As a new season of Shark Tank is set to debut, Robert Herjavec is dishing on what it’s like to compete against some new panelists. Guest sharks this season include Chris Sacca, Troy Carter, and Ashton Kutcher. Kutcher is sitting in one of the leather chairs in the season premiere and Herjavec told Inc. it was perhaps a jarring experience for the Two and a Half Men actor.
“I’ll never forget Ashton after the first pitch. He looked at the rest of us and said, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ Everything happens very quickly and nobody waits for you to talk. You’ve just got to go. After the first one he got right into it. He’s a quick learner.”
Carter told Business Insider earlier this month the length of the Shark Tank pitches surprised him, since they are eventually edited down into a segment under 10 minutes.
Herjavec said the new season sees a high rate of investment. The panelists and entrepreneurs came on-set ready to make some deals.
“Definitely more deals. In fact, we almost have too many deals. The quality of the pitches is sky high. It never ceases to amaze us how the producers always seem to get better entrepreneurs.”
Kutcher is a successful investor in the tech space. Forbes reported that he’s put money into several high-profile endeavors through A-Grade Investments, which he co-founded. Investments included Uber and AirBnb. Kutcher invested on his own in Foursquare and in Skype, two years before the video-calling service was sold to Microsoft.
Forbes quoted Kutcher stating his somewhat unusual investment philosophy.
“If we can create efficiencies in that which is mundane, then we accelerate our paths to happiness. The companies that will ultimately do well are the companies that chase happiness. If you find a way to help people find love, or health or friendship, the dollar will chase that.”
Herjavec told Inc. a problem with creating a successful Shark Tank investment is scaling the company.
“Some of them are great in a niche, but the niche is never going to be really big. That’s what we’re struggling with. Making them bigger. We’re always about scale, and sometimes the markets don’t lend themselves to that.”
Shark Tank premieres on Friday, September 25. Its companion program, Beyond the Tank, debuts the following Tuesday, September 29. Last year, Beyond the Tank featured an update on Tipsy Elves, one of Herjavec’s successful investments. The company makes several lines of “ugly” Christmas sweaters. As Herjavec told Inc., that area has become big for him.
“I’ve done well with gifting products, which is kind of odd. I have a number of companies in the Christmas space and holiday space, and then also in the sports industry.”
Herjavec is founder and CEO of The Herjavec Group, an internet security firm.
[Left photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images Entertainment; Right photo: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images Entertainment]