the show. The producer had noticed Sethi's successful IndieGoGo campaign for the Pavlok wristband, which through either a manual or automatic prompt shocked its wearer when performing a bad habit. Using conclusions from existing research on Pavlovian conditioning, Sethi created it with the intention of linking bad habits with an uncomfortable reaction so that the habit could cease being enjoyable.

    pavlokSethi is the brother of bestselling personal-finance writer Ramit Sethi and a friend and associate of "The 4-Hour Workweek" author Tim Ferriss, as well as the curator of his own personal-development blog, Hacking the System.

    Pavlok grew out of the viral popularity of one of Sethi's productivity experiments from 2012, in which he hired a woman on Craigslist to slap him in the face anytime he went on Facebook when he should have been working.

    When he eventually made it to the "Shark Tank" set last September, Sethi was looking for 3.14% equity in his company in exchange for $500,000, giving Pavlok a valuation of $15.9 million.

    He told the Sharks that through the sale of some prototypes and then pre-orders of the $200 final product, he had sold $800,000 worth of his wristbands, which were going to ship the next week.

    At one point, Mark Cuban asked about what clinical trials Sethi conducted to prove his wristband worked, and when Sethi referred to a pamphlet of research on Pavlovian conditioning from the past few decades, Cuban called him a con artist. The rest of the televised segment highlighted Sethi's most snarky reactions to Cuban's and other's attacks.

    "I was caught off guard by how quickly and forcefully Mark turned against us, and that really changed the tone of the pitch," Sethi told Business Insider. "The Sharks became so focused on clinical studies, I couldn't really get a word in edge wise to tell them about the thousands of success stories our real-life users have had."

    Sethi also noted that he worked on a small, eight-person pilot study with the University of Massachusetts at Boston on Pavlok's capacity to deter smoking, which he was disappointed didn't earn any mention on the final cut of the show.

    The Sharks started arguing among themselves over whether the product was viable. At one point, Sethi grabbed his face in frustration and said, "You guys are making me so ADD."

    shark tank

    After some more back and forth, Lori Greiner and Cuban pulled out for lack of what they deemed sufficient evidence. Barbara Corcoran went out because she didn't like the product, and Robert Herjavec didn't make an offer because even though he actually found the product interesting, he couldn't justify the $15.9 million valuation.

    O'Leary started his reply by telling Sethi, "You're a combination of spontaneous combustion and ADD. I'm not kidding. It's very difficult to listen to you." But then he told him that he had studied aversion therapy as an undergraduate and found Pavlok to be interesting.

    To avoid meeting Sethi's valuation, O'Leary offered the $500,000 as a loan at 7.5% interest for 24 months in exchange for 3.14% equity. Sethi looked wary.

    "This is the problem," he said. "Damn. The problem, Mr. Wonderful, is that we're not focused on the money. We're focused more on the habits ... Our biggest goal is to break bad habits around the world. Mr. Wonderful, I just can't work with you."

    Greiner asked him whether he came on the show not looking for a deal but rather a commercial for his product. Sethi said he did want a deal (and he told us that he wanted a deal with either Greiner or Cuban) and that O'Leary's deal was "actually quite good."

    "It's the person," Corcoran offered.

    "It's the person," Sethi said. "I feel like — I would take an offer from anybody besides Mr. Wonderful."

    "Maneesh?" O'Leary chimed in. "You're an asshole. Get the f--- out of here." Cuban hollered and clapped his hands.

    "Oh, well ... are you all out?" Sethi asked.

    "F--- you," O'Leary responded.

    kevin o'learyAfter Sethi walked out, O'Leary appeared more hurt than angry, and his fellow investors told him he shouldn't feel bad.

    "The second Maneesh made his refusal he was dead to me," O'Leary told us. "Regardless of his opinions about me, I have absolutely no time for anyone who lets their emotions get in the way of their money, which is exactly what Maneesh did."

    O'Leary once told Business Insider that the reason he is especially aggressive on the show is to test entrepreneurs, to see if they can handle the pressure. His focus on cash flow is genuinely part of his investing approach, but he often exaggerates this to cartoonish levels for dramatic effect.

    Interestingly, Sethi adamantly opposed partnering with O'Leary precisely because of his bully persona in the Tank.

    "Going in I knew Kevin was not a great investor fit for our company," Sethi said. "A lot of people don't realize investment partnerships are about way more than money. Business style and vision for the company need to align as well. I was concerned he would prioritize monetary returns over number of habits broken, which is our main [Key Performance Indicator]."

    Sethi said that in the nine months since his "Shark Tank" pitch, he's sold a total of 10,000 wristbands and collected more user data. He's also raised more than $275,000 on IndieGoGo for an upcoming Pavlok alarm clock. He said that Pavlok is profitable.

    We asked him if he regrets his "Shark Tank appearance. "If I could film the show again, I would have changed my presentation," he said. "But I don't regret turning down the offer."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Robert Herjavec reveals how deals are affected by what happens behind the scenes

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A world champion public speaker gave us his top 3 presentation tips


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    brightwheel shark tank

    There's never an easy time to leave a comfortable job to start a business, but it's especially risky when your daughter is six months old and your wife is on unpaid maternity leave.

    That's the gamble San Francisco-based entrepreneur Dave Vasen took in June 2014 when he left an executive position at AltSchool to found KidCasa, a preschool management service that later became Brightwheel. It's paid off.

    After a year of development and the branding relaunch, Vasen raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Eniac Ventures and RRE Ventures in June 2015. Just a few weeks later, Vasen saw "Shark Tank" was having tryouts down the street from his office and, because he had the idea of applying in the back of his head for some time, decided to improvise an audition.

    He was called back for filming in September, and his appearance was finally broadcast Friday in the latest episode of the show's seventh season. It revealed that he raised another $600,000 from investors Mark Cuban and guest Shark Chris Sacca, the billionaire investor best known for his lucrative early deals with Twitter, Uber, and Instagram.

    "I'll never forget hugging them after the deal," Vasen told Business Insider. "I have such admiration for them."

    Vasen entered the Tank seeking $400,000 for a 4% stake in Brightwheel, giving his company a $10 million valuation. He was hopped up on two Red Bulls he chugged while waiting in the trailer the producers gave him.

