Back in 2007, Abe Minkara was quoted in The New York Times about a new niche in personal grooming products: hair care for men who don't have any. Minkara was the founder of a company called "Bold For Men," and told The Times that he wasn't much for the word "bald."
"I prefer being called 'bold.'"One could assume that was the inspiration for his uniquely named product. By the time of that article, his business was already well established as a go-to product for a niche market: men who shave their heads.
Ironically for the man who a few years later would become the Business Development Director of Mark Cuban Companies, Minkara told Cosmetics Design in 2006 that the size of that niche market supported the idea that the product would become a success. That's the kind of statement that would get an entrepreneur skewered on Shark Tank, but it would still be another seven years before Minkara would take up that position in Mark Cuban's universe.
More than a decade later, Minkara is helping develop Cuban's investments that come out of Shark Tank, including the Season 9 investment in The Long Hairs - a company that makes products specifically for longhaired men. Cuban put in $100,000 for 20 percent, according to CNBC.
After the on-set handshake -- or in the case of The Long Hairs, on-set wig modeling -- is when Minkara's work begins.In an interview this week with Dallas Business Journal, Minkara said the post-Shark Tank taping due diligence process takes about three months. Once the deal is done, the team tries to work with the entrepreneurs to propel success, but Cuban is a minority investor -- no one at Mark Cuban Companies can call the shots for a Shark Tank investment. They focus instead on building value. As Minkara told Dallas Business Journal in an additional piece, the entrepreneur always has to take the lead on company growth.
"I think in most cases when companies don't make it or they don't grow, it's when the entrepreneurs don't grow or really lack on execution and don't have a sense of urgency to act now."Cuban started as a guest panelist on Shark Tank on Season 3 and has been a full-time shark ever since. Over those seven seasons, he's accumulated a portfolio of 75 companies through the show.
"Every day as an entrepreneur, you have to make a move. It really is about building momentum. And if you don't take action, you're losing momentum."
Although what happens after the cameras shut off is largely a confidential process for all of the sharks and their companies, Forbes reported in 2016 that Cuban closed more deals than any other over the first seven seasons of the show. The Forbes reporting relied on the number of entrepreneurs that could be interviewed. They spoke with 237 of the 319 entrepreneurs who got on-air deals and found Cuban's deals closed 87.5 percent of the time, and terms changed only 25 percent of the time.
The same Forbes survey found that 73 percent of entrepreneurs either had a change in terms after Shark Tank, or the deal never closed at all, making Cuban's closure rate all the more striking.Despite his presence being largely in the background compared to his more famous boss, Minkara has spoken about entrepreneurship in various forums. True to his "bold" history, Minkara still sports the personal grooming style that was the hallmark of his own history as a business owner.
Talking startup strategy and #SharkTank tales with @aminkara from the @mcuban team tonight. Such a pleasure! #AliceOnTour @HelloAlice pic.twitter.com/mM0ITEXabDShark Tank will return for Season 10 in the fall.
— Sarah Reilly Engel (@reillyengel) December 1, 2017