A shark (judge) of ‘Shark Tank’ and one of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneur, Robert Herjavec, has a net worth of $200 million. He is the founder of The Herjavec Group, a self-made man who made his net worth with a lot of hard work.
From delivering newspapers to building the country’s largest IT service provider, Robert Herjavec can be a true inspiration for all. Here is an overview of his early life, career, personal life, and business ventures to see how Robert Herjavec's net worth reached $200 million.
A Tough Childhood
Herjavec was born on September 14th, 1962 in Varazdin, Croatia. He had a very rough childhood, and his family earned little with farming. His father had been imprisoned many times for speaking against the communist law. In 1970, his father escaped the prison and the family migrated to Canada, and Herjavec was eight years old at that time. His family only had a suitcase and $20 when they reached Canada. His family lived in Toronto a friend of his mother's basement.
Herjavec’s father used to work in a factory. He and his parents hardly spoke any English. His parents depended a lot on him. He helped his parents get an apartment at the age of 10. When he was 13, he helped them get a mortgage to buy a small house. Herjavec stated that this was the most difficult and painful time he had to spend in his life. He was the poorest among his class fellows. He was mocked for looking different from all of them.
Herjavec’s tough childhood made him mature at a young age. His financial conditions drove him to improve his life. Despite being born into poverty, Herjavec has always said that he had a wonderful childhood. He was once quoted saying,
"I was lucky to grow up like that. We were poor financially but we were never devoid of spirit, or love, or support, or encouragement. In that little village, I was the most important guy to my uncle. What a great way to grow up!"
Robert Herjavec graduated from the University of Toronto with a degree in Political Science and English Literature. He made a living to support his family and his education with numerous jobs. He earned from delivering newspapers, collection agents, waiting tables, and as a retail salesman.
Beginnings of his Career
After graduation, Herjavec began working for a TV station called Global TV. He unexpectedly got the job for the field producer of the XIV Winter Olympic Games. His job was going well, and he gained plenty of experience in the field.
He received an honorary award for being the youngest producer for Olympic coverage. His expectations rose, and he dreamed of becoming the next big director. Instead, he ended up as the third assistant director for the film The Return of Billy Jack. He worked as an assistant director for another film Cain and Abel. He learned that the entertainment industry is full of mayhem and not suitable for him.
Start in the Business
Robert Herjavec bid farewell to his TV career. He started looking out for new opportunities. He applied for a position at Logiquest, where his job was to sell IBM mainframe emulation boards. Underqualified, he sold himself well enough to get the job by using effective business communication.
He persuaded the company that he would do to the job free for six months. During that time he worked minimum wage pay jobs. Herjavec liked working with devices. He learned very quickly and did very well. He enjoyed the salesman part he played at Logiquest and soon made his way to become the president of the company. But Herjavec’s fortune was written elsewhere. He was fired in 1990 and decided to start his own company.
Setting up The BRAK Systems
Robert Herjavec built BRAK Systems in 1990. The company provided security integrations to other businesses and systems. BRAK Systems did very well and competed with bigger IT providers, like Sun and IBM. He convinced engineers from bigger companies to come work for him by making sure the work environment was fun and put the employees first. Herjavec's understanding of how to be a leader paid off, and BRAK grew quickly
The BRAK Systems grew more so Herjavec had to get a second mortgage. He continued prioritizing his employees. He paid them first. By the time the company’s value increased and it became more profitable.
In 2000, AT&AT Canada made an offer that Robert Herjavec couldn’t resist. Herjavec sold BRAK Systems to AT&AT for $30.2 million.
The Herjavec Group
After selling the BRAK Systems and other small ventures, Robert Herjavec stayed at his home. His wife wanted to work, so he became a stay at home dad for the next three years. He loved and enjoyed staying with his kids at home. But he started to miss working at his company.
In 2003, he set up The Herjavec Group with $20,000. At the beginning of The Herjavec Group, Robert and his colleagues came up with many ideas for selling technology. But they couldn’t stand out from other IT companies. To remedy this, The Herjavec Group started making IT protection technology.
Within five years, the company became Canada’s largest IT protection company. The Herjavec Group was one of the first companies to make and sell antispam products. Robert's net worth is owed to the foundations of The Herjavec Group.
In 2013, Robert realized that company sales were higher than ever, and the company should expand. The Herjavec Group expanded and brought companies in the US, UK, and Australia. About 35-40% of the THG business is located outside Canada.