    Vasen explained to the Sharks that as the father of a toddler and as someone who's spent the majority of his career in the education space, he's seen firsthand that the operators of a preschool are placed in a uniquely challenging situation. "They're not just managing a classroom, but managing a business, too," he said.

    Brightwheel is a service that allows preschool owners and employees to monitor both their paperwork and their students, with updates linked to a smartphone app for parents.

    Here's the app in action: 

    Vasen launched the pilot program in the fall of 2014 with 10 preschools, and as he stood in the Tank he had recruited 2,500 schools across all 50 states.

    Brightwheel is free to download, but a premium account is available in packages ranging from $40 to $200 per month, depending on how many accounts will be linked together for a school. Vasen told the investors his projected revenue was $1 million for 2015, $6 million for 2016, and $20 million for 2017.

    In the edited version of the pitch that aired, it appears that Vasen captured the attention of a few of the Sharks immediately, but he told Business Insider that the full experience — which lasted over an hour — was much more stressful.

    "It got pretty negative pretty quickly," he said. Daymond John and Mark Cuban have explained repeatedly that they're always on the lookout for "gold diggers"— entrepreneurs with no intention of making a deal who use their "Shark Tank" appearance as a free commercial.

    Vasen realized that he was putting the entire reputation of his company on the line, and that if he bungled his pitch, he would be embarrassing himself, his family, and his other investors. He explained to the Sharks that he was turning to them to get an adviser on his side who would put in much more work than the typical investor, and that even though he had accomplished a level of success with a small team, he needed the help to scale.

    That was satisfactory for Kevin O'Leary, who opened up negotiations by offering $400,000 for 10% equity, cutting the company's valuation down from $10 million to $4 million.

    By this point, Cuban was sufficiently convinced Vasen was the real deal and began considering an offer because he realized "my kid's preschool desperately needed this exact type of software," he told us.

    Sacca jumped in, dismissing O'Leary's sharp devaluation, but saying he needed to invest on the same terms as the seed round, where the company was valued at $8.2 million. That meant his $400,000 would get him 4.85% equity.

    Vasen quickly told Sacca the deal sounded good to him, but that he wanted to see if anyone else wanted to split it.

    Sacca mocked the other Sharks, saying that they would be helpful to Brightwheel if Vasen was looking to make some T-shirts or get something into Bed Bath & Beyond. "What do you think you need from the rest of the line here?" he asked.

    Cuban was offended. "Are you serious? Are you really that clueless?"

    He jabbed back, saying that when Sacca affiliated himself with a company, "it adds a lot of street cred to his little part of the world. Once you get outside of that little bubble called Silicon Valley, it doesn't mean sh--."

    "Uber, Twitter, Instagram operate in their own little world," Sacca said sarcastically. "I've never been outside of San Francisco. Sorry."

    Vasen said he was thinking "this is surreal" as the two investors he had set his eyes on, Cuban and Sacca, spent minutes yelling at each other from opposite ends of the panel.

    mark cuban chris sacca shark tank

    Vasen kept his focus and after some more back-and-forth, offered Sacca and Cuban a joint deal: $600,000 for 6%, split evenly, at the originally proposed $10 million valuation. Sacca said he'd compromise by doing that at a $9 million valuation, meaning he and Cuban would each get a 3.34% stake for $300,000.

    Cuban said that worked for him, and Vasen took the deal.

    And though Sacca kicked off a spat with Cuban that genuinely got both riled up, he told Business Insider that he and Cuban are old friends and that when Sacca took Cuban's offer last year to appear on a few episodes of "Shark Tank,""I agreed to go on the show so I wouldn't miss the opportunity to bust his balls in front of millions of Americans. There is no doubt he adds an incredible amount of value to his companies. But I'm there to make sure he doesn't get a free ride anymore."

    As for why he invested in Brightwheel, Sacca said, "My best entrepreneurs always have one thing in common: They radiate a sense of the inevitability of their success. Dave didn't need to sell us. Instead you can tell he just knows that Brightwheel is going to win the space. That's simply irresistible.

    "Plus, in the same way that Uber solves a problem for both drivers and riders, I love how Brightwheel dramatically improves the lives of hardworking teachers, thrills parents, and empowers school administrators," he added. "You nail a solution for those three groups and you've got a huge business on your hands."

    SEE ALSO: Billionaire investor Chris Sacca explains the 4 key elements of his investing philosophy

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: At Sam Adams, it’s OK to tell your boss ‘f--- you’


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    There is one TV show that I watch ever week without fail. It's "Shark Tank." I, like millions of viewers around the world, watch each week looking for inspiration. They inspire me each week to become a better person, leader, and business owner. ABC's hit show has truly influenced a new a generation of entrepreneurs. 

    The success of the men and women invested in by the sharks can be attributed to the characteristics that the "Shark Tank" team all share. Here are eight of those characteristics.

    SEE ALSO: 10 things you can do to increase your confidence today

    1. They're not afraid of failure. They embrace and learn from it.

    "It doesn't matter how many times you have failed, you only have to be right once," Mark Cuban is quoted as saying.

    Related: 4 Ways to Push Through Adversity and Failure Without Ego

    The "Shark Tank" team, like great entrepreneurs, realize that failure is a part of the journey. Daymond John admits he's failed way more than he's succeeded, but neither he nor the other sharks let failure hold them back or prevent them from achieving their dreams.

    Instead, they learn from it, and use to their advantage. "All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected," said Barbara Corcoran. "I knew the power of getting past no."

    Failure isn't the end. Learn from it. I personally had to lose everything I owned to realize what I truly wanted to do. Years later, I have a successful cash company.



    2. They don't procrastinate.

    “Don't wait for the 'perfect time,'" John said. "You will wait forever. Always take advantage of the time that you’re given." Corcoran adds, "If you have an idea, immediately move on it. Start that fire and get it burning immediately ... it's everything." 

    And, thanks to technology, it's easier than ever to act on your idea. 



    3. They always find solutions to problems.

    "As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough," says Lori Greiner. That’s a mentality and characteristic that she shares with the rest of her colleagues on the show.

    "Don't start a business. Find a problem, solve a problem. The business comes second," suggests Robert Herjavec. Remember this when writing your business planJohn explains, "Every problem can be solved as long as they use common sense and apply the right research and techniques."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    robert herjavec

    When "Shark Tank" returns on September 23 for its season-eight premiere, millions of Americans will tune in to watch a reality show with real stakes, where entrepreneurs pitch their companies to a panel of investors who can potentially change their lives.

