Behind the Scenes with the Shark Tank SA Co-Stars
Gauteng Lifestyle dives inside the shark tank to chat about life on set, great business decisions and their favourite local hotspots, check it out…
What makes Shark Tank SA such an enthralling show is the quick-paced banter and invaluable insight from the five dynamic investors in the tank.
The five business moguls on the panel in the new reality television series include VC and co-founder of Silicon Cape Vinny Lingham, group co-CEO of The Creative Counsel Gil Oved, CEO of The Beancounter Marnus Broodryk, Chief Executive Officer at Europcar and Imperial Car Rental Division South Africa Dawn Nathan-Jones and well-known telecommunications expert, media personality and commercial strategist Romeo Kumalo.
When the sharks are not prepping for world domination or on set taping new episodes of the show you’ll find they also just like to kick back, relax and enjoy some time off from their busy schedules.
“My new favourite hotspot to visit in Jozi is in Parktown North called Workshop 55. It’s got a great vibe and they make their own Gin infusions. Durbs is the Oyster Box, the Grill Room makes the best Crepe Suzette in the country, and it’s a definite must!” says Gil.
“I love sipping bubbly and watching the sun set in Clifton” reveals Dawn.
For Vinny the hotspots on his list include the San Bar at Sun International in Jozi and Café Caprice in Cape Town.
Every shark has an edge and plays it and every shark offers invaluable insight and advice to aspiring business owners. It’s why entrepreneurs looking for strategic investors wait in line for hours to try out for the show.
For investor Dawn Nathan-Jones, she empathises with the entrepreneur and says she understands how nerve-racking it is for them to pitch their ideas so she always keeps an open mind.
“I listen intently and do not make any prejudgment calls before the person is finished their pitch. While it’s important for the entrepreneurs to know the facts and figures, I also look out for honesty and integrity which are key values for me in business” says Dawn.
When it comes to the top three things the Sharks look out for when selecting companies to back it varies from each investor.
“I look to back a great jockeys, way above backing a great horse. Businesses change over time, concepts, products, sales and marketing strategies, those all change. The one constant in any business is a great passionate entrepreneur – great people. Great businesses are made by great people. I look to back businesses that have fostered a culture of people-centricity. I like to see guys with long tenure and staff who are engaged and passionate about what they do every day with robust systems and processes. You could have the best ideas in the world, but without respect for solid and robust systems and processes that whole thing will fall flat” says Gil.
For Vinny Lingham it all comes down to the team and whether he trusts them to execute, the scalability and its valuation. And when it comes to the best advice he ever received, Vinny went on to reveal it has to do with the amount of money raised. “Raise as little money as possible, at the lowest valuation – because it keeps your options open!” he said.
Ever wondered what’s going through the minds of the investors as they listen to people lay their business dreams on the line?
“At best I try and keep my mind focused on what is being pitched. The time that you have to hear the detail of the business plan is limited so it is imperative to stay alert and provide the presenter your undivided attention. Some things running through my mind at the time include the sustainability of the business opportunity, profitability levels and how best to maximise on the distribution and marketing strategy to improve the product sales” says Romeo.
“I sometimes boggle that people aren’t dreaming but rather fantasizing. They may hope to achieve something but they have no idea how to go about it. Other times, I am amazed by people’s ingenuity, innovation, tenacity and hunger. That’s the beauty of Shark Tank, you never quite know what you’re going to get” reveals Gil.