Behind the Tank: Shark Tank’s Daymond John in Conn.

Shark Tank (Image: ABC)


HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A shark was circling Quinnipiac University as Shark Tank’s Daymond John was speaking with students and dishing about what you might not know about the popular ABC show.

Every Friday, John sits cool in his comfy chair while budding entrepreneurs sweat in the hot seat trying their best to reel him in.

“Nothing like a shark fight,” said John. It’s reported John’s worth about $300 million and we caught up with him heading back to school at QU on Tuesday night, looking to share advice and even gain some knowledge, too.

“The more I motivate them, the more I learn from them, and the students usually ask me tougher questions than adults and seasoned businessmen and women,” said John. “People will often tell me many successful people never went to college and it isn’t needed. It’s absolutely needed because it doesn’t matter how hard it is to make money. It’s always hard to keep it and you can learn the fundamentals.”

As founder, president, and chief executive officer of FUBU—“For Us, By Us,” he started the company in the 1990s making hats on this mother’s sewing machine. He sold them on the streets in Queens, N.Y. and it took off. He is known as the Godfather of Urban Fashion.

While in Hamden, he revealed his best and worst deals made on the show. At the top? Bubba’s Bakers Boneless Ribs filled stomachs and subsequently bank accounts. Bomba Socks also boosts profits and gives back. They donate a pair for every pair sold.

John says one company that did not step up for him was Gayla Bentley, a plus size clothing company.

“It didn’t really work out that well. Do I regret it though? No, because that’s all part of the process,” said John.

He says viewers are always looking for a little insight into the tank.

“Is that our real money? Absolutely. We absolutely know nothing about the entrepreneurs when they walk up, not even a piece of paper, and some of those pitches can go as long as two and half hours,” said John.

“It won’t be a spoiler if I tell you that Kevin is still a cranky old man,” John said with a smile while talking about this season.

You need to take the bait and watch this week as John’s friend Troy Carter, a music manager and the founder of Atom Factory, is jumping into the shark frenzy.

“So, for the first time, two African Americans are on the same panel and as much as he’s my buddy, he took some jabs at me,” said John. “Hopefully it will turn out better for me this Friday and you’ll see that I come out victorious.”

“It sounds like maybe you made a deal this Friday?” asked News 8’s Stephanie Simoni.

“We probably make a deal every Friday, but I’m not going to give that one away. I’m always victorious if I successfully embarrass the other sharks. That’s victory to me,” said John.

Shark Tank airs every Friday at 9 p.m. on ABC.

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