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- 02/04/15--06:04: _How 'Shark Tank' ju...
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- 02/12/15--07:31: _Why 'Shark Tank' in...
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- 02/16/15--03:34: _This Australian Sha...
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- 02/20/15--12:57: _'Shark Tank' invest...
- 02/02/15--09:01: 'Shark Tank' investor explains how to make a great first impression
- 02/04/15--06:04: How 'Shark Tank' judge Steve Baxter makes his investment decisions
- 02/05/15--13:03: 'Shark Tank' investor Kevin O'Leary explains why 'business is war'
- 02/16/15--03:34: This Australian Shark Tank investor ate dog food on TV
Mark Cuban did something that no one's ever done on "Shark Tank" before: On the show, he made a deal not to invest in a company, but buy it outright.
The deal to buy struggling novelty sticker company evREwares for $200,000 made for great drama for the show's viewers, but it turns out the deal never went through.
When the sister cofounders behind evREwares, Becca Nelson and Ellie Brown, pitched their novelty sticker company to the Sharks in the latest episode of the sixth season, all the investors determined that the business was headed toward failure.
Cuban, however, saw an opportunity to take the company's existing connections and reinvent the brand as an outlet for fan merchandise for his NBA team, the Dallas Mavericks. He made an offer to buy evREwares, and after an emotional conversation, Nelson and Brown decided to let go of their baby.
But despite the great television that came from the surprising offer and subsequent tears, the sisters later decided that they couldn't follow through with it, according to ABC 11, the network's local affiliate for the sisters' hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina.
After taking some time to think about it, the sisters told ABC 11, they realized they got caught up in the moment and weren't willing to let go of their company, which produces premium wearable stickers meant for children's parties or lighthearted special events.
"We were berated for a solid 25 minutes," Nelson said in her ABC 11 interview, which led the sisters to believe in the moment that their company, which had $300,000 in sales in 2013 but was on track to make just $50,000 in 2014 after retailers decided not to place more orders, was struggling too much to survive.
It got them thinking about "the sacrifices that you make every day with your kids, your spouse, your family, everything" since founding evREwears in 2011, Nelson and Brown said. "In the hallway, we were like, 'We could take all that back.' You could feel the whole set, just the energy, change," Nelson said.
"Mark and his team reached out right after the show,"Brown told the Triangle Business Journal. "It was really hard, but Becca and I didn't feel like we could sell our company."
On the set of "Shark Tank," Cuban told the misty-eyed sisters, "I promise to take good care of your baby and do the best I can to raise it from the dead and turn it into something special."
When the sisters told Cuban they changed their minds, he was "so nice about it," Brown said, and he even offered to be a free adviser to help turn the company around, which is a deal the sisters are more than happy to take.
"Shark Tank" viewers saw Scratch & Grain Baking Co. founders Leah Tutin and Taya Geiger shed a good amount of tears as they made their way through their pitch in the latest episode of the sixth season, but even so, Barbara Corcoran estimates the show's editors cut out 95% of the crying.
And although Corcoran says it's totally not her style to make a deal with overly emotional entrepreneurs, she still offered Tutin and Geiger a $150,000 line of credit in exchange for 20% of the company.
In the tank, Tutin and Geiger explain that they left comfortable careers because they wanted to pursue something they could be truly passionate about, and a cookie kit business allowed them to build something they could enjoy with their kids.
The Sharks say the Scratch & Grain cookies are delicious, but they get wary when the founders tell them that they've made only $52,000 in sales over 14 months. Tutin and Geiger say the low sales are mainly due to the lack of automation in their business, and the investors voice concern over how much effort it would take to kickstart the business.
Geiger starts to explain what the company means to her. She then tells the investors that she grew up with a single mother who had a drug problem and that she's dedicated her career to avoiding the mistakes her mom made. The tears start flowing and then spread throughout the room. Geiger later jokes that the investors shouldn't get a pregnant woman crying.
In the televised version, it appears as if the founders and investors let go of some tears and then move on, but Corcoran tells Business Insider that it stretched on much longer:
I thought they were gonna take a stretcher and haul them off. And they cried so much, I thought for sure it wouldn't air, and it is airing.
I'm like, geez, how did they edit that one down? I hope they took their 30 minutes of tears and cut it down to like a 10-second clip! But I don't know how they're going to do that, because even in their pitch, they're weeping.
Ay, ay, ay! If they weren't going to be taken out of there, I was going to be taken out. And I bought them. Not because of the tears, but I had to listen between the tears to really get what the heck they were talking about... I still can't believe I closed on that.
Corcoran says that she doesn't want anyone to get the impression that she made the deal because she was swayed by emotion. In retrospect, she's surprised that she decided to set aside the entrepreneurs' emotional reactions and rationally weigh a bet on them, since crying in the tank, she says, "turns me off totally."
But because Scratch & Grain already has connections with Whole Foods and Sur La Table and she's offering money that will be paid back, she's giving Tutin and Geiger a chance to cut costs of production and start cranking out products.
She stands by her decision today, she says. "They aren't crying anymore, and are off to a fast start with more than $50,000 in sales so far this week," a boost that came within two days of the episode's airing.
With any given pitch, the "Shark Tank" investors are looking for a personality they trust, a product they can add value to, and an opportunity to make a ton of money.
In rare instances, all five Sharks see each of these requirements fulfilled, as they did with Max Gunawan, the San Francisco-based founder and inventor of Lumio.
In the latest episode of the TV show's sixth season, Gunawan entered the tank seeking $250,000 for 8% of his company, which produces a sleek book that unfolds into a rechargeable, adjustable fanned lamp. The ends are magnetic, which means they can be linked to each other or attached to metal fixtures.
The investors all found the product delightful, interesting, and useful, but they appeared most impressed with Gunawan's dedication and hustle.
He left a career in architecture to develop Lumio in 2013, raising an initial round of funding on Kickstarter. He sought only $60,000 on the crowdfunding site but made almost $580,000 by the time the campaign ended. By the end of 2013, he brought in $1 million in sales without any traditional marketing campaign.
Gunawan said his projected sales for 2014 ranged from $2 million to $2.5 million, thanks to distribution deals in art museums across the US and retailers in Tokyo. A healthy 15% of revenue was profit.
But, Gunawan said, demand surpassed supply, and he wanted the capital and strategic partner to scale his business.
Each Lumio book retails for $190 and initially cost $80 to produce. To lower production costs, Gunawan told the Sharks, he traveled to the Chinese factory constructing his products and lived there for four months to help optimize the process. He was able to lower the cost to $65 per book and was looking to further reduce it to $50.
