Mark Cuban is often the lurking investor on Shark Tank. After the other panelists have expressed interest, Cuban remains quiet, either to undercut his competition or decide to be “out” at the last minute. Whatever the tactic, Cuban has closed many Shark Tank deals and he’s a popular target for entrepreneurs seeking funds. But how often do Cuban’s bets pan out? According to the man himself, most of the time — although his track record is less than 100 percent.
Business Insider reported that Cuban laid out his stats during the Wall Street Journal‘s WSJD Live Conference. Cuban declined to name names, although some of his partners might want further details after hearing his comments. Apparently some have little insight that their own enterprises may be failing.
“Of the 71 startups that I’ve invested in through ‘Shark Tank,’ two have gone out of business, three are so stupid they don’t know they’re out of business, and then probably 50, give or take, are in growth.”
For a person best known as a tech entrepreneur and NBA team owner, Cuban’s portfolio of companies is quite diverse. He told the WSJD Live conference some early deals were “silly.” Perhaps in that category was Steve Gadlin’s “I Want to Draw a Cat For You” — a business that did precisely that — whose theme song made as much of an impression as his business plan. Cuban was in for one-third of the company.
Although there were reports in January, 2015, that Gadlin was shuttering his custom cat drawing business, as of October, 2015, the website is still live and taking orders. Given Gadlin’s Twitter commentary on Robert Herjavec’s dance moves, he still tunes in to watch Shark Tank.
— Shark Tank (@ABCSharkTank) October 17, 2015
But Cuban’s investments are not just for entertainment. He told WSJD that he’s made money off of his entrepreneurs’ hard work. Cuban views his Shark Tank investment group as a whole, and he’s willing to take a risk on some companies as long as others pan out.
“Out of the 71, I would say ten or 11 are netting a minimum of half-a-million dollars a year, doing $8 million to $15 or in some cases, $20-plus million revenue. I would say about 30 percent of my companies have returned all of my investment and then some. To me, the more important thing is the ’80/20 Rule.’ So if I have the 20 percent that I think can really take off, that’s what I really care about.”
Other panelists have revealed the success they’ve achieved on their Shark Tank investments. Barbara Corcoran told Business Insider in April that she’s now begun to make money on the first companies in which she invested on the program. An Inc. profile in May revealed that Corcoran hangs photos of her entrepreneurs in her office. Ten were right-side up, meaning they were successful; five were upside down, indicating she’d lost confidence. In an October, 2014, People interview, Herjavec said all the sharks have made money on their investments. His own greatest success at the time was the ugly Christmas sweater company Tipsy Elves.
Last season viewers learned more about what happened to Shark Tank entrepreneurs after the on-air handshakes. The spin-off program Beyond the Tank, which featured Cuban’s investment Red Dress Boutique, aired as a limited-run series. Beyond the Tank is said to make a return this season, although a timeslot has yet to be announced.
New episodes of Shark Tank air Friday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.
[Main photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images News]