Troy Carter might be best known as the one-time manager of Lady Gaga, but the music mogul has serious credibility in the financial world. Carter runs Atom Factory, whose investment arm has backed Uber and Spotify. Carter told Business Insider he originally turned down a spot as a guest judge on the new season of Shark Tank, but decided to participate after a conversation with his wife.
“What we thought about is that you can’t be it if you can’t see it. There’s not a lot of black entrepreneurs and I can’t sit there and b***h about diversity in tech and all of those things about access and pipeline if I’m not out there doing something about that.”
Carter, who had managed Lady Gaga since 2007, ceased to represent the singer in November, 2013. The report came mere days before the release of Gaga’s album, ARTPOP. The Hollywood Reporter quoted an unnamed source that said Carter was “liberated” by the split, although “creative differences” were the official reason.
Atom Factory currently represents well-known artists such as John Legend and Meghan Trainor.
Carter told Business Insider the grilling entrepreneurs face during Shark Tank tapings came as a surprise to him. When the show airs, only the highlights of negotiations are featured.
“The biggest surprise for me was the length of the negotiations. The producers and editors do a really good job of what can sometimes be an hour and a half-negotiation and edit it down to a seven-minute segment. I think the lengthiness of the negotiation or the amount of due diligence that needs to happen post-recording is a pretty deep dive at due diligence.”
His initial hesitation was being in front of the camera, since he sees himself as a behind-the-scenes figure. But once the show got going, his trepidation subsided.
“[O]nce I realized I’m spending my own money, my instinct kicked in and it was game on.”
Carter described the other sharks as “very welcoming.” He has taped a panel alongside Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Lori Greiner, and Kevin O’Leary. He doesn’t envision himself as a permanent member of the cast, however.
“You know what, I’ve gained a tremendous amount of respect for the sharks. I don’t know how they do their day jobs and do what they do on ‘Shark Tank.’ I had a great time being a guest but I’m not sure if I would quit my day job for it.”
Fortune reported that the roster of guest sharks also includes Ashton Kutcher and Chris Sacca. Both have made significant investments in the technology sector.
The new season of Shark Tank debuts on Friday, September 25.
[Photo by Mark Davis / Getty Images Entertainment]