"I don't think we've ever had anybody come out here and say, 'I got a factory in China, and I went and lived there for four months'!" investor Robert Herjavec said.
"And I know what that's like, and that was not easy!" investor Lori Greiner adds.
Herjavec kicked off a round of offers in which all five Sharks — Herjavec plus Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, and Greiner — explained to Gunawan why their background and expertise would be the key to Lumio's continued success.
We've summarized the "Shark fight" that ensues, paraphrasing each of the investors' positions:
Robert Herjavec: I like where you're taking the company and your valuation is fair. $250,000 for 10%.
Kevin O'Leary: I'll double the valuation of your company from $3.1 million to $6.2 million, so that you can sell equity for more in the future, if necessary. $250,000 for 4% equity, with $7 royalty/unit until I make $500,000 on the deal.
Mark Cuban: Demand on e-commerce will skyrocket once the "Shark Tank" episode airs; e-commerce is my specialty. I'll provide capital to grow inventory to meet demand and will optimize your e-commerce system, in exchange for enough of the company to make it worth my time and energy. $500,000 for 16%.
Lori Greiner: I see presence in museum shops as crucial to success. I'd like to use my background in product development to help you create the next generation of products, which could include colored lighting. $250,000 for 12% and a $250,000 line of credit.
Daymond John: Lori and I are the only Sharks who "eat, sleep product every day," and I'm the better pick because I'll use my network to license the product out and secure distributors and will provide enough money so that you won't need to finance again. $750,000 for 20% and a $10 million line of credit.
RH: Will up offer. I think you're already on the right path, and I don't want to see you give up too much equity. $350,000 for 10%.
Gunawan ended up making a deal with Herjavec. "He's exactly who I wanted to partner with," Gunawan said after he left the tank.
In his pitch, Gunawan shared the prototype of a portable Lumio book, which he wanted customers to always keep in their bags while traveling. His Japanese distributors say their customers are eager to buy, and it's now available for preorder on the Lumio website.
Herjavec told Business Insider last year that he seeks entrepreneurs he wants to hang out with and guide to success, rather than those who require him to do their work for them. As he explained to Gunawan in the tank, he respects his vision and wants only to provide resources and advice along the way, rather than charting a new path for Lumio.
After the episode premiered, Herjavec wrote about Gunawan on Twitter: "Success takes sacrifice and true commitment — living in the factory — such an incredible guy."
Herjavec struck a goofy pose with a Lumio book after making the deal:
For "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John, the best investment of his life will always be FUBU. And for good reason. He turned his initial $40 investment into a multimillion-dollar clothing line. Today, he's applying his entrepreneurial expertise to a company called Moguls Mobile.
Produced by Will Wei
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Inspiration often comes from unlikely places.
If you watch the show "Shark Tank," you know it often comes from the hosts who make comments during the pitches (and not always from the companies making the pitches).
All of the sharks are smart and savvy, but I tend to listen more intently to Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner. They seem to show more empathy and have a keener eye when it comes to understanding the person behind the idea.
Here are some of the best comments they've made, both during the show and in their written works.
1. "A complainer is like a Death Eater because there's a suction of negative energy. You can catch a great attitude from great people."
2. "When you're selecting team members to join your startup or small business, make sure you pick someone who shares your vision and is just as enthusiastic as you. That sounds like a no-brainer on paper but watch out, because in real life the search can be difficult."
3. "All the best things that happened to me happened after I was rejected. I knew the power of getting past no."
4. "People want to do business with someone they like. If people like you, they're going to want to do business with you. And if they don't, you're going to have an almost insurmountable obstacle to overcome."
5. "Make sure you pick good people to build your business with, as they'll determine 80 percent of your success. The best people are honest and have lots of enthusiasm. Don't worry too much about their level of experience when you're interviewing, as the right attitude always delivers much more than just experience."
6. "I built the business exactly the way my mother built and ran her family. I wanted a replication of the big, happy family I grew up in. I wanted happy people having fun."
7. "I was a hot-dog stand lady, I was an orphan housemother, I was a waitress three or four times. All of those jobs did not have good bosses. They basically told you what to do, when to do it, and when to hop. And I just didn't like that very much."
8. "The difference between successful people and others is how long they spend time feeling sorry for themselves."
9. "Finding opportunity is a matter of believing it's there."
10. "Don't you dare undermine the power of your own instinct."
11. "I've achieved a certain amount of success, and now I'm thinking about the good things I can do."
12. "I can tell instantly if a product is a hero or a zero."
13. "Dear optimist, pessimist, and realist — while you guys were busy arguing about the glass of wine, I drank it! Sincerely, the opportunist!"
14. "When I had challenges, it taught me to be more on top of it for the future. Things go wrong all the time when you are running your own business, but it's how you perceive it and deal with it that matters."
15. "Entrepreneurs are willing to work 80 hours a week to avoid working 40 hours per week."
16. "The big thing for me is, I never think about myself as a female in business. I'm a person in business."
17. "In business, it is most often all about getting your foot in the door, and once you do, everything opens up and things start to naturally progress into bigger and more opportunities."
18. "You are wise when you listen, especially to people with experience."
19. "A brilliant idea doesn't guarantee a successful invention. Real magic comes from a brilliant idea combined with willpower, tenacity, and a willingness to make mistakes."
20. "As an entrepreneur, you can always find a solution if you try hard enough."
Remember when Bluetooth headsets were a convenient, socially acceptable way to answer your cellphone without having to take it out of your pocket?
Now, many cheap pairs of headphones come with built-in microphones that don't make you look like an idiot, but imagine if you could answer your calls without needing to fuss with any accessory. That's what drove Darrin Johnson to enter the "Shark Tank" in the pilot episode of the reality pitch show.
He presented his Ionic Ear, a Bluetooth device that could be surgically implanted in the user's ear canal. It required a cotton swab-sized charger to be inserted every night.
In the past six seasons of "Shark Tank," no product has been so out of touch with what consumers needed or desired, and no presentation has been as awkward as Johnson's.
"That was the worst pitch," investor Barbara Corcoran tells Business Insider. Corcoran brought it up in a special retrospective segment on the series' 100th episode, and all of the investors agreed that it would be hard to top the Ionic Ear. (Johnson, a telecommunications engineer, did not respond to a request for comment.)
Here's a breakdown of the pitch.
Darrin Johnson wants $1 million for a 15% stake in his proposed company, Ionic Ear. Funding would go toward developing the product.
As Johnson explains his implantable technology, Daymond John looks dumbfounded. The device is "implanted" into some other device, right?
