Meet the Sharks of Shark Tank

Updated on November 21, 2018
Jan Michael Ong profile image

I like writing about sports, personal finance, reality tv, cartoons, comics and video games.

Kevin O' Leary

Money makes Kevin's world go round.
Money makes Kevin's world go round.

If Ebenezer Scrooge were real, he would be Kevin O' Leary. Kevin loves money above all things. Entrepreneurs would often pander to Mr. Wonderful's love of money by giving him something green or placing his likeness on mock currency.

O'Leary made his money by creating and promoting educational software. He started Softkey in a Toronto basement with a $10,000 loan from his mother. Softkey gobbled up its competitors such as Broderbund and The Learning Company.

Softkey would change its name to The Learning Company and would be acquired by Mattel in 1999 for $4.2 billion. Flush with cash, Kevin would venture into the mutual fund market. Using his name and likeness, he would market O'Leary Funds Inc. O' Leary would later sell the company half a decade later to William Brett Wilson.

O' Leary is now a venture capitalist who funds small businesses inside and outside the tank.

Demeanor in the Tank:

If Lori is the warm-blooded shark, Kevin is the cold-blooded one. He is ruthless and insensitive. He always tries to criticize ideas and tries to find faults in the pitches. He has had many arguments with the entrepreneurs and has made a lot of women cry. There were times when the other sharks confronted Kevin for being mean.

Kevin always justifies himself by saying he is helping the entrepreneurs by telling them the truth. He feels he needs to tell them when they should stop funding a venture that will certainly fail. The other sharks always encourage Kevin to say his opinion in a less harsh manner and to try to be more encouraging.

Field of Business:

Kevin is in the finance space. He likes to dabble in whatever can make him money. He has invested in things like precious metals and equities. He also likes to make money work for him by investing in start-ups. He also reminisces about his days selling educational products and would not hesitate to fund products and services in that space.

Tactics:

Kevin does not really care about being an investor in the true sense of the word (owning equity). He would often do royalty deals where he would recoup his investment quickly, even if the business goes under. Kevin usually preys on the greed of the entrepreneur with his quick royalty offer deals.

Kevin tries to be the option for entrepreneurs who could not agree with the other sharks on company valuation. He is glad to take no equity as long as he gets his money back.

Robert Herjavec

Robert Herjavec is always willing to try out inventions and gadgets presented in the tank.
Robert Herjavec is always willing to try out inventions and gadgets presented in the tank.

Robert was born in communist Croatia. He left at a young age with his family to escape the grip of communism. Robert's father was a manager back in his native Croatia, but he would often end up in jail due to his anti-communist sentiments.

Being an immigrant that spoke no English, Robert's dad could not find a good job. He ended up being a janitor in a factory and barely earned enough to make ends meet. The once proud manager ended up with one of the worst jobs in the factory. In order to supplement his family's meager income, Robert worked many odd jobs. This included waiting tables, working as a salesman, delivering newspapers, and being a collections agent.

Robert's IT career began as a sales agent for Logiquest; he sold IBM mainframe emulation boards. Robert eventually left Logiquest and founded BRAK Systems. This company integrated internet security software. He eventually sold BRAK to AT&T Canada for $30.2 million. With this huge windfall, Robert went on a three-year hiatus to spend quality time with his kids. However, Robert still had a lot left in the tank. He founded the Herjavec Group in 2003. The company is Canada's largest IT security provider and has been growing at a blistering pace.

Demeanor in the Tank:

Robert is the ultimate gentleman and would often help hand samples to Lori. He is also very kind to the entrepreneurs on the show, even if he may not like the product or the concept. Robert likes trying out the products in the tank, especially those that need a demonstration. He tried out a unicycle and even volunteered to stay in a cryogenic chamber.

His eyes light up when racing is mentioned as he is a fan of fast cars and fast drivers. He is a part-time racer himself. Despite his kindness, Robert gets irritated when entrepreneurs brush him off for the other sharks, especially for Mark Cuban. Robert gets pissed when Mark steals a deal from right under his nose by simply outbidding him.

Field of Business:

Robert is one of the kings of cyberspace. His software company is the dominant IT security provider in Canada.

Tactics:

Robert is very fair in his offers to the entrepreneurs. There have been many times that he actually overpaid just to get the deal. Robert has a very calm and collected demeanor. This is good as being in the tank is nerve-wracking and talking to a cool cat like Robert greatly helps matters.

Lori Greiner

Lori looks glamorous even at nearly 50 years old.
Lori looks glamorous even at nearly 50 years old.

Lori is known as the Queen of QVC and has a reputation as the warm-blooded shark. Her big break came when she invented a plastic organizer that could hold 100 earrings. Her product was picked up by J.C. Penney.

Since then, Lori has been a fixture of shopping networks. She began with HSN before moving to QVC later on. This is where Lori blew up and has become a serial inventor. She now has over 120 U.S. and international patents.

Lori has also produced several millionaires in the tank such as Aaron Krause (Scrub Daddy), Linda Clark & Gloria Hoffmanand (Simply Fit Board: Core Workout Balance Board), and Marc Newburger & Jeffrey Simon (Drop Stop). You can often see these success stories on the Shark Tank updates.

One of the big deals Lori missed was the Plate Topper by Michael Tseng. The sharks wanted a piece of the action when they saw how useful the product was. However, Michael was too greedy. Everyone eventually bowed out, except for Lori. She knew she could sell the product and make money out of it. In the end, the deal fell through when the cameras stopped rolling as Michael was too tough and annoying to handle, even for the shark with a heart.

The Plate Topper sold, but it had manufacturing issues such as the plastic cracking and deforming. The product was not truly microwave safe. Had Tseng not been so greedy and took the deal with Lori, he would have been easily able to iron out the kinks. The Plate Topper would have been a more superior product.

Demeanor in the Tank:

Despite being a millionaire, Lori is still humble and still remembers the time when she was a struggling inventor who went all in on her earring organizer. She often encourages entrepreneurs and wishes them luck despite not investing in them. She would always try to empathize with the struggling entrepreneurs who put everything on the line in order to realize the American Dream. This attitude earned her the title of the warm-blooded shark. She is the complete opposite of the tactless and ruthless Kevin O' Leary.

Field of Business:

Lori dominates the infomercial space and uses the power of television to quickly move products. She also has her own website and uses her name recognition to use the power of the Internet to sell to the masses. Lori has connections with big box retailers and can easily strike deals with them to increase a product's distribution. Lori likes products that have mass appeal, are demonstrable, and are sellable. She is good at identifying potential successes.

Tactics:

Lori uses her kindness and charm in order to sweet talk the entrepreneur to take her offer. She heavily leverages on her status as the Queen of QVC. She also appeals with her relationships with big box stores. Lori also uses her status as a woman to appeal to other women to pick her offer over the other sharks. She also uses her status as an inventor to empathize with the plight of fellow inventors in the tank.

Lori never brags about all the money she has made for herself. Instead, she points out how much she has helped other entrepreneurs make their millions and how much she has helped them sell their products. Lori proves that you can attract more bees with honey than vinegar.

Daymond John

The fashion mogul Daymond John looks fashionable as always.
The fashion mogul Daymond John looks fashionable as always.

Daymond John is a native New Yorker. He grew up in Queens with a family that did not have much. Daymond had to support his family by waiting tables and handing out flyers to supplement their income. He even forewent attending college so he wouldn't financially burden his family. Growing up in a single parent household was difficult, but Daymond's mom was always supportive. She even let him turn their house into a factory and let him mortgage it so he could expand FUBU (For Us, By Us).

Despite the lack of capital, Daymond never lacked hustle. He sold caps, beanies, and shirts in the streets of New York. In order to promote his brand, Daymond convinced rappers to wear his clothing line. The move ultimately paid off and this created a demand for his brand. Retailers started going to Daymond in order to secure stock of his hot new merchandise. Since then, Daymond has been busy acquiring other clothing brands and expanding overseas. He has become a clothing magnate.

Demeanor in the Tank:

Daymond handles business in a quick and straightforward manner. He hates people that waste his time and dillydally in the tank. He likes people who are decisive. He also hates people who are slick and slimy and try to skirt around questions. Daymond is good at sniffing out sketchy characters, such as Jared Joyce, James Martin, and Michael Tseng.