    A great product and charisma are necessary for a deal, but a bit of luck is involved as well, since the Sharks' moods are closely tied to their shooting schedule, cast member Robert Herjavec reveals in his latest book, "You Don't Have to be a Shark."

    The series has been huge for the personal brands of each of the six investors and has yielded investments that have made them millions of dollars, but they need to spend as little time as possible in the Los Angeles studio because their businesses are still their primary responsibilities.

    To compromise, the show's producers have worked out a schedule that allows an entire season of about 30 episodes to be shot over 17 days. The seventh season, for example, was split into a session early last summer and then early last fall. Each day on set lasts 12 hours, beginning at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., and shooting is done in three-day splits separated by an off-day.

    In his book, Herjavec says that each of these three days has a distinct atmosphere, and the day an entrepreneur pitches to them on affects their chances of getting a deal — as well as how the Sharks interact with each other.

    SEE ALSO: 9 successful entrepreneurs share the worst advice they ever received

    Day 1

    "The first day is generally a good one," Herjavec writes. "We reacquaint ourselves with each other and get a buzz from routine preparations, trading gossip, catching up on each other's careers, and talking with crew members in the studio."

    Herjavec notes that the nature of the show requires their full attention, and that at the start of each three-day cycle they are rewiring their brains to forget about whatever is happening back at their companies or even their personal lives.

    To help get into this mindset, the Sharks deliberately play up their personas, Herjavec explains. "For the first few hours of day one Kevin [O'Leary] snarls a little more, Mark [Cuban] is pushier, Lori [Greiner] sharpens her TV smarts, Barbara [Corcoran] plays her strict den mother role with greater relish, and Daymond [John] seems to rise even farther above it all," he writes. "I tend to smile more easily, finding it all entertaining and refreshing."

    So depending on which of the Sharks connects to an entrepreneur's pitch, either with enthusiasm or distaste, landing a Day 1 spot can result in a slightly exaggerated reception.



    Day 2

    "Day two is inevitably the best," Herjavec says. The Sharks aren't distracted by what's happening back at their office and they're not concerned about hamming it up. They're acutely focused on making good deals.

    "Those twelve-hour studio sessions have become our reality, and nothing intrudes on our assessment of the pitches (and the people making them)," he writes.



    Day 3

    Day 3 presents the biggest challenge to entrepreneurs because it's the least enjoyable for the Sharks.

    As the day progresses, Herjavec says, "it becomes difficult to keep our minds off whatever we hope or fear is happening back at the office. It also becomes trickier to overlook little annoyances that were easy to shrug off a day or two earlier, when they might have earned a smile or a joke tossed between us for a laugh."

    The investors start to itch to get back to their companies, and they're more likely to think about how cold, hungry, and miserable they are in the studio, Herjavec says. The producers enjoy the third day, he argues, because the ways the Sharks either attack an entrepreneur giving a weak pitch or attack each other over a deal when they're in this mood makes for great television.

    That's what happened in season six, for example, when Herjavec yelled at Greiner and John for giving a "handout" to an entrepreneur he determined they felt sorry for, before storming off the set, with similarly disgusted Cuban and O'Leary not far behind him.

    "Three days don't represent just the maximum number of days we can stay away from our businesses; it's the maximum number of days we can do our jobs as Sharks and still remain functional," Herjavec writes. "Not to mention amiable and courteous with each other."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shark tank river illustration

    "Shark Tank," the show that took venture capital pitches mainstream, returns Friday for its eighth season.

    Over the past seven years, the series has not only picked up Emmys for being an entertaining reality show, but has created ubiquitous brands like Scrub Daddy cleaning supplies and Bantam Bagels, which recently made it into Starbucks nationwide.

    The show is an entertainment product and a launchpad for hundreds of American startups, requiring a careful combination of high-level production and management.

    Through several interviews with the Sharks, we've learned some interesting behind-the-scenes details hidden from viewers. We've collected them below.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Robert Herjavec reveals how deals are affected by what happens behind the scenes

    A typical pitch lasts about an hour.

    A televised segment lasts about 10 minutes, but it uses footage from a pitch that, on average, lasts an hour. In Season 4, Plate Topper founder Michael Tseng was in the Tank for 2 1/2 hours, the longest of any entrepreneur.

    Unlike a typical pitch, the investors know nothing about the entrepreneurs or their products before they enter the room. It's a technique that allows viewers to learn about the people and their companies along with the Sharks.

    The footage editors take out contains the "unsexy" material, where the Sharks and entrepreneurs get into financial minutiae that the typical viewer would either not understand or care much about.



    An entire season is shot in 17 days, split across two marathon sessions.

    The production process is efficient and demanding.

    The past few seasons have had 29 episodes each, and shooting was split over a week and a half in early summer and another stretch in early fall in a Los Angeles studio. The investors see six to eight pitches per day, and days can last up to 12 hours.

    Robert Herjavec said that when he and the Sharks are in their chairs, "We're cold, we're hungry, we're miserable." It's why, he explained, it's necessary that entrepreneurs grab their attention and excite them as quickly as possible.



    Shooting is done in three-day spurts, and each day results in different deals.

    The marathon shooting sessions work in three-day splits with an off day in between. Each day has a distinct feel for the investors, Herjavec explains in his book "You Don't Have to be a Shark."

    On Day 1, the Sharks feel refreshed, and also make a point of playing up their television personas, which can result in an exaggerated positive or negative response to a pitch.

    Day 2 is easily the best, Herjavec writes. Everyone has fully committed to the show and is looking to make a great deal that will make them money.

    A scene where the investors are fighting with each other? It probably happened on Day 3, when the Sharks are most tired, thinking about getting back to their companies, and are often a bit sick of being on set with each other.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    robert herjavec

    When "Shark Tank" returns on September 23 for its season-eight premiere, millions of Americans will tune in to watch a reality show with real stakes, where entrepreneurs pitch their companies to a panel of investors who can potentially change their lives.

    A great product and charisma are necessary for a deal, but a bit of luck is involved as well, since the Sharks' moods are closely tied to their shooting schedule, cast member Robert Herjavec reveals in his latest book, "You Don't Have to be a Shark."

    The series has been huge for the personal brands of each of the six investors and has yielded investments that have made them millions of dollars, but they need to spend as little time as possible in the Los Angeles studio because their businesses are still their primary responsibilities.