No, the device is surgically implanted into the neck, below the ear.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Jishai Evers, a designer based in Amsterdam and Tel Aviv, spent three days going through six seasons of ABC's hit show "Shark Tank." He analyzed the results of 432 pitches to find out how the Sharks spent their money.
"I think the main takeaway is the fact that the bigger the team is, the higher your chances are to get an investment," Evers tells Business Insider.
Moreover, he was surprised to find that the Sharks have been equal opportunity investors. "White men are actually less likely to successfully pitch the Sharks, and minorities and women perform better than average."
Evers was also excited to find that women performed better than men as both single entrepreneurs and in teams. "I think Silicon Valley investors can learn a thing or two from the Sharks!" he says.
Evers created the below infographic from his data, which he originally published on his data visuals site dadaviz.
Before people knew him as an investor on Shark Tank, Daymond John made his millions from FUBU – a clothing line he launched with his friends in the early 90s. So, it's safe to say that Daymond John knows a thing or two about fashion. The dapper Shark Tank investor and Moguls Mobile founder tells us how you should dress for success.
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Shark Tank judge Steve Baxter has more investments than he can manage on his own.
He has a team of pros who manage many of them, from indoor skydiving to medical software, payments, and mobile marketing tech including OtherLevels, which is looking at a potential ASX IPO this year.
Baxter was one of the key players behind Brisbane co-working tech startup space River City Labs, he’s a founding member of StartupAus and is a passionate Australian tech investor.
“I live in Brisbane so that makes Brisbane investments easier,” he said. “I’m an exceptionally patriotic Australian.”
Aside from investing in numerous Australian tech startups, Baxter is focused on “doing good business with good people”.
“I tend to invest in people. If I don’t like you I won’t invest in you. That’s a pretty subjective thing for me but if you set my skin crawling I don’t really care if you’re flapping gold in your hand. I won’t be investing in you,” he said.
While the numbers need to work, if he doesn’t think he can get along with the entrepreneur he won’t be progressing “the relationship let alone the investment”.
Baxter enlisted in the Australian Defence Force at age 15 and he spent nine years managing electronics, telecoms and guided weapons systems before leaving to launch his first startup an ISP called SE Net which he sold to Ozemail and UUNet.
His second startup, PIPE Networks, was sold to TPG for a whopping $373 million in 2010. He’s also clocked up some time working at Google in Silicon Valley.
It’s this background which has him looking for founders with “mad technical skills”.
“They have to know what they’re talking about – it’s very important,” he said, adding only then, if he likes you, will he look at the opportunity.
Baxter is one of the judges on the Australian version of Shark Tank, which premiers on Channel Ten this Sunday.
He took on the opportunity to educate entrepreneurs and give advice people who are looking to start their own businesses.
“I love the concept of what shark tank can do. I talk to a lot of entrepreneurs. I give them my perspective on their business,” he said.
“No one dies wondering in front of me. I tell them what I think of it.
“It could be a good show or a bloody disaster.”
There were about 3,500 applications for this season of Shark Tank. That number was narrowed down to about 500 and the sharks saw about 120 pitches.
Although the judges aren’t allowed to disclose a lot about the upcoming series, Baxter said: “I made my best investment ever in terms of straight valuation on the show. It’s a cracker!”
“There are real deals that go down. I had quite a large deal rejected on me,” he said.
The deals are done using the judge’s own funds. To become a judge they they needed to have an undisclosed level of wealth and there was an expectation that deals would be closed.
Other judges on this season of Shark Tank include real estate entrepreneur John McGrath, Boost Juice founder Janine Allis, Talent2 MD Andrew Banks and RedBalloon founder Naomi Simson.
Kevin O'Leary, known by "Shark Tank" fans as "Mr. Wonderful," is a no-nonsense investor who isn't afraid of calling an entrepreneur a "cockroach" or saying that their company sucks.
He got his nickname in the first season of the reality pitch show from fellow Shark Barbara Corcoran, but it's a title he's embraced and made his own.
O'Leary grew up in Montreal and received his MBA in 1980. His second business, the software company Softkey, became successful enough to acquire The Learning Company in 1995 and subsequently adopted its name. Four years later, O'Leary and his business partner Michael Perik sold the company to Mattel for $4.2 billion.
Newly rich O'Leary became a venture capitalist, mutual fund manager, and television personality, serving as one of the original investors on "Dragon's Den," the Canadian series that inspired "Shark Tank."
Last year, he announced that he would appear exclusively on "Shark Tank," and that the companies he's invested in would be collected under the O'Leary Financial Group.
We spoke to Mr. Wonderful about his business philosophy, what he looks for in an entrepreneur, and why he can be so nasty in the Tank.
The following interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
BUSINESS INSIDER: At what point in your life did you realize you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
KEVIN O'LEARY: When I was in high school, I got a job as an ice cream scooper at Magoo's Ice Cream Parlour. It was the end of the day of my second day of work, and the woman who owned the ice cream parlor said to me, "Listen, before you go, scrape all the gum up between the tiles." It was a terracotta tile floor.
I said, "No, I'm not going to do that. You hired me to be an ice cream scooper." She said, "I hired you for whatever I want. You work for me. Scrape the gum or you're fired." And I said, "I'm not doing it," and so she fired me.
I didn't know what "fired" was, to be honest with you.
It really shocked me, and of course it was really embarrassing.
I realized then that when you work for somebody else, you're basically their slave. From that day on I swore I'd never work for anyone else. That was the beginning of my journey.
BI: Have you spoken to her since?
I went back decades later to find the owner because I owe her such a debt of gratitude. I never did find her — and when I visited the mall I realized I could buy it today if I wanted and bulldoze it — but she was a very important part of my decision-making for the rest of life.
That's how it started. I'll never forget it.
BI: Who were some mentors who inspired you?
KO: My biological father died when he was 36 years old, and my stepfather became a big mentor for me in my early years. I suffered from dyslexia and had a really hard time with reading and math early on and he helped me through that.
And then when I graduated from undergrad with a bachelor's in psychology and environmental studies he looked at me and said, "You know you don't have the skillset to get a job. You're going to have a tough time." At that time, I was trying to be a filmmaker and photographer with marginal success. He said, "You should go back to business school and get some skills. Who knows what will happen."
I got an MBA and started a business when I got out, ironically in television production. I sold the company and then started a software firm — a classic out-of-the-basement situation — which turned into The Learning Company. We sold it for $4.2 billion. I've never been able to recreate a deal of that size again, but I've had many other various successes since in different sectors.
I've never worked for anybody in my life, and I'm pretty happy with that.
BI: Who taught you about money?
