Warning: This week’s Shark Tank contains some serious Shark-on-Shark violence — thanks to guest Shark (and billionaire venture capitalist) Chris Sacca.
In the exclusive sneak peek above, Sacca asks the owners of education startup STEM Center USA what they’re looking for from the Sharks… and takes a not-so-subtle jab at fellow Shark and QVC queen Lori Greiner: “What I didn’t hear you say is: I need a spot on QVC; I need an infomercial; I need an end-cap at Bed Bath & Beyond.” Lori’s jaw drops as she fires back: “That’s not all that I do! That’s crazy!”
In fact, Lori wants to partner up with Sacca and make a joint offer for the company. But the former Google executive brushes her off: “You’re willing to share because you’re swimming in my wake.” He tells the entrepreneurs he wants a bigger piece of the pie: “I think the equity’s gonna be worth money. And I don’t want to share it. I want it to be worth my time.”
But Sacca tells Yahoo TV his swipe at Lori wasn’t personal:“We have some fun back-and-forth… I’m just totally sparring.” He did enjoy getting a chance to mix it up a little in the tank, though: “I just came out swinging at the other Sharks, and I think they really underestimated me. [Kevin] O'Leary talks trash to the entrepreneurs; I talk trash to the other Sharks.”
An early investor in big tech companies like Twitter and Uber, Sacca’s heard his share of pitches. But it actually took him a while to get used to the choppy waters inside the tank: “During the first seven minutes I was sitting there, I didn’t say anything. I even started to raise my hand to get my turn to say something. The Sharks interrupt each other so aggressively. That would just be brutal if I did that in a real meeting. So it took me seven minutes to learn to just rudely interrupt the other Sharks if I ever wanted to get a word in edgewise.”
When there wasn’t blood in the water, though, Sacca says the other Sharks couldn’t be more gracious: “Everybody was sweet and nice and helpful with advice, making me feel welcome. Frankly, the warmest of all was O'Leary.” (Aw, Mr. Wonderful, you old softie!) “When the cameras were off, he was really, really fantastic in helping me navigate.” But once those cameras start rolling and the entrepreneurs are in there pitching, Sacca says, “it’s game on. And to use a shark term, it’s a feeding frenzy.”
Despite his formidable business credentials, Sacca is an odd choice to be a guest Shark: He was once an admitted Shark Tank hater. Daymond John invited Sacca to watch a taping a few years back, and Sacca scoffed at the cheesy products being offered at the time. “It was horrible. I laughed like, ‘Oh my God, that’s what you guys are doing over here? It couldn’t be farther from what I do for a living.’ At that point, I just dismissed Shark Tank out of hand.”
But after exchanging tweets with Daymond and Mark Cuban, Sacca started seeing what an impact Shark Tank was having on pop culture. Then he had a chance run-in with a Tank producer, who asked Sacca what he would do to improve the show: “Along the way, I watched every episode I could find. And in that process, I became a big fan. I realized that Shark Tank is the embodiment of the American dream.”
That dream comes true for at least a few entrepreneurs this week, thanks to Sacca. “I’ve definitely done some deals,” he reveals. “The quality of companies that Shark Tank attracts has vastly improved. These are fantastic companies, and a couple of them, I think, have the potential to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars.” And you can expect to see Sacca swimming in the tank again in a future episode: “They really liked me, and I had a good time, so they invited me back, and I said, 'Hell yeah.’"
Shark Tank airs Fridays at 9 p.m. on ABC.