Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of about $2.7 billion and is the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks. His website lists 96 companies that he's invested in, with about half of those deals made over four seasons of ABC's hit show "Shark Tank."
Cuban clearly doesn't need the show as an essential part of his career or even his celebrity, but in a recent podcast interview with Bloomberg's Barry Ritholtz, he says he does it for more than just fun.
Cuban is happy to lend his star power to the show because he sees it as "the New Age lemonade stand." He explains:
"Shark Tank" sends a message, right? I do "Shark Tank" — the deals are good and I enjoy it — but to me, the importance of doing "Shark Tank" is more sending the message that the American Dream is alive and well.
There's no other platform — whether it's in school, whether it's on television — there's absolutely no other platform where you can go out and reach kids, families, and entrepreneurs, and encourage them, support them, train them, really fire them up, and give them some guidance to go ahead and really start that business.
Cuban tells Ritholtz that he learned of the show's growing cultural impact shortly after his guest investor appearances in season 2. He says that at that time "all of a sudden I start getting emails and comments from people on the street: 'I love the show 'cause my 7-year-old loves to watch it/my 12-year-old now understands valuations. We talk about businesses.' When you see a family from Iowa standing on that carpet on 'Shark Tank' talking about the company they started as a family, it makes kids realize they can do it, too."
The returns from "Shark Tank" investments may be a relatively small fraction of Cuban's income, but he takes the show and its companies seriously.
Cuban says he tries to avoid making deals with other Sharks but that when he does he most likes working with real estate expert Barbara Corcoran. "Barbara's always got a unique spin on things," he says.
And even though Cuban sees his participation on "Shark Tank" as a service to small businesses and budding entrepreneurs across the US, he's still fiercely competitive when making deals on the show.
When he reaches a deal with another Shark, he says, he likes to take charge. "I pretty much take control of the deal, and they can have some of the economics — I don't care."
You can listen to the full podcast, via Bloomberg, below:
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