KO: My mother. Even at a very young age she worked at a company called Kiddies Togs that made winter clothing for kids. She would get paid on Thursdays, and every Thursday she would take a third of her paycheck and go buy bonds with it. She would tell my brother and me, "Never spend principal, only the interest." I didn't know what she was talking about at the time, but she was very concerned about preservation of capital — that was her whole thing.
After she died I became the executive of her estate, and I saw her portfolio for the first time. For 50 years all she had invested in was corporate bonds and given it to large cap stocks, and she beat every index in the world and every portfolio manager.
I don't know how she knew that, or why she felt that way, but her strategy of investing has built a billion dollar mutual fund company — that's O'Leary Funds— because basically what I did is I created a bunch of funds around that philosophy. I don't allow my portfolio managers to buy any stocks that don't pay dividends and we have done very, very well.
BI: What did you learn from managing businesses?
KO: There's a guy named Gerry Patterson. He was a sports agent and he was a partner of mine in a company called Special Event Television. He's dead now, but he once told me when we had some huge problem with our business, "Listen, Kevin. Every day, poo poo's gonna hit the fan. Stuff is gonna happen, and it's gonna be bad. You just don't know when or how bad it's gonna be. But you have to put shutters on, set a goal, don't listen to the noise, and just go forward. All of that noise is a distraction, and if you let it distract you, you'll fail."
Years later we were doing a hostile acquisition of Broderbund for $500 million, and they were taking it out on us in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, digging all the dirt they could about me. In the darkest hours, even though Gerry was gone, it was like he was saying to me, "Listen. Don't crack. It's all noise. "
And we won that deal in a vicious takeover battle. I remember flying out west to the board and going in there after all those guys had been so difficult to work with and firing all of them. Not that revenge is sweet — it's just if you stay focused, you're a very powerful force.
Since then, I tell all the entrepreneurs I mentor that story and explain to them, "I swear to you it's going to be very hard. Business is hell on earth. But if you can stay focused and remember Gerry's words, you'll win. You'll beat those battles." And I think if you're an entrepreneur, you want to fight those fights. That's the whole reason you do it. You want to win.
BI: Is that your business approach in a nutshell?
KO: Yeah. My attitude is business is war. You send out your soldiers every day in the form of your capital, and you want them to come home with prisoners. You want to salt the earth that your competitor is lurking on. You want to steal their market share. You want to destroy them and get their customers.
I'm not into this Kumbaya thing about business. There are winners and losers, and I want my entrepreneurs and me to fall into the winning camp.
Not everybody agrees on my philosophy, but in the end, the only things that matter are your shareholders and your customers. To try and say that businesses are going to solve all social problems means you don't understand the idea of business. Business is about return of capital, return of your shareholders' capital, and winning. It's that simple.
BI: When you're on "Shark Tank," what are you looking for in entrepreneurs that indicates they could align with your interest and approach?
KO: When I value a business, I ask myself, "How good is this entrepreneurial team, and how broad is the product in terms of its desire from the consumer?"
I invested in Wicked Good Cupcakes because pretty much everybody eats cupcakes. The fastest-growing cupcake brand in America today is Wicked Good Cupcakes. Why? Because it was on "Shark Tank." It used to have maybe $7,000 a month in sales, and now it's now nearly $400,000 a month.
I look at companies and say to myself, "OK, how much value can I add by being an investor? What do I know, and what does my team know about what their business does?"
I've got 21 different investments now that are private in O'Leary Ventures. Some are mediocre, and some are wildly successful. I just sold GrooveBook last month to Shutterfly for $14.5 million dollars. That's the biggest exit ever on "Shark Tank." And that company is only 11 months old, so that's the power of "Shark Tank," and that's why I think it's the most fascinating venture capital experiment ever created.
BI: Many times on "Shark Tank" it seems as if you're holding court. You'll narrate what has unfolded and move deals along even if they're not yours. How did that dynamic develop?
KO: It's the natural ebb and flow of what occurs with our different personalities.
My personal opinion of "Shark Tank" is that the entrepreneur is standing in a very valuable spot when they're presenting. I get frustrated when I see people wasting my time. So I determine if a deal has merit or not. If it does, then I want one of the Sharks to invest in it, but let's move it along because I want to see the next deal.
BI: You often make aggressive or demeaning comments in the Tank. Is that a tactic?
KO: 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. If they can't take a guy like me, then they're not ready.
Maybe people think I'm bullying them. That's not true. I'm the only guy there who tells the truth all the time. I don't care about your feelings; I care about your money.
I look at business as binary: either you make money or you lose money.
I say to Barbara all the time, "Why are you so worried about their feelings? Who cares? If the business has no merit and it's a bankrupt idea, they're going to fail anyways. You're doing them a huge favor if you're telling them the truth."
And if it's not the truth, then debate it with me. Tell me why I'm wrong.
I'm not trying to make friends. I'm trying to make money. It's that simple.
BI: You're unique among the Sharks for your affinity for deals that aren't straightforward equity deals.
KO: We've all been getting more complicated in terms of how we structure deals because they're much larger now. I do equity deals, venture debt, royalty deals, convertible ventures, preference shares.
The point is, there are many ways to skin the cat. I think by doing more creative structures, you're aligning yourself with the entrepreneur based on the business risk you're taking.
I do structures to protect my capital and then I participate in the upside. Generally my entrepreneurs are pretty happy with my deals.
KO: Zipz is an industry-changing deal. Of all the beverages in America, the only one that is not available in single serve in any notable market share is wine. Many have tried before to do it, and no one has been successful. I'm looking at Zipz as a multi-year investment. I have to now go winery to winery, brand to brand — including my own [O'Leary Fine Wines] — to arrange deals and go to retailers to convince them that they want to stock single-serve wine.
I think we'll be looking at Zipz three years from now, and hopefully it will have gained some market share. Right now we're just at the beginning stages, and we're doing a lot of work to finalize the design so that it's cost effective for wine makers and retailers, and also able to store wine for at least a year. I think we've licked both those problems.
We're launching our next platform at the end of March, and so I'm very excited about it, while recognizing it's not an overnight success by any means.
BI: What makes a "Shark Tank" pitch successful?
KO: I've seen thousands of presentations. If you look at the common thread in all of the companies that got financed, regardless of the outcome, you find three common attributes:
1. They're able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less.
2. They're able to explain why they are the right people to execute the business plan.
3. They know their numbers.
I've seen so many deals fall apart after the first two have been achieved, and then you ask questions about anything to do with the numbers side and if they don't know the answer, they just evaporate. You lose confidence immediately when someone doesn't understand the numbers.
BI: What are some of the worst pitches you've seen?
