Growth

Meet Dr Glen Richards, the newest judge on the Shark Tank team

Broede Carmody /

The second season of Shark Tank returns this Sunday with a new face gracing our television screens.

This season will see Dr Glen Richards, the vet behind the Greencross and Petbarn empire, dissect people’s pitches and fight it out with the fellow judges for a potential share in a lucky entrepreneur’s business.

Read more: Shark Tank season one recap: All the highs and lows

Richards will be joined by returning sharks Naomi Simson, the founding director of RedBalloon, Boost Juice’s Janine Allis, tech investor Steve Baxter, and Andrew Banks, co-founder of recruiting giant Morgan and Banks.

Richards grew the Greencross empire from a single veterinary practice in Townsville into an ASX-listed company with clinics all over Australia.

Greencross recorded $362.7 million in revenue for the six months ending February 2016 and is focusing on rolling out more veterinary clinics within its retail outlets.

Speaking to SmartCompany this morning, Richards says as a Shark Tank judge he is looking to invest in businesses ready to scale.

“They have to look like they’re going to be a commercial success,” Richards says.

“They absolutely have to have a driver or entrepreneur in that business who has the skills to assemble the team and find the funding. My expertise is in scaling up, going from a small business to a large business.”

When asked what sectors he thinks are ripe for disruption, Richards says allied health is a space to watch closely.

“I’m actively looking in the allied health space right now,” he says.

“I’ve found some great young entrepreneurs in allied health and we are negotiating and working through a plan. We will scale [those businesses] in the way we scaled up Greencross and make sure the clinicians in those allied health businesses are part of that journey.”

As for the common mistakes he sees budding entrepreneurs make, Richards says founders often lack focus and aren’t watching their cashflow “with paranoia”.

“Most small businesses fail not because it’s not a good business or because it’s a bad idea, but because they don’t watch their reporting and systems around their cashflow,” he says.

“If you’re not a good financial person, you absolutely have to bring someone with financial experience into the company early. You have to be tracking against your forecasts and know on a day-to-day basis what your cash balance is. Trust me, I’ve been there.”

Richards says Shark Tank viewers can expect to see a season full of “friendly but aggressive banter” among the sharks as they fight it out between themselves over potential investments.

“What I’m hearing from the other sharks are the entrepreneurs are better prepared,” he says.

“Their businesses are a bit more advanced than other seasons. Because of that, there were certainly a lot of investments made and lots of shark fights.”

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Broede Carmody

Broede Carmody is a former senior SmartCompany reporter. Before this, he was a co-editor of RMIT University's student magazine Catalyst.

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