    To compromise, the show's producers have worked out a schedule that allows an entire season of about 30 episodes to be shot over 17 days. The seventh season, for example, was split into a session early last summer and then early last fall. Each day on set lasts 12 hours, beginning at 6 a.m. or 7 a.m., and shooting is done in three-day splits separated by an off-day.

    In his book, Herjavec says that each of these three days has a distinct atmosphere, and the day an entrepreneur pitches to them on affects their chances of getting a deal — as well as how the Sharks interact with each other.

    SEE ALSO: 9 successful entrepreneurs share the worst advice they ever received

    Day 1

    "The first day is generally a good one," Herjavec writes. "We reacquaint ourselves with each other and get a buzz from routine preparations, trading gossip, catching up on each other's careers, and talking with crew members in the studio."

    Herjavec notes that the nature of the show requires their full attention, and that at the start of each three-day cycle they are rewiring their brains to forget about whatever is happening back at their companies or even their personal lives.

    To help get into this mindset, the Sharks deliberately play up their personas, Herjavec explains. "For the first few hours of day one Kevin [O'Leary] snarls a little more, Mark [Cuban] is pushier, Lori [Greiner] sharpens her TV smarts, Barbara [Corcoran] plays her strict den mother role with greater relish, and Daymond [John] seems to rise even farther above it all," he writes. "I tend to smile more easily, finding it all entertaining and refreshing."

    So depending on which of the Sharks connects to an entrepreneur's pitch, either with enthusiasm or distaste, landing a Day 1 spot can result in a slightly exaggerated reception.



    Day 2

    "Day two is inevitably the best," Herjavec says. The Sharks aren't distracted by what's happening back at their office and they're not concerned about hamming it up. They're acutely focused on making good deals.

    "Those twelve-hour studio sessions have become our reality, and nothing intrudes on our assessment of the pitches (and the people making them)," he writes.



    Day 3

    Day 3 presents the biggest challenge to entrepreneurs because it's the least enjoyable for the Sharks.

    As the day progresses, Herjavec says, "it becomes difficult to keep our minds off whatever we hope or fear is happening back at the office. It also becomes trickier to overlook little annoyances that were easy to shrug off a day or two earlier, when they might have earned a smile or a joke tossed between us for a laugh."

    The investors start to itch to get back to their companies, and they're more likely to think about how cold, hungry, and miserable they are in the studio, Herjavec says. The producers enjoy the third day, he argues, because the ways the Sharks either attack an entrepreneur giving a weak pitch or attack each other over a deal when they're in this mood makes for great television.

    That's what happened in season six, for example, when Herjavec yelled at Greiner and John for giving a "handout" to an entrepreneur he determined they felt sorry for, before storming off the set, with similarly disgusted Cuban and O'Leary not far behind him.

    "Three days don't represent just the maximum number of days we can stay away from our businesses; it's the maximum number of days we can do our jobs as Sharks and still remain functional," Herjavec writes. "Not to mention amiable and courteous with each other."



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    kevin o'leary

    Hundreds of entrepreneurs have pitched their companies on "Shark Tank" since the show debuted in 2009, but some of the most memorable pitches are the worst ones.

    They stand out for different reasons. In some, the products are ridiculous. In others, the entrepreneurs are completely unprepared or so arrogant they appear clueless.

    In anticipation of the Season 8 premiere on Friday, we've gathered the Sharks' least favorite presentations as well as our own picks for the worst pitches in the show's history.

    SEE ALSO: 15 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'

    Pavlok, Season 7

    Maneesh Sethi's pitch went so off the rails that it ended with Kevin O'Leary calling Sethi an "a--hole" and telling him to "get the f---- out of here."

    Sethi came into the Tank asking for $500,000 in exchange for 3.14% equity of his company Pavlok. It manufactures wristbands which, through either a manual or automatic prompt, shocks its wearer when performing a bad habit.

    It's inspired by decades-old Pavlovian research, but when Mark Cuban asked Sethi if there were any peer-reviewed studies on the effectiveness of his invention, Sethi could only point to an 8-person pilot program with the University of Massachusetts at Boston (not televised) and the research that predated Pavlok. Cuban and Sethi started arguing with each other and Sethi lost his cool, once grabbing his face in frustration.

    O'Leary eventually told Sethi he was intrigued and made an offer that Sethi liked. But Sethi refused it, saying, "I would take an offer from anybody besides Mr. Wonderful," using O'Leary's nickname. He clarified that it was indeed personal, and that's when the altercation happened.

    "Oh, well ... are you all out?" Sethi asked.

    "F--- you," O'Leary responded.



    The Skinny Mirror, Season 8

    Belinda James is the founder of The Skinny Mirror, a company that sells custom mirrors to individuals and businesses that makes the viewer appear skinnier than she is (James' target audience is women). She only sold $85,000 worth of her mirrors when she walked into the Tank, but valued her company at $1 million, asking for $200,000 for 20% of her business.

    In her pitch, James admitted that one could buy a slimming mirror elsewhere, and when several of the Sharks said it was a con, she tried extolling the virtues of businesses selling more products when women look at themselves trying on clothes in a Skinny Mirror.

    "You can smile all you want, but the truth is you're lying to people," O'Leary said. "I'm out, but I also forbid any other Shark from investing in this."



    NoPhone, Season 7

    In 2014, advertising creatives Van Gould and Chris Sheldon thought it would be fun to create a gag gift with an accompanying website to satirize society's increasingly intimate connections to its smartphones and the antisocial behavior that followed. Their creation, the NoPhone, went from a joke with friends to an actual side gig, and they raised around $18,000 on Kickstarter for their useless hunk of plastic that was advertised as a way to help break a smartphone habit.

    The guys are funny, and their satire of companies like Apple is clever, but it was painful to have to watch them go through their pseudo-pitch, for $25,000 in exchange for 25% equity. It seemed as if the Sharks were only slightly in on the joke — and it was never fully clear if Gould and Sheldon were trying to build a novelty gift business or were just mocking the process.

    "There's only one thing I hate more than people staring at their phones, and that's dumb patents," Cuban said.



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    Getty Images chris sacca donald trump shark tank

    Tech billionaire and "Shark Tank" guest investor Chris Sacca isn't impressed with Donald Trump's business record.