KO: The worst are ones where they either don't have confidence or they don't know enough about the business and it's painfully obvious. It's a horrible thing to see happen.
It frustrates me miserably because they've just wasted my time and they wasted the opportunity in the "Shark Tank" that somebody else would've begged to have had. I'm extremely harsh on people like that. And for good reason in my view.
But there's nothing worse than arrogance with ignorance — it's horrific. I actually don't care if you're arrogant, as long as you know what you're doing and you know what you're talking about.
BI: What was a particularly dramatic or emotional moment on the show, and how did it play out on set?
It was a farmer who invented a device that reduced the amount of water wasted irrigating orange groves. Very interesting patent and technology — reduced water usage by about 20%, so it paid for itself very quickly. And he didn't want to profit from it. He basically wanted to sell it at cost to help other farmers. Now, it's a powerful thing to want to do that, but it's not a business.
There we were in the Tank drawn to the story of this man whose father had died inventing this and who then went on to commercialize it. Yet he just wouldn't raise the price even though it was obvious you could triple the price. He could've created so much value.
It's the difference between a charity and a business. But it was a particularly powerful moment in "Shark Tank," and no one's going to forget it. Every Shark had a tear in their eye, including me. He is a great soul, that man. I'm not sure he is a great businessman.
BI: What is your best negotiation advice to entrepreneurs who have the chance to come onto the show?
KO: Don't be greedy. The biggest mistake that people make in "Shark Tank" is trying to overvalue their business.
I'm tremendously valuable to an entrepreneur, not just for the experience or advice I can give them, but it's infinitely valuable to get a deal on "Shark Tank" and get covered on primetime television year after year.
It gives you a competitive edge that others don't have, and the only way you're going to get that is to get me as an investor. If you want me, you're going to have to make it really interesting because I've got lots of opportunities to invest in and lots of deals, and people now have figured that out. I've got lots of successes under my belt, and you're going to pay for that if you want to use me as an investor. I'm going to cost you more than the typical venture capital firm, and I'm well worth it.
BI: Do you have a favorite among the companies that you're working with now?
KO: You know, it's like choosing a favorite child — really hard to do. I think now about a company like Bottle Breacher, which is so successful they can't even fulfill their orders. They're 20,000 orders behind right now and trying to solve that problem. That company has limitless opportunity.
I'm now into multiple years of Wicked Good Cupcakes. It's been a phenomenal success and everything is growing into retail and been amazing.
Honeyfund is a remarkable online business that is growing.
I could just go down the list. Everything is different; everything is unique. Every day something happens to one of these companies and we're dealing with it. I sit down with the [O'Leary Financial Group] team every Friday, and we go, "OK, what happened this week?" And we go through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and they're all in different sectors.
I have a very diverse portfolio now. It's really interesting.
"Shark Tank" investor Lori Greiner often comes to the defense of entrepreneurs on the show after fellow Shark Kevin O'Leary lays into them with an aggressive insult.
But Greiner became so angry with Mark Aramli, founder of BedJet, that she pulled out of a deal due to Aramli's behavior.
Aramli tells Business Insider that he prepared his pitch hoping to get Greiner's attention due to her ability to get a product to become a sensation on QVC and in retailers like Bed Bath & Beyond.
It's a perfect example of how, whether you're on the set of "Shark Tank" or pitching a venture capitalist, you need to listen and occasionally deviate from your rehearsed points.
Here's how it all went down:
Aramli enters the Tank seeking $250,000 in return for 10% of his company.
Greiner is interested in the product, a bed heating/cooling device, and wants to know more about the attention Aramli received from mattress manufacturers.
He says that his time spent as an engineer working on a space suit for NASA helped him create the product. Aramli tells us he briefly worked as an engineer for UTC Power as his first job after getting his engineering degree, and the company was contracted to work with NASA. He since spent most of his career in sales.
Aramli tells the Sharks he has a purchase order from an Australian bed manufacturer for $1.1 million in product, and that others are interested. Greiner agrees with Aramli that pairing the BedJet with premium mattresses is the right step forward. O'Leary objects, and Aramli reacts to him. "Ignore him... Mark, if you don't listen, I'm out," Greiner says loudly, over the noise.
Investor Barbara Corcoran then asks a question, which Aramli promptly answers. Greiner pulls out of a deal.
She writes on Twitter, referring to the moment:
O'Leary is appalled that the product retails for $499 when it could be cheaper, and Corcoran doesn't like how it's not compatible with upholstered beds, which are popular in the target premium bedding market; they're out.
Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec both think the product is interesting and works well, but Aramli's failure to connect with the investors hurts his chances again. Cuban needs to repeatedly ask Aramli how the BedJet works on a technical level before Aramli stops repeating his pitch and explains that it uses convection heating. Both investors say this broke their trust in Aramli, and that they wouldn't feel comfortable investing.
Aramli stays in the Tank to ask Greiner why she pulled out of the deal. "If you valued me, you would have answered back," she says.
Aramli apologizes and starts to pitch his company again, despite the fact that all the investors are out. O'Leary and Cuban tell him he needs to leave, and the camera dramatically pulls toward O'Leary's searing gaze:
O'Leary told Business Insider in a separate interview that when he becomes angry with an entrepreneur, it's because "there's nothing worse than arrogance with ignorance — it's horrific. I actually don't care if you're arrogant, as long as you know what you're doing and you know what you're talking about."
Aramli says he didn't ignore Greiner deliberately and that he felt badly. "What you don't see behind the editing is that taking the Sharks' questions is like being the president at a press conference," he says. "Questions are firing off from every direction, all the same time and even the Sharks themselves are talking over each other — it's a very noisy, fast paced Q&A."
He adds that, "By definition the Sharks are investors with large egos and I think hers was hurt by not getting my attention quickly during all the noise. I've learned a long time ago when you let your ego get in the way of business, you tend to make bad decisions."
BedJet will be available on Mattress Firm's website in March, and Aramli says the product will also be in Bed Bath & Beyond, Jordan's Furniture, and Brookstone.
He says that despite having one of the most controversial pitches of season six, he is "on track to be the Shark Tank loser that is laughing all the way to the bank."
One of Kevin O'Leary's first business partners taught him a lesson that became so crucial to his success that he's taught it to every entrepreneur he's mentored.
O'Leary, an investor on the hit show "Shark Tank," briefly worked at Nabisco after receiving his MBA in 1980, but decided to build his own television production company, Special Event Television. There was a point when there was "a huge problem" with the business and his partner and cofounder Gerry Patterson, a former sports agent, told him he needed to focus.
