Who is Mark Cuban? The Shark Tank Judge

mark cuban shark tank judge

Mark Cuban is one of the permanent sharks on the popular business program, Shark Tank. He has a very interesting history, and is clearly a businessman who knows his stuff! In addition to his role as a shark, Cuban has a lot of interesting business projects in the works.

Early Life

What began as a pretty ordinary life, soon became something extraordinary! Mark Cuban was born in 1958 to a working-class family in Pittsburgh, PA. He wanted to be an entrepreneur from a very young age. When he was 12 years old, he sold garbage bags door to door in order to make enough money to buy a pair of pricey basketball sneakers.

From there, there was a series of different entrepreneurial projects. He has done everything from being a bartender to running newspapers from state to state during a strike. Cuban opted to start college early and skipped his senior year of high school. In 1981, he graduated from the University of Indiana, Bloomington with a Bachelor of Science degree in business.

Once he finished his degree, Mark Cuban returned to Pittsburgh. His first job after coming home after college was at the local financial institution, Mellon Bank. Of course, we all know now that Cuban was not going to work for someone else for very long!

It was about a year after he graduated from college that he moved to Dallas, TX. His first jobs included working as a bartender and as a software salesman for Your Business Software, a local PC software retailer.

Shark Tank Investments

After joining Shark Tank as a guest shark, Cuban became a permanent member of the team in its third season. He has many success stories, but not all of his deals worked out well. It is actually the first deal that all five sharks invested in that turned into a bad deal.

The sharks all invested $1 million, with $500,000 coming from Cuban, in a company called BreathOmeter. The company ended up losing all of its money, and the owner and founder was accused of using bad practices.

As of 2015, he has invested in over 80 companies that gave pitches to the sharks. The sum that he invested is just under $20 million. He is often cited as the richest of the sharks who appear regularly on the show.

He is not as rich as all of the guest sharks though. Sir Richard Branson, who has appeared on the show as a guest shark, is reportedly richer than Cuban.

Surprisingly, not all deals that are a hit on the show go through. While there is a handshake agreement every time a pitcher accepts a deal from the shark, that doesn’t mean that it always happens. Sharks are allowed to do research on the companies and the owners before a binding deal is made.

Business Leader

With a net worth estimated to be $4.7 billion, it’s no wonder that people often seek out Cuban’s advice. He began his entrepreneurial career as a computer software systems reseller.

This company began in the early 80s and was called MicroSolutions. Less than a decade later, in 1990, he sold this business to CompuServe for $6 million, netting an estimated $2 million net, after taxes.

His next major company was Audionet, which soon became Broadcast.net. This was a precursor of the streaming era. He sold this business to Yahoo for stock valued to be worth around $5.7 billion.

Fortunately, he hedged against this stock position. The dot com bust wasn’t too far behind Yahoo’s acquisition. Unfortunately, Yahoo discontinued Broadcast.net along with the rest of its communication and broadcasting division.

These are just a few examples of the way that Cuban has leveraged success in the tech industry into larger investments and projects. He continues to be very active in the tech industry, even with his work on Shark Tank and owning the Dallas Mavericks taking up a lot of his time.

One of his more interesting investments is a ghost town! In 2021, he purchased an entire town! It is called Navarro and it is located in Texas. There are no reports of what development, if any, the entrepreneur has in mind for this town.

Dallas Mavericks

Many people may not know that former presidential candidate Ross Perot once owned the Dallas Mavericks! It was in 2000 that Mark Cuban purchased a majority stake in the team. The team was not very good when he bought it. The Mavericks had a winning percentage not much higher than 40% when Cuban took over.

It only took six years for the new owner to get the team to the NBA finals. Unfortunately, they did lose to the Miami Heat that year. It is notable that he is a much more active owner than many of his counterparts in the league.

It is no surprise to see Cuban sitting courtside alongside the team. This is true at both home and away games. Mark Cuban will often fly his private Gulfstream to away games.

In 2011, the Mavericks did pull off the title! They won the NBA Championship that year. The team continues to be a large part of Cuban’s business empire, but sometimes it does seem like it isn’t enough! The businessman has made bids to buy the Pittsburgh Pirates baseball team and the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.

Anyone who wants to know if their idea is a good one would benefit from getting some advice from shark Mark Cuban! His business career has spanned decades. He has shown that it is possible to be a successful entrepreneur across all industries.

Fans are lucky to have such a successful person so willing to give advice! Cuban is known for wanting to help others achieve the success that he has had.  Keep watching Shark Tank to learn more about what goes into making smart business decisions. There is a lot to be gained from listening to the advice given by Mark Cuban!