The company’s sales grew to $500 million. The company started with three employees and by the end of 2013, it reached 150 employees.
On April 24th, 2019, The Herjavec Group won the Top Security Provider of the Year award in the CDN Top 100 Solution Providers for the 3rd year running. The Herjavec Group is now a top global cybersecurity company.
It provides many services, like managed security services, identity services, advisory services, and so on. With now 300 employees, the company’s net worth is estimated at $125 million. Robert Herjavec is still the CEO of The Herjavec Group and plans to continue expanding his company.
In 1990, Robert Herjavec got married to Diane Plese, a Canadian born optometrist. The pair had three children. However, the marriage ended 24 years later, and the divorce was finalized in 2016. Herjavec went through an emotional breakdown after the divorce, saying that they were great parents and a great team who unfortunately drifted apart.
The despair took over him and he was about to commit suicide, and he spent some time in a Seattle shelter home. There he found therapy and found inspiration in helping the homeless, where he donated food and essentials to homeless people who couldn’t reach the shelter. He left the shelter two and a half weeks later. He still volunteers at the Seattle shelter house and is thankful to the people there who treated him like family.
Herjavec set out to look for a new experience that would help him ease the pain of separation. He was offered a spot on the show, Dancing With the Stars. Robert liked the show himself and agreed to become a part of it.
He began practicing for up to eight hours with his dance partner Kym Johnson. A few weeks later the two were rumored to hang out together. They got engaged on February 27TH, 2016, and married on July 31st, 2016.
Outside of business and love, Robert Herjavec is passionate about cars. He loves riding a Ferrari and is an avid collector of cars, with some very rare cars in his collection. He has taken part in the well known Ferrari Challenge. Herjavec loves to run and play golf in his past time.
Herjavec as an Investor and Shark Tank
Robert Herjavec is among the world’s top businessmen and investors. He believes in investing not just for profit, but for creating revenues for other individuals as well.
Herjavec is a leading investor in his show Shark Tanks. Shark Tank is an American-based business reality show. The show is the franchise of Dragon’s Den which originated in Japan. The show involves young entrepreneurs as contestants who bring their business ideas. The panel of judges or the sharks (as called in this show), chose who they would invest with as business partners.
Example investments Robert has invested in are Buggy Beds and Tipsy Elves. Buggy Beds works on a system for bed bug detection. All the five sharks pitched in to invest while Robert was the one to clinch it.
Tipsy Elves is one of the most innovative and popular ventures for the show’s latest season. The company ventures for funky looking sweaters and clothes for various occasions. Herjavec offered $100,000 to Tipsy Elves for 10% equity in return. The company’s sales were estimated at $8 million.
Herjavec as a Salesman
Herjavec is a great salesman and this personality trait made him a successful entrepreneur as well as a wealthy businessman. He began his career as a salesman, underqualified for the job. He claims that he convinced the company to hire him as he knew how to sell himself very well. Herjavec skillfully sold products to people who had no technical background.
He has emphasized on selling techniques in most of his presentations and talks. He says that people need to sell themselves at numerous points in their daily lives. There’s a job interview; you need to sell yourself as the best candidate. Plus, you need car keys from your parents. You need to sell yourself as a responsible kid who won’t cause any trouble. His most recent book is based on selling techniques.
A Risk-Taking Entrepreneur
Risk-taking is an important trait and a fundamental part of how to be an entrepreneur. Calculating and managing risks is not an easy thing. Robert Herjavec took some significant risks in his career, like investing $20,000 to set up BRAK when he was fired.
He decided to sell BRAK Systems when the revenues were quite high. He took a second mortgage on his house when he needed to put all the money and efforts for BRAK. Herjavec suggests, keeping your job until it is safe to quit.
Knowing your numbers is like solving a jigsaw puzzle. Many business people are not very good at their number game. Robert Herjavec's net worth is a result of his knowledge of the number game. He knew his numbers well enough to take calculated risks and increase his revenues.
Growing up in tough conditions, Robert Herjavec matured early and set his mind to changing his future. His rags to riches story is an inspiration for all. He was a successful entrepreneur and a hardworking and focused businessman, always the master of sales techniques in his career. Robert helps young entrepreneurs by investing in their ventures through Shark Tank.
Herjavec never looked back on his failures and mistakes. He didn’t let his weak moments take over him. When he got divorced, he took some time to recover, but later moved on with his life with another marriage. The Herjavec Group did not have a booming start at the beginning. But now it is one of the largest global cybersecurity companies worth over $125 million.
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