O'Leary tells Business Insider that Patterson said:
"Listen, Kevin. Every day, poo poo's gonna hit the fan. Stuff is gonna happen, and it's gonna be bad. You just don't know when or how bad it's gonna be. But you have to put shutters on, set a goal, don't listen to the noise, and just go forward. All of that noise is a distraction, and if you let it distract you, you'll fail."
Years later, in 1998, O'Leary was president of The Learning Company and moving forward with a hostile takeover of its rival software company, Broderbund. As he and his partners waited for approval of the $416 million deal from regulators and shareholders, O'Leary says that he found the New York Times and Wall Street Journal were critical of the deal and "digging up all the dirt" they could about him personally.
Patterson had died by then, but O'Leary says his former business partner's voice rang in his ears as critics questioned his acumen: "Listen. Don't crack. It's all noise."
The deal went through and O'Leary went to clear house at Broderbund, which came under his company's control. "I remember flying out west to the board and going in there after all those guys had been so difficult to work with and firing all of them," he says. "Not that revenge is sweet — it's just if you stay focused, you're a very powerful force."
That deal made The Learning Company attractive to Mattel, and the toy company bought it the next year for $4.2 billion at the height of the dot-com bubble. Mattel's timing was disastrous, but O'Leary left with a $5 million severance package by the end of the year.
Since then, O'Leary has built up several ventures, most recognizably as an investor on ABC's "Shark Tank." He has 21 companies in his portfolio now, and he says he's taught them all the lesson he learned from his late friend Gerry, which helped him both when he was just starting and when he was making one of the biggest deals of his life. He says:
Since then, I tell all the entrepreneurs I mentor that story and explain to them, "I swear to you it's going to be very hard. Business is hell on earth. But if you can stay focused and remember Gerry's words, you'll win. You'll beat those battles."
And it's these battles that make you want to be an entrepreneur, O'Leary says. "That's the whole reason you do it. You want to win."
"Your name is Kevin; my name is Kevin," O'Leary tells Waltermire. "I'm officially stripping you of your name because this idea is so bad. It is so bad. You do not deserve the name Kevin — you are now called Zonk. Now I'm sorry, man, but I'm out. This sucks."
O'Leary's demeaning comments to entrepreneurs provide some of the most entertaining moments on the show, and he's fully embraced the role of the mean, sarcastic guy, a staple of many competitive reality shows.
But O'Leary tells Business Insider that he stopped noticing the cameras years ago. He says he strategically adds venom to some of his critiques:
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. If they can't take a guy like me, then they're not ready.
Maybe people think I'm bullying them. That's not true. I'm the only guy there who tells the truth all the time. I don't care about your feelings; I care about your money.
I look at business as binary: either you make money or you lose money.
Fellow Shark Barbara Corcoran is by no means a pushover when it comes to investing, but she usually prefers to cushion her critiques, unless she feels wronged by entrepreneurs (or unless they're "rich kids"). O'Leary, on the other hand, says being polite gives false hope to failing entrepreneurs, which could actually be meaner than compelling them to give up or shape up.
"I say to Barbara all the time, 'Why are you so worried about their feelings? Who cares? If the business has no merit and it's a bankrupt idea, they're going to fail anyways. You're doing them a huge favor if you're telling them the truth,'" O'Leary says.
And if he insults an entrepreneur and is objectively wrong about his assessment, he explains, he wants them to debate him and tell him why he's wrong.
He also says there's a difference between times he's aggressive and when he's genuinely angry. He saves his anger for the "Shark Tank" business owners who are arrogant yet ignorant about major flaws in their companies or products.
"It frustrates me miserably because they've just wasted my time and they wasted the opportunity in the "Shark Tank" that somebody else would've begged to have had," O'Leary says. "I'm extremely harsh on people like that. And for good reason in my view."
Any time O'Leary calls an entrepreneur a "cockroach" or says their product "sucks," he's making great television. But he's also just acting on his business philosophy, he says.
"I'm not trying to make friends. I'm trying to make money. It's that simple."
Barbara Corcoran has rejected plenty of contestants on ABC's hit show "Shark Tank," but the sassy, whip-smart investor was once rejected from the show herself.
When Corcoran was first offered a role on "Shark Tank," she signed the contract immediately and told everyone in her life she'd be heading to Hollywood. Four days before she was set to fly, she was told by the production company that her spot had been given to someone else: A busty blonde half her age.
Devastated, Corcoran shame-spiraled. She kicked herself for ever believing that, at her age, she'd be cast on a hot, new TV show.
Her private pity party quickly morphed into something else. "I did what I do best," she says. "I got pissed."
The real-estate mogul wrote a brief email to Mark Burnett Productions and had an employee hand it to Mark Burnett directly. The email read: "I consider your rejection a lucky charm, because everything that ever happened in my life came on the heels of failure." Corcoran proposed that she compete with the other woman for the spot.
Burnett agreed and the rest is history. "Five years, 37 businesses I've invested in — eight of which are hugely successful. Look at the wonderful second life I've given myself," says Corcoran.
This was just one story she recounted for the 600-plus business owners and entrepreneurs at Entrepreneur's Growth Conference in Miami last week. In a high-energy speech that drew many laughs, the outspoken 65-year-old said she's found that the ability to bounce back from hurt, rejection and disappointment is the No. 1 predictor of a person's success in business.
"The difference between the real winners is how long they take to feel sorry for themselves. My winners feel it… but they come back up and say 'hit me again.'"
Corcoran's life is studded with examples. In third grade, her Catholic school teacher Sister Stella Marie (or "the nun from hell") told her she wouldn't amount to anything if she couldn't read. Corcoran, who suffers from dyslexia, says she developed deep insecurities about her intelligence that remained with her well into adulthood. But those insecurities gave rise to her strengths.
Because reading and writing was a struggle, she became adept at expressing herself verbally. Also, because she fears being seen as "stupid," she pushes herself to learn as much as she can in an attempt to measure up.
"I have always had a real issue with everything that went on at that schoolhouse," she says. "Everybody's got their shit, and that's mine. Anytime I do anything… I over prepare like crazy because I'm scared about failing."
Another example involves Corcoran's former boyfriend, Ramone "Ray" Simone, who provided the $1,000 loan she used to start a real-estate business in New York City in 1973. The two became business partners and spent seven years growing their company until Simone made the shocking announcement that he would be leaving Corcoran to marry her secretary.
At that point, running the business together became too emotionally overwhelming for Corcoran. One Friday evening, she told Simone their partnership was over. They divided their company and its staff in half. The following Monday, she moved into another office three floors above and started The Corcoran Group.
Corcoran says Simone told her she'd never succeed without him. "He gave me an insurance policy for life. I knew I would rather die than let him see me not succeed."
