What Ashton Kutcher Said About Being A Guest on the ‘Shark Tank’ Panel
The six original investors on ABC’s Shark Tank continue to make dreams come true for aspiring entrepreneurs. Business icons Barbara Corcoran, Mark Cuban, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary have been on the reality show’s panel since the series premiere in 2009.
Over the years, guest investors have been welcomed into the tank to invest in business startups. Top names from the business world as well as notable celebs have taken a seat on the panel. Actor Ashton Kutcher decided to take a turn in the tank during Season 7.
Paying it forward
Kutcher’s inspiration for going on the reality show stemmed from when he started his own production company Katalyst, and received help from angel investor Ron Conway.
“He is one of the godfathers of angel investing,” Kutcher told A Plus of Conway. “He completely opened up his investment portfolio to me and really started explaining to me how things worked and what his strategy was. He has probably been my biggest mentor.”
Kutcher had previously tried his hand at investments and found success with his stakes in Uber, Spotify, Airbnb, and Soundcloud. Apparently the actor was hoping his luck would stay strong when swimming with the sharks.
Kutcher revealed that it was his pal Cuban who convinced him to try out for a guest spot on the show. “I wasn’t sure or not whether I wanted to do it. Most of the companies on the show are out of my domain of expertise,” Kutcher admitted.
He soon realized that he could broaden his fan personal base, as well as open up a new demographic for the show by becoming a guest shark. “Ultimately, I felt like going on the show might deliver the opportunity to bring an audience to the show that might not normally watch it,” Kutcher said. “It really is about entrepreneurship and to me the American Dream: that you can go off and start something with very little and build something great.”
Kutcher the ‘Shark’
The Two and a Half Men star knew his way around a television studio, but it was a little different in the shark tank. “I was really surprised that it all happened pretty much in real time,” Kutcher said. “There was some editing in the show, obviously, to make the segment fit in the time allotment of the show, but it actually isn’t that much longer than what you see on the show, which is crazy to me.”
Kutcher noted that parting with real money as an investor rather than just hypothetically throwing out numbers as a viewer can be a bit sobering. “It’s really easy to make those decisions when you’re sitting on your couch at home,” he said. “But it’s a lot harder when you’re sitting in the tank and it’s your $100,000 you’re putting up or your $200,000 you’re putting up.”
The actor’s first venture in the tank resulted in a deal. Splitting a $200,000 investment with Greiner for 15% each, Kutcher partnered with Beebo, a shoulder strap that holds a baby bottle for optimal bottle-feeding, according to Business Insider.
While there is clearly a camaraderie among the sharks, Kutcher revealed that the waters could get choppy when an investment was on the line. “Part of being [on ‘Shark Tank’] is being able to have fun and being able to go after each other and at the end of it going ‘it’s just business,'” Kutcher told A Plus. “That being said, there are definitely times where you feel like you got burned, and you just gotta big boy up after that.”
Yet the actor shared that while “when the cameras are on, I think everyone has a license to go at each other,” there is a genuine bond among the panelists and a ‘teamwork’ mentality.
The veteran sharks gave Kutcher props for his initial dive in the tank. “It was interesting,” Herjavec said. “He came on and he filmed for the day. … After the first pitch he looked at the rest of us and went, ‘Whoa, what just happened?’ But to his credit, by the third pitch, he was right in there. He’s a very savvy business guy.”
Watch ABC’s Shark Tank on Sunday nights!