Saudi students win 1st place in world robot challenge

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - ‘Shark Tank’ executive producer: It is the entrepreneur’s responsibility to be heard

RIYADH: On the second day of the Misk Global Forum held in Riyadh, veteran investors revealed the secrets to their decision-making process.

“I always tell entrepreneurs, it is not my responsibility to listen to you; it is your responsibility to be heard,” said Robert Herjavec, executive producer of “Shark Tank,” during a panel discussion titled “Winning Investor’s Buy-In.”

In the constantly evolving business world, this session serves as a treasure map to decoding what makes investors’ hearts race.

Herjavec added: “The number one thing is, before you sell me on your product, before you tell me how you invented something that nobody in the history of mankind has ever invented, you need to sell me on you.”

A great entrepreneur can take a bad idea and make it great, while another entrepreneur can take a great idea and make it bad, he added.

Herjavec is a globally recognized business leader and cybersecurity expert. For the last 14 years, he has been well known as one of the founding “Sharks” and executive producer of ABC’s Emmy-award-winning hit show, “Shark Tank.”

As an investor, he knows that products and markets are volatile and that entrepreneurs must be aware of their numbers.

Veteran investors uncover the secrets to their decision-making process at the Global Media Congress. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)

“You have to understand the market to succeed in the market. Fifty percent of businesses fail in the first three years, so before you tell me are you going to take over the world, tell me how you are going to survive.”

Herjavec and Mazin Al-Zaidi, general partner at STV, discussed the gold standard for potential, feasibility, and the irresistible driving force that fuels every entrepreneurial journey.

Al-Zaidi addressed how to back these entrepreneurs and their businesses who are scaling up, after they succeed as part of the 50 percent.

“We have invested with Tabby, which just reached a unicorn valuation of $1.5 billion in the past couple of weeks,” he said.

A unicorn is a privately held startup company with a $1 billion or more valuation. Tabby was founded by Hosam Arab, a FinTech company leading in the buy now and pay later system.

“With Tabby as an example, it’s about how fast the company can grow. How it can utilize the capital that has been raised in a very efficient way that you can grow your company and scale it fast enough that it’s not just about how you can spend money but how to build a team that is your engine,” Al-Zaidi said.

Nobody wants to invest in a company that will grow by a mere 10 percent, said Herjavec.

“The biggest change we have seen in the past two years is you have to have a path to profitability. The time of just spending money for blind growth has come and gone and you don’t necessarily have to be profitable but you have to have that path to profitability.”

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