    "It's a sad state, this election right now," Sacca told Business Insider during a "Shark Tank" event at New York City's Paley Center for Media earlier this week. "I do not think, for whatever fluster comes out of his mouth, I don't think Trump is a successful business person. I think he's a fake."

    Unlike his fellow "Shark Tank" investor and tech mogul, Mark Cuban, who at first supported Trump's presidential run on the virtues of his business acumen before changing his mind, Sacca feels he and others in Silicon Valley have very little in common with the real estate mogul.

    "[Trump] stands for the opposite of a lot of what we stand for," Sacca told us. "Silicon Valley is the ultimate meritocracy. It's the ultimate expression of the American dream of social mobility. If you bust your ass, and you're smart, and you hustle, and you take some risks, there's a really good chance you can make it in this business. And you can make it big."

    "Silicon Valley is not a place where your dad leaves you tens of millions of dollars or loans you tens of millions more," he continued. "It's not place where you can not pay taxes, hide behind bankruptcy after bankruptcy. It's not a place that tolerates taking advantage of employees and threatening to sue them if they want to get paid in full."

    Sacca — who, through his venture capital fund Lowercase Capital, was an early investor in companies such as Twitter, Uber, Instagram, and Kickstarter – has been thinking a lot about the virtues of the Silicon Valley tech business (and not just in relation to Trump). In fact, he said that's the reason why he has signed on for more episodes of "Shark Tank," which airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC.

    "'Shark Tank' actually brought me back to my very first days where it was just a couple of guys or gals working on a fun idea, written a few lines of code, maybe had a few users," he said. "The conversation wasn't about the big bucks. It was just about how do we make this thing better. Can we help each other do that? I really miss that. I realize that despite the success of our business, the passion had sort of fallen out of it for me. And 'Shark Tank' brought me back to why I care about this."

    SEE ALSO: Tech billionaire Chris Sacca denies report that he threw a tantrum when he couldn't get into 'Hamilton'

    DON'T MISS: Mark Cuban explains why he's no longer voting for Donald Trump

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    NOW WATCH: Watch the brutal Hillary Clinton ad that pits Trump against himself


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    "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran knows Donald Trump better than most people. They both built their real estate fortunes around the same time in New York City.

    "I grew up with him," Corcoran told Business Insider during a "Shark Tank" event at New York's Paley Center for Media this week.

    In the early 1970s, both Corcoran and Trump were starting their real estate careers.

    Corcoran co-founded a real estate business called The Corcoran Group with a $1,000 loan from her then-boyfriend and co-founder. She then later started The Corcoran Report, which followed NYC's real estate trends. At around the same time, Trump took control of his father's real estate and construction business, which he later named The Trump Organization.

    When it comes to business, Corcoran clearly respects the Republican presidential candidate.

    "From the day I met Donald, I remember my first thought on him was that I've never met a better salesman in my life," she recalled. "I was in more business meetings where a customer, client, and even a walk-by had no interest in what he was wanting to sell. And by the time five minutes of Donald talking was over, the guy was begging him for the deal."

    "I probably learned so much about chutzpah and salesmanship watching him, which I tried to incorporate but never really pulled it out," she continued. "I'm a medium salesman. He's an amazing salesman. And what we see in the presidential election today is a phenomenal salesman selling the American people."

    Trump has been criticized by many, including Corcoran's "Shark Tank" colleague Chris Sacca, for building his business with help from his rich father, but she doesn't believe that's fair.

    "As a businessman, [Trump is] clever as a fox and built his empire with a little help from his dad," she told us. "But most of the credit is due him."

    And yet with more than three decades of knowing Trump, Corcoran can't support his bid for president. She finds him too divisive a person for the job.

    "As a leader, I couldn't imagine anyone who would be a less effective leader," she said. "I think leadership has everything to do with integrity. I think it has to do with teaching people to aspire. I think at the core of leadership, you have to get everyone on the same team to move the ball ahead. And you can't have discord, you're a peacemaker as a leader if you want to have a community of spirits and hearts. And I think in all those categories, he has to come back as a different person. Next life, maybe."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor and tech billionaire Chris Sacca calls out Donald Trump: 'I think he's a fake'

    DON'T MISS: Mark Cuban explains why he's no longer voting for Donald Trump

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    shark tank ratings

    "Shark Tank" has found itself in choppy waters with ratings.

    The business-deal reality show returned for its eighth season on September 23 and it's averaging 5 million viewers, 15% less than last season, according to Nielsen ratings.

    Things gets worse when you look at how it's doing among adults under the age of 50, the demographic advertisers want most. Currently, it's averaging a 1.1 rating. That's a huge 23% less than last season.

    What could be causing "Shark Tank's" ratings decline? 

    Star Robert Herjavec thinks there's a level of overexposure at play.

    "After eight seasons, the challenge for us is the show’s always on the air now," he recently told Business Insider while promoting his new project, "Small Business Revolution.""And so it’s hard to have a new premiere when CNBC is playing it 88 times a day, 24 hours every single day. And so I think what we find is that the ratings tend to open a little soft and then build throughout the season."

    There are signs that fans are realizing new episodes are airing on ABC. The second week saw a tiny bump in the total audience, but stayed flat among the 18- to 49-year-old crowd.

    "We’re trying all kinds of things," Herjavec said. "We had six sharks this year, which is impossible to get a word in. We changed seats sometimes. I actually sat next to Mark and Kevin for a while. But it’s really the pitchers. It’s the ingenuity of the businesses. After eight seasons, I’m seeing businesses that are more exciting than ever before."

    What else could the show do to bring back viewers? Business Insider asked a few more of the hosts during a recent "Shark Tank" event at New York City's Paley Center for Media.

    shark tank ratings 2Original female shark and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran says the show has moved time slots so many times that it finds its audience and then loses them again after moving to another time slot. Over the years, "Shark Tank" has aired primarily on Friday nights at 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. But there have been new episodes that have aired on different days.

    "They didn't know when we were on," Corcoran told Business Insider. "So [the show is] getting the confidence of the network to let it grow in its spot, let it stay still for just a little bit."

    Apparel entrepreneur Daymond John feels the answer lies in adapting to new types of social media.

    "It's always a challenge to bring live viewers over," John told us. "Ratings fluctuate and we do have a great amount who DVR it, so we do have a lot of people who come back to it. But Mark Cuban said to us five years ago that we should tweet live as the show goes on. And we were the first cast to tweet live. But as you know, when the show first started there wasn't anything like Snapchat or InstaStory, so we need to constantly evolve. We're always racking our brains on how to increase making this a better experience. It's the same with operating my business. We have to learn about the best ways to convert social media and use them together. It's a constant learning experience."

    Silicon Valley billionaire Chris Sacca, who has signed on to appear on more episodes of "Shark Tank's" eighth season, didn't even have a television until he first joined the show last season. That combined with his tech background, it's easy to understand why Sacca has an idea that goes a step beyond social media into interactivity with the show.

    "I think this industry has to be very aware of where its audience is and how interactive its audience wants its shows to be," he told Business Insider. "I think some of the shows that have big audiences have shown some interactive way for the audience to participate. There's something inherently live about it. It feels like a shared experience."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran weighs in on fellow real estate mogul Donald Trump

    DON'T MISS: 'Shark Tank' investor and tech billionaire Chris Sacca calls out Donald Trump: 'I think he's a fake'

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    NOW WATCH: BARBARA CORCORAN: It's okay to date someone you work with


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    The Sharks have seen it all. Entrepreneurs of all stripes vie for their cash in the Tank, and sometimes their businesses are just plain weird.

    There was the hiker who turns roasted crickets into energy bars, the husband and wife on a mission to change the way we poop, one Squatty Potty at a time, and, who could forget, that guy who badly wants to draw a cat for you.

    One kind of business that hasn’t been pitched on "Shark Tank": a wacky tobacky business. Not yet at least.

    With marijuana now legal in some form in 25 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, and legal at the recreational level in four states, it's probably only a matter of time before a ganjapreneur swims with the Sharks.

    Related: All 7 Shark Tank Stars Share Tips on How to Become a Millionaire

    I spoke with the judges on Sept. 23 during a swanky breakfast in Beverly Hills celebrating the season eight premiere of their hit show to learn how they feel about the budding marijuana industry and whether they’d invest in it. (Fellow Shark Daymond John did not attend the breakfast and has not responded to a request for comment.)

    SEE ALSO: 15 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'

    Kevin O'Leary

    "I would love to invest in the marijuana industry. I've looked at four different deals, but my lawyers tell me I can’t because we need a better mandate. There's a RICO statute in the way. I’ll land my plane in Florida and I'll get arrested because I invested in something in Colorado. I can’t do it.

    "I have to hold off for now. I can’t take that risk. I can't go to jail for being a cannabis investor. My advice to entrepreneurs in this space right now is to stay in the state in which you have your mandate and figure out a way to redeploy your cash because you can’t put it in a bank.

    "This is like the end of prohibition. It's going to be a remarkable opportunity. The cashflow in Colorado is three times what they thought it was going to be. They did the right thing by legalizing it and it’s now a huge cash crop. People should not be going to jail for marijuana. This is substance that’s been used by humans for thousands of years. It's stupid what we’ve done to it, and I think it has to be federally legal.

    "California will switch soon. Once that happens, I think the floodgates will open and I will be one of the first investors when it gets a federal mandate."

    Related: Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary: Having Dyslexia Is a 'Superpower' in Business



    Barbara Corcoran

    "I tried it twice. The first time At 35 and again 10 years later. It was weird and not for me, but it's big business and I'd rather invest in it."

    "I would like Daisy Cakes, one of my best investments from 'Shark Tank,' to make marijuana cakes. Their home-cooked cakes from the south and my girl there is making tons of Daisy Cakes, doing great already. I love her, but I want her to make a marijuana cake, but she won't do it. I advised her to, but she says it would ruin her brand. She's mistaken.

    "My advice to entrepreneurs looking to enter the marijuana business is to be early in their market, because this is a market that’s expanding like crazy. I was in Aspen, Colo., last winter and there were four salons where I could buy marijuana. Now I don't smoke it, so I didn't. But these salons where you can get it are more luxurious than the night clubs out there.

    "Pot's a big business. People know what the profits are going to be, so I think hitting it fast and early is the number-one prize.

    "What's going to destigmatize marijuana is having the old people die off. Anyone who's under 30 believes in it."

    Related: Barbara Corcoran on Why Women Are 'Better at Running Businesses Than Men'



    Robert Herjavec

    "I have no problem with it. I think anything to legitimize any kind of substance that used to be illegal is great because I think you always want to take the criminal element out of it, and I like things that are regulated.

    "In terms of a business trend, I think it's already too late to invest. Like any trend, if we're talking about it, it’s already happened. It's the old Wayne Gretzky quote, 'Don't go where the puck is. Go where the puck's about to be.'

    "I would invest, but I don’t know anything about it. It's just not an area that I understand. I like to invest in things where I understand the tipping points and what's going on."

    Related: Robert Herjavec: 'The World Doesn't Reward Mediocrity.'



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    After seeing hundreds of entrepreneurs pitch their businesses over six full seasons of "Shark Tank," Mark Cuban said there are only three primary categories they can fall into: honest entrepreneurs, arrogant ones, or scam artists.

    At a "Shark Tank" a roundtable discussion hosted by Sony Pictures Television and ABC in late September to celebrate the premiere of the show's eighth season, Cuban explained that each of these types will dictate how he behaves during the pitch.

    1. The honest entrepreneur

    "There are two elements," Cuban said. "It's not just, 'Is it a good business?,' but 'Is it a good investment for us?'

    That means the Sharks will see plenty of entrepreneurs they admire, but in whom they have no interest in investing. Cuban said he will be respectful to these entrepreneurs, regardless of whether he thinks they can make him money.

    "And so if they're an honest entrepreneur, I know we all — except for maybe Kevin [O'Leary] — try to be very supportive. Because we know this is going to air and we're trying to send a message to everybody."

    O'Leary, who is known for bullying entrepreneurs and calling them "cockroaches," explained that the reason he's so harsh is because he thinks he's doing them a service by telling them to stop wasting their time on a struggling business. If they can prove him wrong, then he's happy to hear them out. "I'm trying to test the mettle of those entrepreneurs, because if they think it's tough in the Shark Tank, wait until they get out in the real world,"O'Leary once told Business Insider. "If they can't take a guy like me, then they're not ready."

    At the Season 8 roundtable, fellow Shark Lori Greiner defended Cuban's position, saying that she and Cuban are aware of the children and aspiring entrepreneurs watching the show, and don't want them to see the investors picking on someone following their dream.

