September 14, 1962
- Known For:
University of Toronto
About Robert Herjavec
Robert Herjavec was born on September 14, 1962, in Varaždin, Croatia (formerly the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). He emigrated to Canada with his family on a boat when he was eight years old, escaping communism in his native country.
Herjavec grew up in Toronto and, as a child, initially spoke no English. He and his family lived in the basements and homes of their friends and struggled financially for years. He recalls that his parents couldn’t easily understand their first lease, which he had to translate for them roughly. To help his family out with bills, Herjavec worked from a young age in a series of low-wage jobs, including delivering newspapers and waiting tables. He later attended the University of Toronto and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English literature and political science.
After graduating from college, Herjavec began his career working a job in the technology field. He quickly rose through the ranks and gained experience that laid the tracks for his first internet security business and entrepreneurial path.
In 1990, Herjavec founded his first company from his basement, BRAK Systems, which provided innovative internet security and software services. As demand for computer security systems increased worldwide, BRAK Systems became a success.
BRAK Systems was later sold to AT&T. Today, it’s estimated to be worth $100 million. He then began working at RAMP Networks, helping to negotiate the sale of another tech company to Nokia for $225 million. Having achieved a great deal of financial success, he decided to briefly “retire” from working for a couple of years before reentering the tech and cybersecurity fields.
In 2003, Herjavec founded his second company in Toronto called Herjavec Group. It has become one of North America’s leading global cybersecurity firms, with up to 500 yearly employees. According to Herjavec’s website, Herjavec Group “specializes in managed security services, compliance, identity services, and incident response for enterprise-level organizations.”
In 2022, Herjavec Group merged with FishTech Group and was rebranded to Cyderes. According to Cyderes’s website, Cyderes stands for cyber defense and response. The company “uses its proprietary, cloud-first technology platform called CNAP (Cloud Native Analytics Platform) to help enterprises tackle the world’s biggest cyberattacks.” It employs 800 people working in six security centers around the world. Cyderes has an estimated annual revenue between $100 and $500 million.
Herjavec points out that he had humble beginnings and once said, “I don’t have an MBA, or a business degree, and I wasn’t very good at accounting . . . I owe my success in business to the fact that I really love what I do . . . The best advice I would give to somebody is, don’t ever start a business that you are not incredibly and deeply passionate about.”
Shark Tank and His Business Advice
Prior to appearing on Shark Tank, Herjavec starred on the Canadian show Dragons’ Den, which had a similar concept to Shark Tank. The show involved having business owners pitch their ideas to entrepreneurs who could choose to invest in their businesses and also offer advice. In 2022, Herjavec returned for Season 17 of Dragons Den after a decade away from the show.
Robert Herjavec joined the cast of ABC’s popular reality TV show Shark Tank in its second season, which premiered in August 2010. Since then, he has appeared as a regular “shark” on the show, evaluating and investing in new business ventures presented by entrepreneurs.
Shark Tank has become one of the most popular business shows of all time. It offers entrepreneurs the unique opportunity to be mentored and funded by venture capitalists with decades’ worth of experience in growing businesses.
Herjavec’s involvement in the show helped raise his profile in the U.S., making him a prominent public figure in the business world. He’s become involved in growing businesses among the nutrition, design, and apparel fields. Some of the businesses that Herjavec has invested in while serving as a shark on Shark Tank include Aira, Bad Birdie, Butter Cloth, Adventure Hunt, Sand Cloud, Doc Spartan, and The Bouqs.
With a decade plus of being a shark, Herjavec’ has shared plenty of advice for business owners, including to expect hard times and challenges, to be as knowledgeable about a particular field as possible, and to prioritize being adaptable. He also says to “keep your pitch simple,” “listen more than you talk,” and “know who to pitch to and who to avoid.”
Herjavec is the father of five children (three from his first marriage and two from his third marriage). He’s generally private about his personal life, although he does mention his children on Shark Time periodically. He met his current wife, Kym Johnson Herjavec, on Dancing with the Stars. The couple had twins in 2018.
As an immigrant child who struggled financially, Harjavec has been open about setbacks that he’s faced since moving to the U.S. He regularly mentions his upbringing and credits his family for instilling in him a hard work ethic. He has also said that his poor upbringing motivates him to give back and donate his time and money to good causes.
Aside from his work at Herjavec Group and on Shark Tank, Herjavec is a well-known television personality, investor, author, mentor, and philanthropist. Additionally, he’s a luxury car enthusiast and has competed in the Herjavec Group Racing and Ferrari Challenge North America Series several times, earning awards including “2011 Rookie of the Year.” He also loves golfing, running marathons, and driving motorcycles.
Herjavec regularly contributes to business and news programs, publicly speaks, and shares advice and insights via social media. He also competed on the popular show Dancing with the Stars in its 20th season, placing 6th with partner (and now wife) Kym Johnson.
Herjavec has written several business-related books, including:
- Driven: How to Succeed in Business and in Life: Published in 2016, Driven is Herjavec’s memoir that details his journey of emigrating from Croatia to becoming a multimillionaire.
- The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding: Published in 2017, The Will to Win focuses on the practices and mindsets of successful people who make their dreams into their realities.
- You Don’t Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success: This book is intended for entrepreneurs looking for advice to grow their businesses.
- The Herjavec Group Cybersecurity Playbook: Published in 2021, his latest book provides insights and strategies for organizations looking to protect themselves against cyber threats.
Net Worth and Philanthropy
Herjavec is considered one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Canada. He now splits his time between Toronto and Los Angeles.
As of early 2023, Herjavec has an estimated net worth of around $310 million. He has built his wealth through a successful career as an entrepreneur, investor, and CEO of the Herjavec Group.
Aside from being an admired businessman, Herjavec is widely recognized for his philanthropic efforts and praised for his involvement in charitable causes, especially those related to healthcare, education, and environmental needs. He’s been involved in a number of charitable initiatives and philanthropic efforts, including:
- The Herjavec Group Foundation: Herjavec created his own foundation with his wife, Kym Herjavec, to support organizations and initiatives that help children and families in need. The foundation provides funding and resources to organizations such as schools, hospitals, and community groups.
- The Children’s Wish Foundation: Herjavec has been a long-time supporter of this Canadian charity which grants the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses.
- The Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation: Herjavec has helped to raise funds for this foundation, which pursues cutting-edge medical research and patient care.
He is also associated with The American Cancer Society, the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, the Hamilton Health Foundation, and Race to Erase MS.
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