While Daymond is not as generous as Mark or Robert, he always gives fair offers. He even offered one million dollars for 25% of the Plate Topper.


Field of Business:

Daymond is a clothing and branding mogul. He brought FUBU from the streets of New York into the international spotlight. Working at FUBU enabled Daymond to interact with many celebrities; he has connections with several artists such as Pitbull and LL Cool J.

Tactics:

Daymond is very firm in the tank. While he does allow for some negotiating to occur, he does want quick decisions. If you dillydally, he will not hesitate to withdraw his offer. Daymond also does not mind buying a controlling stake of the company, especially when the entrepreneur has failed to make the company succeed. In one case, he offered $100,000 for 80% of Liquid Money. While Patrick McCarthy would give up a lot of equity in order to secure an investment from Daymond, he would have a 20% passive income. Daymond would go out to hustle and take care of the legwork to secure licensing agreements and Patrick can just sit back, relax, and collect a paycheck.

Kevin Harrington

Kevin Harrington, the "King of Infomercials" is never afraid of the perfect pitch.
Kevin Harrington, the "King of Infomercials" is never afraid of the perfect pitch.

Kevin Harrington is the male version of Lori Greiner. He is the King of the Infomercial. He started way back in 1985 when he started a company called Quantum International. Kevin has made a fortune in selling products via television. He even partnered with infomercial giant The Home Shopping Network in order to form HSN Direct International Inc., which he spearheaded for half a decade.

Kevin is best known for founding As Seen on TV, which uses television to promote consumer products such as Flex Tape (waterproof tape that can patch anything), Climb Cart (a trolley that can climb stairs), and Pour N Paint (a modified paint roller that removes the need for paint trays). Using paid blocks of advertising, Kevin tries to convince the public on the merits of his latest gadget or innovation.

Kevin was one of the original sharks, but he was phased out after two seasons in the tank. Some speculate that he was not entertaining enough. Some say he rarely offered deals. Others say that he was simply replaced by Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. Whatever the case, he was still one of the OG sharks.

Demeanor in the Tank:

Kevin is a veteran of many negotiations and is not afraid to negotiate with the entrepreneur to get a good deal. He was straightforward and was a bit transactional at times. He did not engage in witty banter with the other sharks. For a veteran of television, many people saw his appearance on the tank as bland.

Field of Business:

Kevin rules the infomercial space. In his more than three decades of ruling the airwaves, he has helped move billions worth of consumer goods to the masses. Anything that is demonstrable and can be sold through the magic of television is a target for Kevin.

Tactics:

Kevin is not trigger happy when it comes to deals and is quite conservative. When he sees an item that can be sold on television, he immediately pounces on the idea. He uses his reputation as the King of Infomercials to convince entrepreneurs to choose him as their partner.

Barbara Corcoran

Barbara Corcoran's penchant for saying "I'm Out" has been a source of amusement for Shark Tank fans.
Barbara Corcoran's penchant for saying "I'm Out" has been a source of amusement for Shark Tank fans.

Barbara was a waitress in Manhattan who transformed $1000 into a real estate empire. Barbara met Ramone Simone while working as a waitress in a local diner. What started as a romantic relationship later became a business partnership. Ramone was an enterprising gentleman who convinced Barbara to go into real estate. Thus, the Concoran-Simone Company was born.

Everything seemed well until Ramone Simone left Barbara for their secretary. Barbara amicably split up their company and moved three floors up. She vowed to make success her best revenge. Barbara grew the Concoran group into an empire and sold it for $70 million in 2001.

Barbara is a fighter. Through adversity, she was able to succeed. She did not grow up with much and this has made her tough as nails. She was even a candidate to be replaced on the show for a much more appealing blonde female. She fought for her spot and she is a shark up to this day.

Demeanor in the Tank:

There is a running gag that all Barbara ever does is say, "I'm out." She is not as aggressive as the other sharks in terms of offering the big bucks or overpaying. She also makes a lot of lame excuses on why she is out.

