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Even in its 11th season, ABC’s Shark Tank continues to be one of the most-watched TV shows on Friday nights. It has won the Primetime Emmy Award for Oustanding Reality Structural Program four times (2014 – 2017).

On the set of the show, entrepreneurs make a pitch to a cast of five investors called the “sharks.” These individuals ask questions and try out the product to decide if they would like to invest in the company. The five sharks vary each episode, but ABC has six main investors who rotate through along with guest sharks. How did these individuals get to where they are today? Read on to find out.

Shark Tank cast
The main ‘Shark Tank’ sharks | Eric McCandless/Getty Images

Mark Cuban began his business career by starting a bar

From a very young age, Mark Cuban was interested in business and dedicated to becoming a self-made man. In his college years, he bought a bar and used his business wits to turn it into the most successful student bar in town.

Although Cuban is most well-known for his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, that’s not how he made most of his money. Cuban’s main source of income came from the sale of his company to Yahoo! for 5.7 billion in April of 1999. The company was the first internet radio site in the world. 

Cuban also runs 29 29 Entertainment, which produces and distributes movies and TV shows. Lastly, he continues to invest huge amounts of money into the stock market to grow his wealth.

Barbara Corcoran began making money by founding a real estate company

Barbara Corcoran is committed to helping young female entrepreneurs with the funding they need to be successful. The now 70-year-old businesswoman quit her waitressing job when she was 20 to start her New York City real estate brokerage company.

She began the business with just a $1,000 investment. She later was able to sell the Corcoran Group for $66 million in 2001. 

Corcoran continues to grow her wealth by investing in new products and companies on Shark Tank.

Kevin O’ Leary began building his wealth through a software company

Next we have Shark Tank’s Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’ Leary) who is also known as the toughest shark. His deals often include outrageous royalties and fees instead of simple equity deals. He also is quickest to say, “I’m out.”

O’ Leary founded a software company that packaged floppy disks and CDs. He then bought The Learning Company and absorbed it into his original company, named TLC. Next, he sold TLC to Matell for over $3 billion in 1999. 

Mr. Wonderful also owns his own mutual fund company, O’ Leary Funds, which invests in dividend-paying stocks. He has written a book and continues to be a television icon on Shark Tank.

Daymond John fulfilled his childhood dream of making clothing for rappers

Daymond John grew up in Queens, NY, and dreamt of starting his own clothing line. He started out with nothing, using his mom’s house as a factory. He used graffiti as a way of marketing and talked his way onto LL Cool J’s music videos.

John built his clothing line, FUBU into a global brand. At its peak, the company brought in over $350 million in revenue. From there, he joined Shark Tank and began investing in new companies.

Along with his continued investments, John has written four books and opened the coworking space Blueprint + co. in Manhattan.

Lori Greiner began her journey on QVC with a jewelry organizer

While Lori Greiner is most known for being the “Queen of QVC,” she actually made her first million by creating a jewelry organizer.

She went on to create over 700 new products and currently holds 120 patents. Her company is called For Your Ease Only and features products for the kitchen, traveling equipment, mobile devices and more.

Greiner’s first book, “Invent It, Sell It, Bank It” quickly claimed the title of a National Best Seller. She also boasts several of the Shark Tank’s most successful investments, including Scrub Daddy and Squatty Potty.

Robert Herjavek got his start when he jumped on the Internet craze in the late 1990s

Last, we have Robert Herjavek, who started his own technology business, BRAK systems, from his basement. The company quickly grew to become the largest Internet security firm in Canada. Herjavek sold BRAK to AT&T for $30.2 million in 2000.

He continues his epic growth of wealth today with the Herjavek Group. This new business venture has grown its annual sales from $400,000 to $150 million today. Herjavek has no intention of selling this company. He has dreams of growing it into a billion-dollar company. 

Together, these six sharks help up-and-coming entrepreneurs to reach their goals and dreams as they all did. You can watch Shark Tank on Sunday nights at 9 p.m. on ABC.