Who is Mark Cuban?
Born in 1958 in Pittsburgh, Pa., Mark Cuban is probably best known as one of the eccentric venture capitalists, or “sharks,” on the popular ABC television show “Shark Tank.” On the program, aspiring entrepreneurs pitch their fledgling businesses to a panel including Cuban and four of his peers in the hopes of securing an investment. In some cases, one or more of the sharks “bites” and offers an entrepreneur much-needed funding in exchange for a percentage stake in their company.
Outside of the long-running ABC reality show, Cuban is also a successful entrepreneur in his own right, having started a number of companies throughout his career in addition to purchasing controlling shares in several existing businesses, including NBA sports franchise the Dallas Mavericks, which he still owns. Cuban is also a cryptocurrency advocate, a writer, a film producer, and a philanthropist.
What is Mark Cuban’s net worth? Is he the richest shark?
As of the most recent update to this article, Cuban’s net worth was estimated at $5.2 billion according to Forbes, making him the 526th-richest person in the world and by far the richest shark on “Shark Tank.” At one point in 2022, Forbes listed Cuban as the 227th-richest American.
Cuban's $5.2 billion exceeds the net worth of co-sharks Kevin O'Leary ($400 million), Daymond John ($350 million), Robert Herjavec ($300 million), Lori Greiner ($150 million), and Barbara Corcoran ($100 million) by a massive margin.
What was Cuban’s early life like?
Cuban grew up the son of working middle-class parents in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pa., and had a penchant for business — especially sales — from a young age. He sold trash bags and collectibles and transported newspapers to earn spending money during his teens.
He skipped his senior year of high school in order to get a jump on higher education, attending the University of Pittsburgh for one year before transferring to Indiana University, where he earned a B.S. in management from the Kelley School of Business — all while owning and managing a bar in Bloomington.
How did the richest shark make his money? Cuban’s career explained.
Cuban may be best known for his role on “Shark Tank,” but the business chops and corporate savvy he developed in the years that preceded his prime-time television notoriety are a large part of what makes him such a compelling presence on the show.
After college, Cuban moved back to Pittsburgh and secured a job with Mellon Bank. He later moved to Texas, where he worked as a bartender and a software salesperson before starting his own software sales company, MicroSolutions. The company grew relatively quickly, and in 1990, Cuban sold it to CompuServe for $6 million, pocketing about a third of that after taxes.
By age 30, Cuban was worth around $3 million, and he famously spent $125,000 of his wealth on a lifetime fly pass with American Airlines (AAL) -), allowing him to fly first-class anywhere, any time, and earning him a reputation as a successful, jet-setting businessman for whom the sky was quite literally the limit.
Next, Cuban joined online media company Audionet, which later became broadcast.com, helping expand the company’s operations and grow its revenue until it was purchased by Yahoo! in 1999 for $5.7 billion worth of the latter’s stock.
This deal occurred shortly before the collapse of the dot-com bubble, but luckily, Cuban held enough offsetting positions to successfully hedge against the impending decline in the value of Yahoo! and other tech stocks. Cuban credits this successful hedge for preventing the bulk of his fortune from being decimated by the dot-com crash.
In 2000, half a decade after becoming a billionaire at age 37, Cuban bought a controlling stake in the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks for $285 million. As of 2022, it was reported that the franchise’s value had reached $3.3 billion.
In the mid to late aughts, Cuban invested in, and in some cases helped run, a variety of startups and tech companies, including IceRocket, ShareSleuth.com, and Motionloft. His role as a television personality on “Shark Tank” began during the show’s second season in 2011, but he has continued to maintain an active role in the business world outside of the show.
What companies does Mark Cuban own and invest in?
Cuban has partial or majority ownership in many companies spanning industries like entertainment, blockchain, healthcare, finance, and more. A full list of his companies is available on his website, but the following are among the most notable.
The Dallas Mavericks
Cuban has maintained majority ownership of the Mavericks since 2000, and he is known for sitting courtside and taking a more public and outspoken ownership role than is typical among NBA team owners.
