How the Sharks from Shark Tank Got Their Start in Business

  • October 30, 2014


shark-tankEvery week, these four successful entrepreneurs saddle up to share their business knowledge (and sometimes their money) on ABC’s hit show “Shark Tank”. But how did these now-notorious sharks get to where they are now? Here’s a look at how each of the show’s judges got their start.

Mark Cuban: The Dallas Mavericks owner started selling garbage bags door to door at age 12. But that was just the beginning. Cuban co-founded MicroSolutions in Dallas in the early-1980s, and by the end of the decade had grown the systems integration company into a $30-million-a-year business. He sold it to CompuServe for $6 million in 1990, then co-founded AudioNet – later – and sold it to Yahoo for a cool $5.7 billion in 1999. He’s now the owner, chairman, and co-founder of HDNet, an independent TV network that offers exclusively HD programming.

Barbara Corcoran: Corcoran was 23 and working as a waitress when she borrowed $1,000 from a boyfriend to start her own real estate company in NYC, theCorcoran Group. Over the span of three decades, Corcoran grew her business into one of Manhattan’s largest residential real estate firms. It began with seven agents on the Upper East Side in 1973, and by 2001 boasted 700 agents in nine offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn. That same year, Corcoran sold her company to NRT Inc. for $66 million.

Lori Greiner: Greiner was selling costume jewelry as a side business when she had the idea for a better earring organizer. She secured a $300,000 loan for the prototype, and within a few years landed a product placement deal with J.C. Penney. Soon she was looking for more challenges, so in 1996, she founded For Your Ease Only, a company focused on product exposure and placement. It grew so fast that her husband quit his job to work with her. In 2003, she established her own show, “Clever and Unique Creations by Lori Greiner,” on QVC. Since then, she has designed and launched more than 400 products, and holds 120 U.S. and international patents.

Robert Herjavec: Herjavec was born in Croatia and moved to Canada when he was eight years old. After earning a degree in English Lit from the University of Toronto, he worked a variety of jobs to make ends meet. While waiting tables in 1990, he got interested in the tech industry and started working at a computer services company for free. This experience led him to start his own tech company, BRAK Systems. It soon became the leading provider for internet security software in Canada, and Herjavec sold the company to AT&T in 2000 for a reported $100 million. He now heads The Herjavec Group, one of Canada’s largest IT security firms.