In 2002, she sold The Corcoran Group for $66 million.
Despite her "Shark Tank" fame, Corcoran still encounters situations where she feels uncomfortable and insecure. If she walks into a cocktail party, for example, and finds herself booted out of a conversation, she can quickly feel those insecurities about her intelligence resurfacing.
Over the years, though, she's found a secret weapon — a two-word mantra that she believes everyone should tell themselves as they try to navigate the business world.
"It goes like this: F--- you," she says. "I have just as much right to be here as you. I'm just as smart as you. I've done a lot. I do this whole thing on my own. And I'm so grateful I had to come out of that hole to do it."
At a recent CNBC event, I spoke with Kevin O'Leary, who you may know as the shrewd and calculating entrepreneur and investor that goes by the nickname "Mr. Wonderful" on ABC's hit TV show "Shark Tank."
As we talked about investments, O'Leary revealed to me something that took me aback: "Women," he said, "make better CEOs. All things being equal, given the choice between a woman and a man, I would pick the woman every time."
Knowing that O'Leary is all about one thing — money! — I wanted him to dive further into the subject. He told me that he wasn't trying to save the world, but that 55% of the companies in his portfolio have women CEOs.
O'Leary said that he had purposefully decided in the past two years to invest in more companies where women were in charge, based on "pragmatic financial data."
"I've invested in 20 different entrepreneurial and mid-cap companies, and I've made more money with the women executives. It's that simple," said O'Leary, crediting women with getting him both faster exits and higher returns.
So what, as he sees them, are the differences in the way that women approach business? "Attributes that I have observed are that they take less risk, they are more goal-oriented in terms of setting targets and meeting them. If they say, 'I am going to expand capacity or we're going to increase distribution in the next quarter,' they deliver," he explained. "It's not an intuitive feeling. It's actual hardcore results."
And those results have made O'Leary take notice. He said, "When I am faced with two opportunities, whether it's large cap, mid cap or otherwise, and the CEO is a woman, I tend to pick that option first because it's the path of least resistance. I'm not looking at it from a social or moral point of view; I'm looking at it from a financial return point of view. I just make more money with women, period."
Less risk? Really??
While I appreciated O'Leary's forthright and numbers-based approach, I was surprised that taking less risk was something that he looked upon favorably.
When I pressed him about that, he said, "I look at it from the operational side. … I'm also in financial services and often the women who do analysis and trading have less volatility. So, it's not just about achieving the highest returns, it's about achieving a high return with lower volatility and that has a value. It must be that as they make their decisions...they dig harder or… they are less 'cowboyish.' I'd rather have a smoother ride."
"I have very few examples of times where I haven't gotten my capital returned or made money with managers who are women," he added.
Statistics support O'Leary's experience. There have been a variety of studies showing that women in leadership roles equates to better company performance, including a report from Credit Suisse that says that companies with more than one woman on their boards have outperformed those with no women on their boards in the stock market.
Related: Never Hire a Honey Badger
Despite the statistics, there is a major absence of women in the C-suite and boards, particularly among other venture capital and angel investors. O'Leary attributes that to how many of the partners who raise the capital are men, but believes that will change. As for VCs and companies that don't actively diversify their management teams and boards with women, O'Leary says, "It's a huge mistake. … It's a huge disadvantage not to bring women into management. Women are the best bets."
Another arena that I have personally noticed is an issue when it comes to women getting the C-level opportunities is networking. I brought up the concept of many women focusing their networking primarily with other women. O'Leary agreed with that as an issue, saying, "I agree, you should cast your net widely when you are networking. You should be using all of the tools that are available to you."
'Stay focused on the big goal.'
Whether you're a male or female business leader, O'Leary offered this as his best networking advice:
What I tell my CEOs is: Call up your competitor and take them out for dinner. Start there. It's the most important thing you can do. Find out who you are doing battle with every day and form a relationship with them. You are defining your own industry when you do that…even in small companies. 20% of your day should be spent understanding your competitors and your market, not in the minutiae of operations. Stay focused on the big goal…and network with absolutely everyone who matters to you.
O'Leary recounts that it was exactly that formula, in working with his competitors in Mattel (whom he ultimately sold to) and Hasbro, which led to his $4.2 billion exit of his business, The Learning Company.
As a final thought about women leaders, O'Leary summarized his stance, "If I want high returns with low volatility, that equals a woman."
I appreciate O'Leary being willing to share his pragmatic stance on this topic and, hopefully, we will have more successful men leading the way to encourage more women to grow their enterprises. Not for the sake of diversity, but for the sake of business.
Like many teenagers, Kevin O'Leary got one of his first paying gigs working in a mall.
But it wasn't just any job. The brief stint as an ice cream scooper changed O'Leary's life. The "Shark Tank" investor says the day his boss fired him was the moment he realized he wanted to be an entrepreneur.
As a high-school student in Ottawa, Canada, O'Leary took a job at Magoo's Ice Cream Parlour at a mall where girls from his class would hang out. It wasn't a cool job by any means, but he hoped it could get him a chance to work his magic.
The first day went by easily enough, but the next day didn't end so smoothly.
"It was the end of the day of my second day of work, and the woman who owned the ice cream parlor said to me, 'Listen, before you go, scrape all the gum up between the tiles,'"O'Leary tells Business Insider.
He saw two problems with that:
1. It was a Mexican tile floor, the kind that would require some tough maneuvering on his hands and knees.
2. He'd have to do that in front of the cute girl who worked at the shoe store across from him, risking humiliation among her and her friends.
"I said, 'No, I'm not going to do that. You hired me to be an ice cream scooper,'" O'Leary recalls. "She said, 'I hired you for whatever I want. You work for me. Scrape the gum or you're fired.' And I said, 'I'm not doing it,' and so she fired me."
He says he didn't really understand the full weight of what it meant to be fired. He was shocked and embarrassed.
"I realized then that when you work for somebody else, you're basically their slave," he says. "From that day on I swore I'd never work for anyone else. That was the beginning of my journey."
O'Leary writes on LinkedIn that he got home with "tears of hot rage stinging my cheeks." He told his stepfather that he'd never work for anyone again, to which his stepdad replied, "Even if you're self-employed, you'll be serving someone," explaining that business owners have obligations to their customers and shareholders.
O'Leary writes that his stepfather's lesson became clear years later, but he was convinced that he would one day become an entrepreneur.
He went back to the mall in 2009 to see if his old boss was still around. He wanted to thank her.
"I never did find her — and when I visited the mall I realized I could buy it today if I wanted and bulldoze it — but she was a very important part of my decision-making for the rest of life," he tells us.
