Mark Cuban Reveals What Really Happens When the ‘Shark Tank’ Cameras Stop Rolling

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Since first appearing on Shark Tank in 2011, investor Mark Cuban has made a lot deals with eager entrepreneurs trying to get funding for their innovative products, apps and services. And while he’s had success with many, others haven’t been so fruitful.

Mark opened up in May on Rob Lowe’s Literally podcast about exactly what happens behind-the-scenes of the show and why deals don’t always work out the way we see them on TV. The shark said that he loved filming the CBS hit, but admitted that “dealing with the companies after [a deal has been made] can be a pain in the ass.”

“When we say ‘yes’ to a deal, we get to do due diligence after the fact because a lot times [entrepreneurs] get so nervous — on TV, it may be 10-14 minutes long, but in real life, when they’re pitching us, they can go anywhere from 20 minutes for really dumb ones to two hours for intense ones where a bunch of us are interested — so sometimes, it gets so intense, they lie their asses off.”

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Mark on season 12 of Shark Tank.

Christopher WillardGetty Images

Mark continued: “They’ll say ‘my widget only costs $1 to make, and what they won’t say is it would cost $1 if we made a billion of them, and they’ve made seven. Or, you know, ‘I have no debt on the balance sheet whatsoever,’ and then you do your due diligence and they have $100,000 in debt on their credit cards and they think ‘it doesn’t count if it’s on my credit card.'”

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Mark revealed that out of the 100+ businesses he’s invested in, about 20% “made me a lot of money” while he “lost it all” with another 20%, and the majority end up somewhere in the middle “where you just keep on grinding — you make a little, lose a little.”

But even through all the craziness, he said when something does work out for the best, there’s no greater feeling. “The list of things you uncover across these companies is incredible, but the people are real, and that’s the most exciting part: helping somebody really grow their business, or grow with their business, and turning it into something really special, and seeing them have their dreams come true.”

Aww, he isn’t such a shark after all!

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