    2. The arrogant entrepreneur

    Sometimes an entrepreneur will speak down to the Sharks. They're typically from Silicon Valley, where everyone competes for millions of dollars in capital, or Utah, which is has a rapidly growing startup scene.

    "The arrogant ones are sometimes the most interesting," Cuban said. "And so if they're arrogant, then it becomes a battle of wits for us. You see us perk up, because we want to come right back at them. Like hey you're coming one against five. And we each have our own skill set, and it's hard to match up against that many, even if there's two or three of them. And so that's interesting and that's a different dynamic."

    For example, Cuban has said the worst pitch he's seen on "Shark Tank" was in Season 5, when the cofounders of Rolodoc asked for $50,000 for 20% equity of their confusing mockup of an app — a mockup that didn't even come with a business plan.

    After Cuban dismissed the Rolodoc team by telling them "Worst pitch ever," he told CNBC that "typically I don't like to be mean to entrepreneurs ... but these were two doctors who I think thought they could just snow us and mislead us into thinking that because they're doctors they're smarter than all of us."

    3. The 'scam artist'

    Cuban said some of the entrepreneurs out there are just out to steal people's money. When they find their way into the Tank, they make for some pretty entertaining segments.

    In Season 6, for example, Cuban called out Tycoon Real Estate founder Aaron McDaniel for being "scammy," because he considered McDaniel's real-estate crowdfunding business to be preying on unsophisticated people. Barbara Corcoran, who made her fortune building one of New York's premiere real estate agencies, said McDaniel and his idea were "spooky." The business no longer exists.

    In the same way "Shark Tank" can make a company, it can break one, too. 

    SEE ALSO: 15 behind-the-scenes secrets you didn't know about 'Shark Tank'

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    "Shark Tank" star Robert Herjavec told us what he thinks are the biggest mistakes small business owners make.

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    “Shark Tank” has changed the outlook for many small businesses over its eight years on the air. That makes its stars some of the most knowledgeable people on earth when it comes to what makes or breaks small businesses and why they’re so important to the American economy.

    “Small businesses are near and dear to my heart, both from the show and my personal experience,” “Shark Tank” star Robert Herjavec recently told Business Insider.

    In addition to his "Shark Tank" duties, Herjavec has spent about a year working with Deluxe Corporation on “The Small Business Revolution,” which picks an American town and helps to turn around its local economy though supporting small businesses.

    “I think that in America today, that is security: starting a business, being an entrepreneur is security,” he said. “The idea of getting a job at a big company and retiring on a pension — that’s long gone.”

    But that doesn't mean being an entrepreneur is easy. Business Insider asked Herjavec and his “Shark Tank” costars what they believe to be the biggest challenges small businesses grapple with on the path to success.

    Here are five big mistakes small business owners make according to the "Shark Tank" stars:

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' is losing a lot of viewers — here's how the stars think it can turn around

    DON'T MISS: 'Shark Tank' investor Barbara Corcoran weighs in on fellow real estate mogul Donald Trump

    Small business owners have a problem with thinking big.

    "The biggest challenge for a small business in a small town is the same as a small business in a big town: thinking big, being able to compete with large-scale competitors, and at the same time staying relevant," Herjavec said.

    In order to get there, Herjavec suggests entrepreneurs look for strategic partners.

    "People start a small business to do dry cleaning or be a bake shop, or to take care of dogs, or whatever their passion was," he continued. "And you’ve got to find that help, because if you can’t have a brand on a small town, you can’t have a brand on a global scale."



    Thinking big doesn't mean getting a big head.

    "Once a small business is up and running and entrepreneurs have a mini-hit on their hands, the biggest challenge is keeping the entrepreneur’s head on their shoulders," Barbara Corcoran told Business Insider. "There’s something about instant fame and quick success where people get a big head and you have to squeeze it in. That’s the biggest problem with my entrepreneurs."



    Small business owners mistake successful crowdfunding campaigns with success.

    "Small business owners have seen people create large amounts of revenue from crowdfunding, but they don’t see a lot of the backstories," Daymond John told Business Insider.

    "If you were fortunate enough to have a large amount of people crowdfund your product, were you able to deliver to them afterward and deliver on that promise? Because after you sell that first piece, you have a lot of business to do after that," he said. "You can make anybody buy once, but can you do two, three, seven times? They think they just need a million dollars, but that’s just the beginning of their problems."



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    "Shark Tank" investor Barbara Corcoran talks about guest Shark billionaire Chris Sacca.

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    Of all the startup investments Barbara Corcoran has made in her eight seasons on "Shark Tank," about two-thirds of them have flopped.

    However, she explained in a recent Facebook Live Q&A at Business Insider's New York office, the remaining third have made her a lot of money.

    The common trait of the entrepreneurs who have made Corcoran money? "They're not so smart."

    Making deals with unintelligent business founders may sound like a bad approach, but she's referring to the way they carry themselves when things get tough.

    Corcoran said that every business, whether it succeeds or fails, inevitably runs into a major obstacle — that moment is Corcoran's test of whether she can trust the founder.

    The two-thirds of her entrepreneurs who will lose her money react by blaming someone or something and go sulk "for a number of days, or sometimes weeks," she said. "Those are the people, that I now know as an experienced shark, who are never going to make it in business. The minute someone starts feeling sorry for themselves, they are not an entrepreneur, because you don't have that luxury in life."

    Here's where that "stupidity" comes in.

    "You almost have to be too stupid to lay low when you're smashed," Corcoran said. "If you want to be an entrepreneur, you have to have a low enough IQ so that you bounce back up and say 'Hit me again.'"

    cousins maine lobster barbara corcoranCorcoran is partial to non-MBA types because she prefers working with someone who won't overanalyze risk and who will ignore safe choices to plow through the difficulties of building a business.

    "They're smarter on their feet; they're smarter at recovering. They're not book smart," she said. "I don't even know if they have a high IQ, but guess what — they're natural-born entrepreneurs."

    She gave an example of a moment when she knew that she would have a great partnership with two of her favorite "Shark Tank" entrepreneurs, Cousins Maine Lobster founders Sabin Lomac and Jim Tselikis.

    For a Season 7 update on the deal Corcoran struck with Lomac and Tselikis in Season 4, a "Shark Tank" production crew traveled to Maine to report on the company's franchise expansion.