The team’s success increased under his ownership, but he frequently finds himself on the receiving end of hefty fines from the NBA for publicly criticizing referees, players, and managers in the league. Since he took ownership, he has paid out at least $1.6 million in fines.
2929 Entertainment (Magnolia Pictures)
2929 Entertainment, the parent company of Magnolia Pictures, is a joint venture between Cuban and fellow billionaire and business partner Todd Wagner. The company is a vertically integrated entertainment business that produces new films and television shows, purchases rights to existing media, and distributes media for theatrical releases and home entertainment.
Cost Plus Drugs
Cuban launched Cost Plus Drugs in 2022 with partner Alexander Oshmyansky, a radiologist who also serves as the company’s CEO. The goal of the business is to invest in the large-scale manufacturing of generic drug products, which can then be sold directly to consumers via prescriptions through Truepill Pharmacy.
This model aims to reduce drug costs — particularly for consumers without insurance — by eliminating the need for the pharmacy benefit managers and third-party administrators that Cost Plus claims are often responsible for significant markups in the prices of prescription drugs.
Three Commas — a reference to the number of commas in a billion dollars — is an apparel brand launched in 2015 as a joint project between Cuban, Mike Chaffin, and rapper Nelly. The brand markets its products toward entrepreneurs and achievers, and many of its shirts and accessories feature inspirational quotes, the brand’s three-comma logo, or graphic illustrations.
Some products even include the line, “and for that reason, I’m out,” a famous dismissal often uttered by Cuban on “Shark Tank” when declining to invest in a contestant’s business.
What was Cuban’s biggest investment on “Shark Tank?” How much has he invested?
On the sixth episode of season five of “Shark Tank,” Cuban invested a staggering $2 million into Ten Thirty One Productions for a 20% stake in the company. Ten Thirty One (a reference to the date of Halloween) produced live horror entertainment attractions like haunted hayrides and was eventually purchased by Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group, the world’s largest haunted house company.
According to Sharkalytics.com, a fan-run "Shark Tank" site, Cuban has invested almost $20 million in 85 deals over the 111 episodes of the show.
Has Cuban lost money on “Shark Tank?” What was his worst investment?
In a 2022 episode of the “Full Send Podcast,” Cuban revealed that he has not profited overall from investments he’s made on the reality show. When asked, “Are you up all time on ‘Shark Tank’ investments?” by the show’s host, Cuban replied “Like, up financially? Oh no, I’ve gotten beat.”
According to Cuban, the worst investment he made on “Shark Tank” was in Breathometer, a smartphone-compatible breathalyzer device designed to aid consumers in deciding whether or not they are sober enough to drive legally after drinking.
All five sharks invested in Breathometer, but the company floundered due to a combination of what Cuban believed was reckless spending by the company’s founder, Charles Yim, and an expensive Federal Trade Commission settlement resulting from the product’s often inaccurate blood alcohol content readings. Yim has since pivoted and now markets Breathometer’s device as Mint, a smartphone-compatible measurement tool for bad breath and oral health.
Is Mark Cuban the subject of any controversies?
Cuban has never been shy about expressing his views about divisive topics. On social media, he’s sparred with several well-known personalities like Elon Musk, as well as podcast host Joe Rogan and cryptocurrency advocate Layah Heilpern, about the importance and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As mentioned above, Cuban is also well-known for loudly voicing his criticisms of NBA referees, managers, and players in his role as owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sometimes earning himself hefty fines as a result. In 2021, Cuban chose to stop playing the National Anthem at Mavericks home games out of "respect for those who believed the anthem did not represent them." In response, the NBA required the song to be played at all games.
Fun facts about Mark Cuban
- Cuban has played himself in several films, including 2022’s “Hustle,” and many television shows, including “Bar Rescue,” “The Simpsons,” and “Trailer Park Boys: The Animated Series.” He was also a contestant on the 2007 season of “Dancing With the Stars.”
- In 2021, Cuban purchased an entire town — Mustang, Texas — as a favor to a friend who needed to sell it. When questioned about his plans for the acquisition, he stated "I don't know what if anything I will do with it."