Daymond John Net Worth: How Rich Is the 'Shark Tank' Star?

As a highly successful founder and a much-loved "Shark Tank" judge, Daymond John sure knows the value of a solid business strategy — and is generous to share his wisdom with the new generation of entrepreneurs.

Daymond John speaking at the event
Image: Wikimedia Commons

Behind every successful person, there's a story of hard work, dedication, and resilience. This is especially true for Daymond John, an American businessman and television personality, whose rags-to-riches journey from a barely scrapping by Black teenager working multiple jobs to a self-made businessman and "Shark Tank" star is anything but ordinary. John's early success came from his iconic urban clothing company, FUBU, and his ability to take risky bets without a second thought.

Although Daymond John no longer recommends putting all eggs into one basket and follows a golden rule of investment portfolio diversified across different ventures and asset classes, it was precisely his bold bet on FUBU that opened to him the doors of the 90s hip-hop scene and positioned him for the future success as "Shark Tank" investor, a testament to his innovative entrepreneurial spirit. This, in turn, begs just two questions — what is Daymond John net worth, and how did he make it?

Daymond John's early life

Daymond John was born in Brooklyn, New York, on February 23, 1969, as an only child to Margot and Garfield John, who divorced when he was only 10 years old. Shortly after, young Daymond got his first job handing out flyers for $2 per hour to support his family.

Although Daymond was born in Brooklyn, he grew up in the Hollis neighborhood of Queens, known as a hotbed of hip-hop talent whose notable residents included LL Cool J, Run DMC, Young MC, and Ja Rule. LL Cool J, in particular, was a close friend of Daymond, and his support would later be instrumental in making FUBU a household name in hip-hop apparel.

In high school, John enrolled in a program that allowed him to juggle weekly classes with a full-time job, which he credits for helping him learn about the working world. Some of his jobs through high school included waiting tables at Red Lobster and managing a commuter van service. 

The creation of the FUBU brand

Daymond's mother, Margot John, once gave him the advice that a day job would never make him rich — but his own venture might. So when in 1992 young Daymond told her that he wanted to start his own hip-hop clothing company, she provided him with all the support she could offer — taught him to sew, turned all available space in her house into a manufacturing line, and even went so far as to mortgage her home to raise $100,000 in funding.

Just like all DIY brands, FUBU — short for “For Us, By Us” — started from humble beginnings. The first success of the new venture was the knock-off wool ski hats that Daymond John and his next-door neighbor Carlton Brown were selling at $10 a pop on the corner of Jamaica Avenue, pocketing $800 in one day. After the hats, the entrepreneur duo started making screen-printed T-shirts that sold on consignment and at large events in their area. At the same time, Daymond continued working at Red Lobster to keep his promising venture afloat.

"[I would] come home at night, sew shirts, wake up in the morning and deliver the shirts, then go back to Red Lobster because I had to pay the bills," John told CNN Business. "But I also wanted to chase this dream, so I had to give up every single thing for it."

When Daymond invited his two other friends, J. Alexander Martin and Keith Perrin, to join the business, FUBU started for the first time focusing on its brand. At this point, the four co-founders were designing hockey jerseys, sweatshirts, and T-shirts and putting the FUBU logo on them. To give a swift boost to the brand visibility, they loaned some hockey jerseys to local hip-hop artists, securing product placements in about 30 music videos.

But the real breakthrough for FUBU as a brand came after Daymond manged to convince his old friend LL Cool J to wear a FUBU t-shirt to his promotional campaign and a FUBU hat in a commercial for The Gap. The rapper even incorporated the line "for us, by us" into one of his rap songs — and shortly after, FUBU found itself on the radars of hip-hop fans across the country.

As the brand grew, at some point John received a manufacturing order worth $300,000 for the Las Vegas fashion show and decided to take a second mortgage on his mother's house. Turned down by 26 banks, John probably wouldn't have been able to fulfill the order so crucial for his brand if it wasn't for his mother, who spent her remaining savings to advertise FUBU in the New York Times. As a result, FUBU scored a deal with Samsung textiles and was able to deliver all orders on time.

Just six years after inception, FUBU was generating $350 million in annual revenue, and has earned more than $6 billion in worldwide sales to date. Although FUBU is no longer a streetwear powerhouse it used to be in the 90s, it's still sold around the world as a legacy hip hop lifestyle brand. And, what's perhaps is even more endearing, the four co-founders from Hollis are still friends after all these years.

Daymond John becomes "Shark Tank" investor

In 2009, Daymond John, then already successful as the founder and CEO of FUBU, was approached to join ABC's new reality show called "Shark Tank." The show follows aspiring entrepreneurs pitching their business ventures to the panel of the so-called "sharks" — shrewd investors and successful company owners who judge the viability of the contestants' ideas.

Even though John eventually accepted the offer, there was initially a degree of skepticism from him when he first heard about the idea. “When I got the call it was a waste of my time. I was like, ‘This crappy show? Nobody will ever watch it. Who the hell is going to watch five business people talking?’” John told Business Insider. However, after the show took off, it quickly won the hearts of American viewers, winning 4 Emmy Awards and being nominated for 9. With the "Shark Tank" now into its 15th season, Daymond John's impeccably dressed, suit-wearing persona is undoubtedly one of the long-time most favorite sharks of the show.

Largely due to his position as a "Shark Tank" judge, Daymond John has become an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide. And as a shrewd business person first, John couldn't miss the opportunity to market his personal brand — since his first episode, he has authored several bestselling books focused on business development and a children's book about money titled "Little Daymond Learns to Earn."

Besides books, Daymond John founded The Shark Group, a consulting and brand management company, to help small businesses elevate their market presence, attract investments, and expand outreach. The businessman also became a co-founder of Next Level Success (formerly known as Daymond John's Success Formula) — a non-profit initiative that teaches aspiring founders how to navigate the business landscape and offers scholarships to the most promising young entrepreneurs.

In 2015, Daymond John was appointed by President Obama to serve as one of nine global entrepreneurship ambassadors.

Notable "Shark Tank" investments

So, what did Daymond John invest in? Apart from FUBU, John has also poured more than $8.5 million of his own money into 61 deals across 100 episodes of "Shark Tank," making strategic investments into the most promising ventures. Some of his all-time favorites include Bombas Socks (season 6) and Bubba's-Q Boneless Ribs (season 5). John also stepped in to mentor a 13-year-old "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Moziah "Mo" Bridges, whose bow tie company Mo's Bows eventually signed the seven-figure deal with the NBA.

Thanks to John's investment, Bubba’s-Q Boneless Ribs was able to grow from $154,000 in annual sales to $16 million in three years. The business founder, an ex-NFL defensive end Al “Bubba” Baker, came up with a way to remove the bones from the meat without it losing its flavor and patented it. The boneless ribs cooked this way could be reheated in a microwave and eaten with a fork and knife, a noticeable advantage over the traditional messy ribs. Baker's company saw explosive growth after scoring a contract with CKE Restaurants, the parent company of both Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.

Daymond John is also credited for helping Bombas Socks to scale from $450,000 in total sales to $12 million. The company, which claims to create the most comfortable socks, underwear, and t-shirts, donates a clothing item of the same kind for every purchase to help those experiencing homelessness. To date, Bombas Socks donated more than 100 million items to more than 3,500 community organizations.

What is Daymond John's net worth in 2024?

At the time of writing, Daymond John's net worth is estimated at $350 million. While most of his wealth can be attributed to his early success with FUBU, some portion of his money also comes from his "Shark Tank" deals — so far, John invested in 61 ventures in exchange for an average 27% equity stake in a company.

A non-negligible share of Daymond John net worth also comes from his book sales, as one would expect from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal's best-selling author. Besides the already-mentioned "Little Daymond Learns to Earn," John has released four other books targeted at adult readers, namely Display of Power, The Brand Within, The Power of Broke, and Rise and Grind.

And if that is not enough, "Shark Tank" investors earn about $50,000 per episode of the show, as revealed in a 2016 Variety report. While $50,000 is hardly life-changing money for John, the total payout he might have received since his first episode on the show may now amount to around $5 million.

Bottom line

A successful businessman, fashion designer, author, and television personality, Daymond John has proved that entrepreneurial spirit combined with hard work may be a truly unstoppable combo — and thousands of other small business owners across the world are taking notes from his inspiring story.

As of 2024, Daymond John's net worth is estimated at $350 million, a testament to his innovative vision, entrepreneurial mindset, and the success of his urban clothing brand FUBU.

If you would like to learn more about the net worth of other "Shark Tank" judges, take a look at our articles on Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran.