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Shark Tank has five new entrepreneurs hungry for the next big bite

Meet the new ‘sharks’, the next generation of successful entrepreneurs who understand the internet.

Meet the new ‘sharks’, the next generation of successful entrepreneurs who understand the internet.

When Melbourne dietitian Kate Save pitched her ready-to-eat, doctor-designed meal service on Shark Tank in 2017, she had no idea Boost Juice founder Janine Allis would invest and turn Be Fit Food into a winner.

In 2019, when Ten announced the show was put on hold indefinitely, Save was among the first to lament its demise.

“Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, the opportunities the sharks have afforded entrepreneurs and promising small businesses over the last four years have been nothing short of life changing for many,” she wrote on Smart Company.

“From my own experience as a former contestant, this has most certainly been the case.”

Save may well be among many to jump for joy for other budding entrepreneurs as Ten prepares to launch a new series of the show, with five millionaire business moguls ready to invest their hard-earned in pitch presentations.

Ten has swapped out Janine Allis, along with internet pioneer Steve Baxter, Talent2’s Andrew Banks, Naomi Simson from RedBalloon and Dr Glen Richards from Greencross Vets.

In comes marketing agency boss Sabri Suby, AI expert Dr Catriona Wallace, Davie Fogarty, who invented the Oodie, Showpo online fashion entrepreneur Jane Lu and the rich and famous US Shark Tank businessman Robert Herjavec.

“This is the first time I have been on television,” Suby, who was raised by a single parent with his sister in Byron Bay, tells The New Daily, adding that this group “represents a new, young generation of entrepreneurs” who grew up with the internet and understand how businesses are grown.

‘We provide … hope’

As one of the sharks, he says he’s there to make a return on his investment: “The network hasn’t given us this money … it’s not monopoly money. It’s our hard-earned money.

“We are sharks, but ultimately the platform we provide is hope … it shows that anybody with an idea, you can make anything happen.”

Suby started the King Kong digital marketing agency and is the author of Sell Like Crazy.

With a net worth of $75 million, his first job was when he was aged just eight and worked in a health food store in Byron Bay and was paid $2.50 an hour to grind peanuts for peanut butter.

Suby says he watched his mother hold down three jobs and provide “an incredible upbringing” for him and his sister.

“I sold everything you can imagine all over the world … sales was my first foray into business. In my past, I’ve run businesses, I’ve run businesses into the ground.”

With clients in 136 countries servicing 500,000 customers, his business now looks after small players through to multimillion-dollar brands like Metricon.

“We have created 71 millionaires and we help businesses solve that No.1 problem: How do we get more customers? We do that by helping them increase their traffic, leads and sales.”

He says he has walked in the shoes of the entrepreneurs who pitch to him in the show, saying he didn’t have “any rich uncles or business buddies who gave me a bag of cash”.

“I had to pull myself up from my bootstraps and start my business with no money … just an old computer my girlfriend bought me.”

He says he can pick someone who comes in and just asks for more money and makes excuses about why their business isn’t making a profit, but admits they were all fighting over a young man who came in with a pitch about a product for people’s feet.

‘Intense pitches’

“We had some heart-wrenching moments and some intense pitches.

“I can tell you there was one pitch where a young man walked out, I knew immediately he was a hero. We were all salivating about this deal. It wasn’t long before we were all making offers. It got heated. I thought I was out and then came back to him with ‘some sauce’.”

Previous contestants on the show have gone on to make a success of it like Save, but a 2018 Sydney Morning Herald investigation found it wasn’t always the case.

“Of the 50 businesses which appeared on Shark Tank last year [2017], 27 received investment from the sharks on television, however only four of these investments actually went ahead.”

Save was one whose business model was sound and on August 16 celebrated the six-year anniversary of her company’s pitch on Shark Tank.

“After being interrogated by the sharks for two hours, we secured investment from Janine Allis,” she said.

“To paint you a picture, before Shark Tank aired, a good month of online sales would bring in about $10,000-$15,000, plus an additional $20,000 between our two stores.

“After the show aired in August 2017, we cracked six figures worth of sales every month, our business grew 1500 per cent practically overnight, and our team went from five staff to 63 in just four short weeks.

“Our annual revenue jumped from $90,000 to $300k in our second year and $4.5 million in our third. This year we are on track to double this figure.”

For Sabri, he says all five sharks “bring something unique to the tank”.

“That is what makes this show … you really don’t know who is going to get an offer, who is going to make a deal to get that investment.”

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