Who is Barbara Corcoran? The Shark Tank Judge

barbara corcoran shark tank judge

Barbara Corcoran might be best known to most as a reality television show star – charming viewers as one of the investors/judges that appear regularly on the highly-rated TV show on the ABC network – Shark Tank.

However, Barbara Corcoran is so much more – consistently demonstrating incredible skills as an entrepreneur, world-class businesswoman, motivational speaker, author, podcaster, and investor, among others.

The Early Years

Barbara Ann Corcoran is a Pisces, having been born March 10, 1949, to a large Irish-Catholic family, the second child of ten. She was born in Edgewater, a northern New Jersey town that hugs the Hudson River with more than 3 miles of waterfront.

Edgewater also borders Rockland County, New York, to its North – and has one of the finest scenic views of New York City from the Jersey side of the Hudson River.

Barbara’s success is a true rag-to-riches kind of story. While Barbara Corcoran would go on to become a big-time investor – analyzing potential opportunities for large amounts of money with enthusiastic success, her early years could only be characterized as challenging.

Until her dyslexia was diagnosed correctly, Barbara Corcoran barely earned the grades required to graduate from nearby Leonia High School – with a D average.

Barbara Corcoran’s drive for excellence and success began in her early years growing up as a child in the Garden State. It was during these trying times early in life that she was wise enough to use each challenge as a motivational force.

These challenges created the drive she needed to learn the skills required to be successful in life. One of her most famous quotes speaks to this process.

“All my best successes came on the heels of failure.” – Barbara Corcoran

On her way to impressive success over seven decades, Barbara attended St. Thomas Aquinas College, graduating with an education degree in 1971.

And while she used her newfound education degree and taught for a year, she moved on – trying her hand at nearly two dozen odd jobs (like waitressing) until she made the life-altering decision, at 23, that she wanted to be her own boss.

While working, she and her then-boyfriend borrowed $1,000 and founded The Corcoran-Simone, a small real estate company in the heart of NYC that they would build together for the next several years.

At this time, Barbara also innovatively began to write/issue the Corcoran Report, a newsletter that covered New York City’s current real estate trends and issues.

Seven years later, The Corcoran-Simone Group was dissolved (for personal reasons). Barbara rebranded to the Corcoran Group and began her solo career.

Using the same drive and ingenuity, Barbara Corcoran eventually became among one of the most successful business and real estate entrepreneurs in New York City – a real estate market that is not typically for the faint of heart.

The Corcoran Group, Business Ventures & Real Estate Holdings

The Corcoran Group, as a real estate brokerage, became one of the largest and best-known real estate brands in the Big Apple and beyond. In fact, the Corcoran brand became synonymous with NYC real estate for some time. From a $1,000 investment, Barbara built a real estate business empire that was sold in 2001 to National Realty Trust for $66 million.

Barbara keeps quite busy

  • She married a retired navy captain – Bill Higgins, in 1988. They have a son (Tom) and a daughter (Kate).
  • She purchased a large Park Avenue apartment in 2001 for $3.5 million.
  • She and her husband purchased a penthouse on Fifth Avenue in the heart of Manhattan for $10 million.
  • She is a motivational speaker on a number of relevant topics, including women in business.
  • She has authored the 2011 best seller “Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business!”
  • She had a stint in Dancing With the Stars 25th season in 2017.
  • She hosts a top-rated business podcast – Business Unusual with Barbara Corcoranwhich is also available for free as a Business as Usual webinar series.
  • Keeping with her unique style, Barbara held a mock funeral for her 70th birthday.

When not attending to her empire, Barbara’s hobbies range from a beach getaway to the exhilaration of skiing.

The Shark Tank Years

Shark Tank, which debuted in 2009, is a business-based American reality TV series. Shark Tank is the American version of a similar Japanese reality show – Money Tigers, which premiered in 2001.

Shark Tank offers a platform for entrepreneurs to introduce business innovations and ideas to a panel of potential investors. These investors are the sharks referenced in the show’s title – they are the panel who must be convinced to invest in the company or idea.

Shark Tank has been an ongoing rating success, especially in its time slot. Shark Tank has been awarded a primetime Emmy four times in the category of Outstanding Structured Reality Program.

Barbara garnered international fame as a savvy Shark Tank investor – investing more than $5.4 million through innovations presented on Shark Tank.

At one point, Barbara Corcoran had appeared on 82 episodes of Shark Tank. Of the 336 pitches presented to Barbara as a judge, she selected to participate in 53 deals – or 16% of the potential deals offered. Of the 53 deals, 22 or 42% of these deals were made in which Barbara partnered with another judge- most often Marc Cuban.

She has since been on many more episodes and invested in more companies

Her largest investment was $350,000 for Coverplay. In Season 9, when two brothers pitched The Comfy – an interesting cross between blanket and sweatshirt, Barbara invested $50,000 for a 30% stake. In the past five-plus years, the Comfy has generated sales of approximately $150 million, despite the introduction of many similar products introduced since.

From humble roots to a wildly successful businesswoman – with a net worth of $100 million, Barbara Corcoran continues to influence many facets of the modern business world.

Barbara Corcoran is scheduled to be a part of next season’s “Shark Tank.”