    Corcoran explained in the Q&A:

    "I'm thinking, 'How do I get their brand in this update? And so I say, 'Quick, you've got two days to do it — get giant chef hats, put them on your 50 employees. Puff them up with garbage bags! ... And I want "Cousins" in bright red letters across the band.'

    "They got that done overnight. I don't know how they did it — 50 hats done, delivered on time. The producer walks into the set, looks at all the employees with the giant chef hats, and says, 'This is no good. Get rid of the hats. Too much.' And Sabin turns and says, 'I'm sorry, it's our company policy. We never let our cooks take their hats off.'

    "I looked at Sabin, I thought, 'I love you, baby. I love you so much! You're going to make me so much money.' And of course, he makes me so much money.

    "That's called smart on your feet."

    Watch the full Facebook Live Q&A:

    SEE ALSO: Mark Cuban says 'Shark Tank' showed him there are 3 types of entrepreneurs

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    Shaan Patel

    Shaan Patel, a 27-year-old entrepreneur from Las Vegas, had an envy-inducing high school résumé.

    He was the valedictorian of his class, was crowned homecoming king, and even shook President George W. Bush's hand in 2007 as a White House Presidential Scholar, a program that recognizes two academically gifted students from each state.

    He also scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT.

    And yet, every Ivy League school that he applied to rejected him: Harvard, Princeton, and a special medical program at Brown. Patel also received a rejection from Stanford.

    Rather than allowing these rejections to discourage him, Patel used them as motivation and parlayed his perfect SAT score into a thriving SAT test-prep company, Prep Expert, elevated in large part because of his appearance on "Shark Tank" in January 2016.

    "'Shark Tank' was definitely the catalyst behind a lot of our growth at Prep Expert," Patel told Business Insider in October. "To have the exposure to 10 million people in a weekend really made a difference in our company."

    While Patel founded the company in 2011, he won the backing of billionaire investor Mark Cuban on the show. The two have now partnered to bring SAT and ACT prep course to classrooms and online. Patel received $250,000 from Cuban for a 20% stake in his company.

    Before Patel went on the show, the company achieved some moderate success, doing about $1 million in sales a year. When Patel went on "Shark Tank," however, sales exploded. Since his episode aired about 10 months ago, the company has achieved $6 million in sales.

    "We're doing almost 10 times the sales we used to do," Patel said. "I really believe 'Shark Tank' is the most powerful marketing engine in the world."

    Now Prep Expert offers classroom instruction in 20 states across the US and online programming.

    Patel's success in business wasn't always guaranteed, though. He spent his formative years in the Sky Ranch Motel, a self-proclaimed budget motel in Las Vegas that his family owned and operated as well as called their home.

    "At a young age I saw, like, drug deals and prostitutes," Patel told Business Insider last year.

    The motel is a source of embarrassment for his mother, he said, but Patel embraces it and doesn't try to downplay its existence in his life.

    Ivy League rejections

    Sky Ranch Motel

    When Patel applied to colleges, he had high hopes for acceptance into the Ivy League. But soon the rejections started to pile up.

    "I do think that Asian-Americans have a disadvantage applying to college," Patel said.

    Patel, who is Indian-American, was referring to both his own rejections as well as recent news stories about Asian-Americans who say they face discrimination in college applications. In fact, some admissions officers acknowledge that Asian-American applicants may have a harder time getting into top schools, as they may fall into a group of peers with relatively high test scores.

    Not one to dwell on disappointments, Patel took a spot at the University of Southern California on a full scholarship.

    At USC, he pursued a joint bachelor of arts/doctor of medicine program that had always piqued his interest. In high school, Patel's volunteering in the emergency department of a hospital developed into a passion for medicine and the desire to become a doctor.

    The joint-degree program at USC offered a way into medical school and ensured he'd be able to realize his dream of becoming a practicing physician.

    More disappointment before finding success

    Shaan Patel

    Patel has always been the type of person who embraces having a full plate.

    "I like being busy," he said.

    But "busy" seems to be a bit of an understatement.

    After finishing his undergraduate studies and nearing the start of his first year in medical school, Patel wrote an SAT prep book to help students prepare for the exam using the same methods he did. But his attempts to find a publisher were unsuccessful.

    One editor even went as far as to give him the brutal feedback that he didn't have an engaging personality and wasn't a great writer no matter how well he scored on the SAT.

    Undaunted, Patel used the last of his scholarship money — $900 — to launch his SAT prep website, then called 2400 Expert. He advertised the SAT prep course as the only one taught by a student who earned a perfect score in high school.

    The initial course ran during the summer before Patel started medical school and grew exponentially from there. He had only a handful of instructors at the time, but word caught on after his pilot course showed an average improvement per student of 376 points.

    Now that the test is scored on a 1600-point scale, the average improvement for students after taking Patel's course is 210 points. That kind of improvement is unheard of in the test-prep industry, according to Patel.

    After that first summer, Patel trained qualified instructors and managed the company remotely from California. And more satisfying, McGraw-Hill, one of the education publishing giants, saw the momentum 2400 Expert was gaining and offered Patel a book deal.

    Patel's book "SAT 2400 in Just 7 Steps" was published in July 2012.

    More college aspirations

    While juggling a growing SAT prep business, Patel was also studying for medical licensing board exams and taking on 36-hour surgical rotation shifts at the hospital. He still loved the medical profession, but was also highly interested in learning how to scale and grow his business.

    Shaan Patel

    In 2014, he decided to take a two-year leave of absence from USC to pursue business school at Yale's School of Management. He credits business school as a major reason for his current success.

    "It was the best thing that ever happened to me," Patel said. "If I wasn't in business school, I wouldn't have made that hour-and-a-half trip from Yale to New York to go to that 'Shark Tank' audition."

    Patel earned his MBA from Yale in May and has reenrolled in the fourth year of his medical program at USC. Still, his sights are set on continuing to grow Prep Expert, the name his company took on in 2016. He aims to make Prep Expert one of the largest test prep providers in the country.

    Those are lofty goals for someone currently applying for a residency programs — in his case, a dermatology residency. Patel, however, has no plans of slowing down, and is currently writing a book with Cuban that teaches kids how to start their own business.

    "We want to foster entrepreneurship in kids," Patel said.

    SEE ALSO: How to answer the only essay question on the Harvard Business School application

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