Barbara is a cougar. Her eyes light up when there is an attractive younger man in the tank. However, she is an equal opportunist as she also goes for older men.

Field of Business:

Barbara is a dominant force in real estate. She has many contacts in that sector, especially in Manhattan.

Tactics:

Barbara's offers are fair but conservative. She always makes sure to factor in her risks and her contribution as a shark. She does not throw money around like Mark or Robert.

Barbara always makes sure to leverage the fact that she is a woman and a mom to seal the deal. She also appears as a genuine and caring person. This is her playing card in trying to be the business partner of choice for some entrepreneurs.

Mark Cuban

Mark Cuban was a catalyst for increasing Shark Tank ratings.
Mark Cuban was a catalyst for increasing Shark Tank ratings.

Mark Cuban the only billionaire shark to regularly appear on Shark Tank. Born to a family of Jewish immigrants, Cuban did not have money growing up. However, he had plenty of hustle. He sold garbage bags and newspapers to supplement his income. While many kids just asked their parents for the latest basketball sneakers, Mark had to work for it. Ironically, the kid who could not afford basketball shoes would later go on to own an NBA team.

Mark would work as a bartender and as a salesperson. He would later open his own company, MicroSolutions. The company integrated systems and resold software. Mark would flip MicroSolutions for two million dollars.

Mark would get his big break when he and his buddies founded Audionet (later known as Broadcast.com). He was able to parlay the company into $5.7 billion in Yahoo! stock. This officially made him a billionaire.

Mark is a basketball fan and he bought the majority stake of the Dallas Mavericks from Henry Ross Perot Jr. on January 4, 2000. A lot of people criticized Mark for the purchase as the Mavericks were a bad team. They were basically in the same league as the Los Angeles Clippers as one of the most futile teams in all of basketball. Mark was able to prove his critics wrong as the team made two trips to the NBA Finals in 2006 and 2011. The latter series was where they eventually captured a championship.

Demeanor in the Tank:

Mark is very straightforward and does not pull any punches. Though he likes encouraging people to be entrepreneurs, he hates scams and has called out several entrepreneurs such as Ryan Naylor (Esso Watches) and Daryl Stevenett (LifeCaps).

Mark loves good food and is ecstatic when entrepreneurs give out food samples. His eyes also light up when he sees a gadget or app as this is his space of expertise. He also loves ribbing Kevin O' Leary and takes every opportunity to take potshots at him. Mark has this kind of rivalry with Chris Sacca as they are both tech moguls and billionaires.

Space:

Mark is heavily involved in the technology sector. He is your go-to guy when it comes to apps, technological devices, and programs. Since acquiring the Dallas Mavericks, he has also been involved in the business of sports, recreation, and licensing.

Cuban also owns a chain of Landmark theaters located in various states.

Tactics:

Mark oftentimes acts like a vulture ready to swoop in at opportune moments. Since he is the richest of the sharks, he will not hesitate to outbid them in order to seal the deal. He will often just sit and do nothing before pouncing in with an offer. He lets the other sharks show their hands first.

However, he is not adverse to collaborating with the other sharks, especially if he feels like they have the expertise to contribute towards the deal.

The Best Shark

Who is the best shark in Shark Tank?

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Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Jan Michael Ong

    Comments

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      • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

        Jan Michael Ong 

        5 weeks ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

        Hi Readmikenow,

        Another highlight of Shark Tank are the innovative ideas presented in the show. I'm surprised though how some ridiculous concepts get past the show's producers.

      • Jan Michael Ong profile imageAUTHOR

        Jan Michael Ong 

        5 weeks ago from Metro Manila, Philippines

        Hi Mary,

        The personalities in the show is what makes the show interesting and watchable. It is also how they play off each other.

      • Readmikenow profile image

        Readmikenow 

        5 weeks ago

        Very well done article. I watch the show and am amazed at the variety of ideas presented by people who go on the show and how the Sharks react to them. I enjoyed reading this.

      • aesta1 profile image

        Mary Norton 

        5 weeks ago from Ontario, Canada

        This is very interesting. I have watched this before but not lately. I think I will do so again as I learn some ideas there. The background on each of the players interest me so much.

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