Robert Herjavec Net Worth: a Captivating Rags to Riches Story

One of the most recognized tech moguls in North America and an OG "Shark Tank" star, Robert Herjavec's road to riches was anything but smooth.

Robert Herjavec portrait
Image: Robert Herjavec (@robertherjavec) on Twitter/X

A son of Yugoslavian emigrants who went from having $20 in his pocket to founding tech startups worth hundreds of millions of dollars, Robert Herjavec is a walking testament to the power of entrepreneurial spirit and determination. Today, he is not only one of the most recognized tech entrepreneurs in North America but also an investor and television personality who captured the hearts and minds of the "Shark Tank" viewers with his unmatched charm and business savvy.

That being said, it comes as no surprise that many aspiring entrepreneurs and curious minds are looking up to Herjavec as a successful business owner and a self-made man who managed his way without being born into generational wealth. If you too are eager to learn how he arrived at his success, you are in the right place! Read on to discover Robert Herjavec's net worth, most significant business ventures, education, and private life.

Early life and education

Robert Herjavec immigrated to Canada with his parents when he was just eight years old. The family arrived in the country by boat after escaping the Communist repressions in the former Yugoslavia, where Robert's father Vladimir was jailed numerous — precisely 22 — times for speaking up against the regime.

Upon arrival in Canada with a single suitcase and just $20 in savings, Herjavec's family initially inhabited the friend's home basement before they got their first apartment, while his father started working in a nearby factory, earning $76 a week. In an interview with Investor's Business News Daily, Herjavec would later recall being bullied in school for his poor English and uncool clothes. When he once complained about it to his dad, whom Herjavec described as "a really, really tough guy," Vladimir told him to never complain, instilling in young Robert a fierce determination to succeed in life and prove his worth to people who looked down on him.

Another core memory that would later guide Herjavec's business ambition was when his mom was persuaded by a traveling salesman to buy a $500 vacuum cleaner, Vladimir's seven weeks' salary. That was the time when Robert vowed that he would never again let anyone take advantage of his family.

Although in the future Robert would become a renowned business leader, his education didn't reflect his later pivot to entrepreneurship. In 1984, he graduated from New College at the University of Toronto with majors in English literature and political science. Since his degree didn't get him any well-paid career at the time, Herjavec juggled many minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet and support his family, such as waiting tables, collecting debt, and delivering newspapers.

Humble beginnings and early entrepreneurial success

After graduating, Herjavec took a brief stint in the film industry as a field producer for Global TV covering the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo, present-day Bosnia and Herzegovina. He also worked as a third assistant director for several Canadian productions, such as Cain and Abel and The Return of Billy Jack.

After returning home in between productions, Herjavec heard his roommate complaining about not landing a job at a tech startup, LogiQuest, which sold IBM mainframe emulsion boards. At the time, he knew nothing about computers, but Herjavec applied for the position nevertheless and struck a deal with the company by offering them to work for free for six months while he soaked up knowledge about the tech industry. Under the terms of the agreement, if Herjavec managed to make a valuable contribution by the end of his unpaid term, then he would stay with the company as a full-fledged employee.

Not only did Herjavec manage to prove his worth to LogiQuest, but advanced quickly in the company's hierarchy, rising to general manager. However, in 1990 he got fired, so he decided to start his own business out of a desperate need to finance his mortgage.

Herjavec then founded BRAK Systems, an integrator of internet security software, which he operated from the basement of his home. In 2000, he sold the company to AT&T Canada for $30.2 million. The very same year, he landed a seat at Ramp Network as the Vice President of Sales, which was later acquired by Nokia for $225 million.

Three years later, Robert Herjavec started the Herjavec Group with two partners. The company was conceived as a security services provider, but its first-year revenue, $400,000, fell short of the founders' original estimates. Through a series of acquisitions, Herjavec Group greatly expanded its outreach and offerings, going from basic security to consulting, PCI compliance for payment cards, and establishing four global security operations centers to provide businesses with in-house IT cybersecurity expertise. Fourteen years later, the Herjavec group recorded $200 million in annual revenue, securing a spot among the fastest-growing software companies. After a private equity group, Apax Partners, acquired Herjavec Group in 2021, Robert Herjavec retained a significant stake in the company and his position as CEO.

Herjavec becomes "Shark Tank" venture capitalist

In 2006, Robert Herjavec was invited to become a co-host for the new reality show "Dragon's Den," an adapted Canada's version of the Japanese original, "Tigers of Money," where a team of successful investors judges startup pitches from participants and occasionally invests in selected ventures.

As the show grew in popularity, Herjavec was approached to star in a US version named "Shark Tank" alongside fellow "sharks" Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner, and Barbara Corcoran, who all later became household names due to the immense popularity of the show among the American viewers. At the time of writing, ABC's "Shark Tank" is in its 15th season and has so far won four Emmy Awards and five Critics' Choice Television Awards. It is also the most-watched American show on Friday nights in the 18-49 year-old demographic.

Unlike the fellow shark Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary, whose TV persona is a blunt and straightforward investor with more concern for business than others' feelings, Herjavec became known as "the nice shark." With his charming blue eyes that seemed to radiate sympathy and amiability,

"All of our dragons were self-made," said "Dragons' Den" producer Tracie Tighe. "And he's got those blue eyes. He has a very striking face. He just looks great for television, too. Everyone remarks on Robert's eyes. He's expressive. He's a good performer."

One of Herjavec's successful investments on "Shark Tank" was $100,000 in a startup called Tipsy Elves in exchange for a 10% equity share. Nowadays, Tipsy Elves is a mature holiday-themed apparel company that in 2018 recorded $70 million in sales since its launch, and Herjavec is confident that it can grow into a $100 million business.

Herjavec's largest deal on "Shark Tank" so far has been $5 million in Zero Pollution Motors, the developer of an affordable urban car designed to run on compressed air, for 50% of the business. Overall, Robert Herjavec has invested $16.5 million in 57 startups across 126 episodes of "Shark Tank" for an average 18% equity stake in a company, as per data from Sharkalytics.

Other notable assets

Besides his share in founded companies and equity stakes from "Shark Tank" deals, Herjavec is no stranger to alternative investments, such as real estate, cars, or collectibles. In 2000, when Herjavec was still married to his first wife Diane Plese, he bought a mansion in a Toronto neighborhood called The Birdle Path for $7.5 million, which at the time was one of the most expensive homes ever sold in Canada. Herjavec sold the property in March 2020 for $17.4 million.

In January 2023, Robert bought a 14,700 square feet mansion in Hidden Hills, California, for $26 million. The entrepreneur also owns a vacation house in Newport Beach, California and a home back in his native Toronto.

Another passion of Herjavec is car racing — the millionaire competed in the North American Ferrari Challenge Series, which netted him a title of the Rookie of the Year in 2011. With a costly hobby like this, it comes as no surprise that Herjavec is a committed exotic car collector. A crown jewel in his collection is a Lamborghini Aventador SV Roadster, a limited edition of just 500 ultrarare vehicles. However, most of Herjavec's cars aren't for racing and hardly even drive any miles except for service: the collection is kept in a secure warehouse as if they were art or a special kind of collectible.

As a millionaire admitted in an interview with The Globe and Mail, if it wasn't for his cybersecurity business, he would probably become a full-time exotic car salesman, as cars are the only thing he knows as well as his primary business.

"You can make incredible money with cars. If I was to pit my investments in cars against the market, I am way ahead. I have had a portion of luck and knowledge that has served me well," Herjavec said.

What is Robert Herjavec's net worth in 2024?

At the time of writing, Robert Herjavec's estimated net worth stands at an astounding $300 million. Most of his wealth originates from the sale of BRAK systems and Ramp Network, plus his stake in Herjavec Group, to which he remains a CEO. However, over the years, the entrepreneur has also amassed quite a fortune through his "Shark Tank" deals and a number of shrewd investments in high-end property and luxury collectibles such as exotic cars.

Overall, Robert Herjavec is an inspiring example of a genuinely successful entrepreneur whose cybersecurity empire is often cited as the dream success story of an immigrant in Canada.


Is Robert Herjavec the richest shark on Shark Tank?

No, while Robert Herjavec is a successful entrepreneur and a millionaire on his own, he is not the richest shark on the show. As of 2023, Mark Cuban, the zealous owner of the Dallas Mavericks and successful startup founder, is the richest "Shark Tank" investor by far, with a net worth of $6.2 billion.

The next-richest shark is a serial entrepreneur Kevin O'Leary worth $400 million, followed by hip hop fashion trendsetter Daymond John, the founder of a 90s iconic clothing brand FUBU, whose net worth now sits at $350 million.

Is Robert Herjavec Croatian?

Robert Herjavec was born in Varaždin, which at the time was part of a Soviet-camp Yugoslavia. Nowadays, Varaždin is a part of present-day Croatia, but it is unknown whether Herjavec holds Croatian citizenship. He moved to Canada with his family at the age of eight and is now a Canadian citizen.

Who is Robert Herjavec's wife?

In 1990, Robert Herjavec married his first wife, Dr Diane Plese, who at the time worked as an optometrist. Together, they had three children — two daughters Caprice and Skye, and a son named Brendan. In 2014, the couple separated after 24 years together. The divorce was formalized two years later, with Diane receiving $25 million compensation in total after the judge ordered Herjavec to pay additional sums in 2019.

In September 2015, Herjavec confirmed a relationship with Kym Johnson, a professional ballroom dancer and television performer. The couple first met on the 20th season of Dancing with the Stars, where they were paired together and finished in 6th place. The couple got married in July 2016 and welcomed twins in 2017: a baby boy named Hudson Robert Herjavec and a baby girl named Haven Mae Herjavec.

What are some of the books written by Robert Herjavec?

Besides being an entrepreneur, television personality, and a father to his five kids, Robert Herjavec also managed to author a few books on personal growth and business development. In 2010, he published Driven: How to Succeed in Business and Life, in which the Canadian businessman shared his hacks and tips that netted him his incredible wealth. The second book, The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding, was released in 2013 as a follow-up to Driven, now focusing more on personal satisfaction and happiness. Finally, in 2016, Herjavec published his third book titled You Don't Have to Be a Shark: Creating Your Own Success. What perhaps makes his life lessons more relatable and entertaining is that Herjavec draws heavily from his personal experience and the lives of his celebrity friends, including Oprah, Georges St-Pierre, and Celine Dion.