EisnerAmper’s 6th Annual Alternative Investment Summit: Fireside Chat with CEO Charly Weinstein and Shark Tank’s Barbara Corcoran and Daymond John

October 14, 2021

By Caitlin Cotter

EisnerAmper’s 6th Annual Alternative Investment Summit featured a keynote/fireside chat with  Charles Weinstein, CEO, Eisner Advisory Group LLC interviewing Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group, and Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU, both of ABC’s Shark Tank.  During the discussion, Barbara and Daymond shared the successes and challenges of their respective journeys, what they believe comprises a winning investment, tips for investors, and the importance of flexibility, tenacity and creativity.

Flexibility

Being able to adapt and act quickly were drivers of success during the COVID-19 pandemic. From Barbara’s perspective, the entrepreneurs who decided to ‘wait and see’ were the ones who found themselves at a disadvantage. Calling upon colleagues, contacts, family and friends, the Comfy Bros, founders of a wearable blanket company and one of Barbara’s most successful Shark Tank investments, were able to turn an 80% in-store retail model into a nearly 100% online direct-to-consumer business over the course of the past 18 months. This was just one of her examples of how the strong entrepreneurs she works with got stronger and the weak ones waited for things to change.

On a similar note, Daymond saw that those entrepreneurs who sought to adapt and educate themselves on alternative ways to deliver a great product had more success than their peers. The world is constantly evolving, maybe now more than ever, and Daymond prepares himself by continually learning and diversifying. Diversification is what brought Daymond to Shark Tank in the first place.

Tenacity

The lessons learned during the pandemic solidified what the Sharks always knew, which is that it’s the entrepreneur, not necessarily the investment, that interests them. Barbara and Daymond said they are both looking at the motivation of the individual and what is driving their success. If the entrepreneur is looking for money and fame, unrelated to the business, that’s a red flag for them. The Sharks are not only investing their money but their time into these entrepreneurs so it’s important they like them as individuals.

Barbara credited sheer willpower as the driving force behind her success at the Corcoran Group and that’s what she’s looking for when she is on Shark Tank. A company is an extension of those who lead it. Since there is no time for due diligence during Shark Tank, Barbara and Daymond must rely on intuition and years of investing.

Creativity

Not dissimilar to a venture fund deciding how to deploy its capital, the Sharks must decide how valuable a company is and what they want to give up for that investment opportunity, all in just an hour. For Daymond, it comes down to the value of the proposition, who is his competitor, and how can he protect his money.  For Barbara, it comes down to two questions: 1) Does this business make common sense? and 2) Will enough people buy its product or service? The level of creativity it takes to close a deal depends on the value of the entrepreneur and the interest from the other Sharks. When competing with someone like Mark Cuban on an enticing deal, there is a fine line between positioning yourself to have more value and begging. 

What’s around the bend

When asked what they’re focusing on in 2021 and beyond, Daymond said he is excited by the tech industry and seeking to add value with his already established brand identity and intellectual property. Barbara said she is interested in industries she already has in her portfolio such as textiles, food and service. Specifically, she is looking for opportunities where she can improve the fundamentals of the business from the inside out and multiply through potential franchising opportunities. Both, however, understand the importance of non-financial factors of being socially and environmentally conscious. Finding the time and way to give back is important. In the words of Daymond John, “Make it, Master it, Matter.”

To listen to the webcast, click here.

About Caitlin Cotter

Caitlin Cotter is a Manager in the Financial Services Group with more than five years of diversified accounting and auditing experience providing audit and accounting services to private equity funds, hedge funds, fund of funds, and broker-dealers.