Barbara Corcoran, co-founder of Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners, on success in Pulse.

"I sit in a privileged seat as a Shark/investor on the Emmy-winning reality show Shark Tank and each season we hear hundreds of heartfelt pitches from passionate entrepreneurs. We get everything from the ingenious to the ridiculous, and get to put our own hard-earned money behind the ones we believe will be the big winners. Once a deal is closed, the fun part begins when I get to work one-on-one with the entrepreneur I’ve staked a claim in. I shepherd them from dream to execution, past all the hurdles and hard times, and if we’re all a little bit lucky, on to a genuine, breakout success!

How do I know when I’m watching a winning pitch? How can I tell I’ve found a product worth my time and money? It’s all about the people.

The best pitch I heard last season was from Grace & Lace, designers of a trendy line of lacy boot socks and leg warmers. When Melissa and Rick Hinnant burst onto the Shark Tank set, they exuded both the passion and street smarts that I know get all good entrepreneurs to the finish line. When they announced that they had $800,000 in sales in their first year of business, they got the attention of the Sharks. But what got my attention was Melissa and Rick’s backstory – a story of extreme resilience in the face of personal failure. The story they told proved they were great entrepreneurs who knew how to take a hit and keep on ticking.

To me, this is what can make or break a pitch. The best entrepreneurs have faced challenges and risen above them. That resilience is what I’m looking for when I hear new ideas on the show (and in life).


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