"That's how it started. I'll never forget it."
Kevin O'Leary has seen far more "Shark Tank"-style pitches than any of the other Sharks.
In addition to six seasons of "Shark Tank," he's gone through eight seasons of "Dragon's Den," the Tank's Canadian predecessor.
"I've seen thousands of presentations,"O'Leary tells Business Insider. "If you look at the common thread in all of the companies that got financed, regardless of the outcome [i.e., if the company later became successful or not], you find three common attributes."
Here are the three things O'Leary looks for in a pitch:
1. "They're able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less."
While "Shark Tank" pitch segments average 10 minutes in length, the unedited pitches can last an hour. But if an entrepreneur can't convince at least one of the investors within a minute and a half that they'll be missing out on a fantastic chance to make a ton of money, then all the time in the world won't be enough to win them over.
2. "They're able to explain why they are the right people to execute the business plan."
A great product isn't enough. The entrepreneurs need to convince the investors that no one else understands the product or its customers better, and that their passion for the business can't be matched.
3. "They know their numbers."
"I've seen so many deals fall apart after the first two have been achieved, and then you ask questions about anything to do with the numbers side and if they don't know the answer, they just evaporate," O'Leary says. If an entrepreneur suggests that an investor can help teach them about their industry's market size and their product's ideal margins, then it's game over.
"You lose confidence immediately when someone doesn't understand the numbers."
Shark Tank judge Naomi Simson ate dog food on national television on Sunday.
She was told by one of the pitchers the dog food was such high quality it could be eaten by humans.
“Shae started talking about her passion for her dogs, she said the food was so good that people could eat it. I thought well let’s just see about that,” Simson said on her blog.
Simson said it was the first time she’d ever eaten dog food.
“I smelled it, gave a tentative taste then ate a piece,” Simson said.
It wasn’t until after Simson had swallowed that Bento pet food founder Shae Calissa Teo said she probably “wouldn’t eat it”.
“It was quite bland really and just as I did she said – ‘oh you wouldn’t have it for breakfast or anything it is kangaroo’ – too late. I’m sure that I turned green. BentoPets – a great business – but it was hard to get a clear vision of where Shae wanted to take it,” Simson said.
Here’s the video.
Kevin O'Leary made the biggest deal of his life when he sold The Learning Company to Mattel at the height of the dot-com bubble in 1999 for $4.2 billion.
Since then, he's become a venture capitalist, mutual fund manager, and television personality, currently best known as one of the investors on "Shark Tank."
He's a self-made millionaire whose career has taken him through many different industries. He's seen enough to pin down five different "languages of money" that he details in his book "Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money."
You'll find that these languages, these ways of seeing money, manifest themselves in ways that significantly define someone's personality and therefore the type of relationships they maintain.
See how you and the people you know measure up, and make any necessary adjustments before it's too late!
1. The Mooch
This is the person who conveniently forgets their wallet when you go out, or suddenly gets upset with the waiter when the bill arrives and they don't feel like tipping much, if at all.
"Some mooches come from backgrounds where there was never enough," O'Leary writes. "Never enough money, never enough resources, never enough time."
They have a tendency to borrow money from their friends and family until they get cut off and ostracized, O'Leary says.
2. The Spendaholic
"We all know who these people are: They're the ones offering to pay for everybody, trying desperately to appear popular and successful," O'Leary writes. "Don't be fooled."
Just because someone seems to always be footing the bill for their friends doesn't mean they can actually afford to, and there's a good chance they're racking up credit card debt.
And sure, there can be plenty of excuses for why someone is racking up debt, O'Leary says, but a poor credit score almost always comes down to a spendaholic's inability to manage money rather than a life filled with tragedy.
"Debt is where money becomes your enemy. Money is your most trusted friend, but it always has a sinister element to it, waiting to turn on you," he writes.
3. The Loafer
Loafers don't have to be racked with anxiety over money; in fact, they could be perfectly happy. They can either be trust fund babies whose family fortune takes care of all the bills, or slackers who don't mind living in a crummy apartment while working a dead-end job.
The main trait among all loafers is a lack of ambition.
Because they've never had to worry about money, they don't have any savings, and they just expect that their financial needs will somehow always be met.
4. The Thief
"The best thieves are wolves in Armani suits. On the outside, they look like wealthy businessmen; on the inside, they're swindlers," O'Leary writes.
He says that in his career he's come across people who just can't help themselves. Robbing people of their money becomes a habit, a disease. And while things can work out for them for awhile, once the game is over, their reputation gets destroyed and they (and often their families, whether fairly or not) become ostracized.
"I know a music promoter, a very powerful man, who has ripped people off so many times, he's burned every bridge he ever crossed," O'Leary says. "He's very wealthy now, but it no longer matters; he's lost all social and business connections, which will stunt his future."
5. The Meanie
This one's a bit of a misnomer, since it's actually the only desirable type of person to be.
"The meanie is a balanced spender who lives within her means," O'Leary writes. "She has a healthy approach to saving and investing money, and she knows how to set a budget and stick to it. The meanie says, 'Look, there are plenty of things I want and can't afford. But until I can afford them, I'm just going to have to live without them.'"
O'Leary says his mom had three basic rules that define what it means to speak the language of the meanie: "Don't spend too much. Mostly save. Always invest."
The best relationships, O'Leary says, are between meanies, and "if you're serious about building a financial dynasty, there is only one language that's going to get you where you want to go."
In six seasons of "Shark Tank," Kevin O'Leary has seen hundreds of presentations from entrepreneurs. One from season five, however, stands out as the most emotional, and he even credits the pitch as the reason why the show won an Emmy for Outstanding Structured Reality Program in 2014.
The Sharks were both shocked and moved by Georges' genuine desire to selflessly help other farmers with their livelihood, a mission he credits to his father.
Ultimately, guest investor John Paul DeJoria — the billionaire cofounder of John Paul Mitchell Systems and Patrón Tequila — decided that Georges was too good to pass up, and they made a deal. Before leaving the Tank, Georges explained the influence his father had on his life, and the tears started flowing for everyone in the room.
Here's a breakdown of the pitch.
Johnny Georges worked for his father Rick in the citrus and irrigation industries for over 20 years. In 1984, Georges and his dad developed a plastic, semi-conical device to place around tree roots to block frost and conserve water, and thus energy.
Georges asks for $150,000 in return for 20% of his company. His main goal for the company is to promote water conservation.
In 2009, the University of Florida discovered that trees with T-PEEs used 93% "less water, fertilizer, electricity, and fuel," Foodtank reports.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider