Entrepreneurs, Startup Advice

Shark Tank’s Andrew Banks on Elon Musk and the world-first deals in season three of the Network Ten show

Emma Koehn /

Shark Tank judge and Talent2 founder Andrew Banks says regardless of the quality of an idea on the table, he’ll only put down money if he thinks he’s going to enjoy working with the people involved.

“I want to work with people who are going to be fun to work with,” he tells SmartCompany.

The seasoned investor says that in Shark Tank‘s third season, the sharks are more wary than ever before about wasting their time on deals that aren’t likely to make it past due diligence processes, and a novel idea alone is no longer enough to sway him. 

“At my age and where I’m at, I have lots of opportunities to invest. Deals are like buses, there’s always another one coming,” Banks says.

Read more: Healthcare app CancerAid scores $500,000 deal with Sharks Andrew Banks and Glen Richards

The entrepreneurs who caught Banks’ attention this season were able to do one thing relatively quickly: show him the money.

“Thirty percent of the conversation is about the idea, then I need you to go into where the cash is coming from,” Banks says.

This season viewers will see at least three deals that are “world firsts”, according to Banks, who believes the new ideas on offer are a testament to the innovative mindset of Australians.

Banks says the true impact of the show has been the way it has encouraged other Australians to consider entrepreneurship as a genuine career path, which is especially important given many of the shows fans’ are young people watching with their families.

“I love the fact that some of our biggest fans are mothers and their children,” Banks says. 

There’s also a lot of promises in the businesses Banks has brokered deals with in previous seasons, he says.

“All of the businesses that I’ve invested in so far are still going and still viable. One of them is on the threshold of signing an enormously big deal — it is going to be transformative.”

While Banks firmly believes there is no “secret sauce” to a successful business, to his mind a good pitch is all in the detail.

“The only secret is you’ve got to line everything up — you’ve got to have people to fill the gaps,” he says, warning company founders not to just assume they are naturally a jack of all trades and capable of growing without help.

As for who he looks to for entrepreneurial inspiration, at the moment Banks is closely watching the man who wants to go to Mars

“Right now, I would be an Elon Musk fan. I love him because of his out-of-the-box thinking,” Banks says.

However, when it comes to learning entrepreneurship Banks says those starting out should avoid pinning their hopes to one hero in particular.

“I don’t think one role model is ever enough for anyone,” he says. 

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Emma Koehn

Emma Koehn is a former senior journalist at SmartCompany.

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