From ‘Shark Tank’ Co-Host, a Dose of Reality for Start-Ups
by Kevin Roose
Daymond John hopes so. He’s a co-star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality show that is giving venture capital the “American Idol” treatment. In each episode, a handful of entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas — which range from magnetic collar stays to single-serving wine containers — to a panel of angel investors, or “sharks,” who decide whether or not to back the start-ups with their own cash in exchange for stakes in the businesses. The series, produced by Mark Burnett, is based on “Dragons’ Den,” a British series that was first broadcast in 2005.
Mr. John, who founded the urban clothing line FUBU in 1992, is no blue-blood financier. (He is also no stranger to reality TV, having been a mentor to the Kardashian sisters on episodes of “Kim and Kourtney Take New York.”) But the back-of-envelope valuation techniques seen on “Shark Tank,” and the negotiation skills the show’s investors use to outfox each other, will be familiar to any Wall Street deal maker. DealBook sat down with Mr. John in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel’s Bull & Bear Steakhouse in Manhattan to discuss the start-up economy, his own investing strategies and what he would buy with a Wall Street paycheck.