New blood is coming to the next season of ABC's Shark Tank.
Season 7 of the show premieres Friday, September 25, and host Robert Herjavec says the competition is as fierce as ever. In an interview with Inc., Herjavec talked about overheated startup valuations in the U.S., fighting for deals with Ashton Kutcher and what the Sharks think of Republican presidential contender Donald Trump.
What can Shark Tank fans look forward to in the show's upcoming season?
Definitely more deals. In fact, we almost have too many deals. The quality of the pitches is sky high. It never ceases to amaze us how the producers always seem to get better entrepreneurs.
Who are some of the guest Sharks who will be making appearances this season?
You're going to see Ashton Kutcher on the season premiere. I'll never forget Ashton after the first pitch. He looked at the rest of us and said, "Whoa, what just happened?" Everything happens very quickly and nobody waits for you to talk. You've just got to go. After the first one he got right into it. He's a quick learner.
Any other guest Sharks we can expect to see?
We also have Chris Sacca and Lady Gaga's former manager, Troy Carter, so there are three new guys this year.
Are entrepreneurs still pitching companies with crazy high valuations?
We're getting a little bit of everything. You still have people who have extraordinarily exuberant hopes for their value, and you have other ones who are much more realistic.
Do you think that private company valuations are getting so high that it's created a bubble?
A lot of the valuations are extraordinarily high, but some of these businesses are fundamentally changing their industries. Look at Uber. There's no denying the incredible effect Uber is having on transportation--not just car-sharing.
Are any of the Sharks favoring certain industries or investing heavily in certain sectors?
We're all establishing niches in certain areas. I've done well with gifting products, which is kind of odd. I have a number of companies in the Christmas space and holiday space, and then also in the sports industry.
What are some of the challenges you're facing with your Shark Tank companies?
What we struggle with on some of them is, they're doing well, but we're faced with the question of how do we get some liquidity and grow them? Some of them are great in a niche, but the niche is never going to be really big. That's what we're struggling with, making them bigger. We're always about scale, and sometimes the markets don't lend themselves to that.
Mark Cuban has been pretty vocal about Donald Trump lately. Is that a big topic of conversation between the other Sharks when the cameras aren't rolling?
Trump's an interesting character, and we all have a lot of respect for him as business people, but we're all pretty busy trying to do business, as opposed to talking about what's going on with Trump.
So what do you talk about between pitches?
What we're having for dinner and who's going to pay for it.