He sold top business minds on a TV show that promised to save the world – and make them famous. They handed over thousands. Then reality set in and they started wondering if the dream was worth it. The show changed their lives – for the worse.
This is the true story of what happened when a bunch of billionaire business owners lost their lives savings during a TV show called Shark Tank on the A&E channel in 2005.
The show was meant to be a reality show which would showcase the entrepreneurial spirit of America’s most successful entrepreneurs. The first episode revealed that the most powerful, successful and well-connected men and women were about to be featured.
The entrepreneurs who made the show a reality were Dan Primack, who was the founder of Primco, and Tom Walsh, one of the three founders of the tech company Webvan, which was sold for $2.4bn.
Primack, a former Wall Street CEO who founded his company in 1989, told the show’s pitch-meister that he was looking for a business partner for a TV show, and he was prepared to invest millions of dollars to help a company he knew nothing about.
Walsh, a serial entrepreneur who had won a series of technology awards and had been responsible for creating the iPad, also needed to raise money for the show. His pitch-meister, on the other hand, was telling him he needed about $500,000 to cover the production costs for the first two episodes.
The show’s producers weren’t interested, so they did the math and found out that the show required $2.6m in funding to be commercially successful.
The producers told Walsh that the show needed a lot of money to make it to air – but they weren’t going to give him anything.
Walsh took a look at the figures and was surprised that the show’s budget would be around $1m per episode. He thought the show would make even more in revenue from advertisers and the sales of merchandise.
He decided that he would instead use the money to buy a few properties in Miami Beach to build real estate, and he would use the