NET WORTH: $100 million
SOURCE OF WEALTH: Herjavec Group
OVERVIEW: Herjavec tends to be pretty quiet about his finances, so it’s not surprising that not much is known about his philanthropy either. What is known is that he’s played in several charity golf tournaments, twice hosted a fundraiser for cancer research charity the Princess Margaret Foundation, and lists in his bio that he donates to several cancer research organizations.
BACKGROUND: Herjavec emigrated from Croatia to Canada with his parents when he was 8 years old, arriving with nothing more than a single suitcase and $20. He attended the University of Toronto, majoring in English literature and political science, and had a brief career as a film producer and director before getting into the tech business.
Looking for work in between productions, Herjevac applied for a position at Logiquest selling IBM mainframe emulation boards. He was underqualified for the position, but managed to talk his way into a job by offering to work for free for six months. During this time, he worked as a waiter to pay the bills, but eventually moved up the ranks to become general manager.
Learning much about the tech industry while at Logiquest, Herjavec left in 1990 to found BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software, which he sold to AT&T Canada in 2000. After a three-year retirement during which he was a stay-at-home dad, he founded the Herjavec Group in 2003, which provides integrated security. He is currently the CEO of the Herjavec Group, and an investor in small businesses through the hit TV show Shark Tank. He’s reportedly worth around $100 million, but he tends to keep pretty quiet about his finances, so it’s hard to know for sure.
PHILOSOPHY: “I came to North America when I was eight years old on a boat with my mom and dad and one suitcase. We lived in a village where all the floors were dirt. I don’t know how you could come from that background and not have empathy for people,” Robert said in an interview with Leaders Magazine. “I’m not a product just of myself; I’m a product of those who were kind enough to guide me along the way. And that’s a service you owe to others – sometimes it’s in the form of money, sometimes it’s your time, but you have to be a guide for others.”
- HEALTH: Herjavec supports several charities dedicated to funding cancer research and other health related causes. In addition to the balls he threw for the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation, there was a donation of between $50,000-$100,000 to the Hamilton Health Sciences Group in 2012.
LOOKING FORWARD: In his early 50s, Herjevac’s star is still rising, so expect to see an increase in his philanthropy over the coming years and decades. He lives in Toronto, so that is probably where the bulk of his giving will go, but he’s also got a summer home in the Florida Keys, and connections to Silicon Valley. In addition to being an avid golfer, he’s also an avid runner, recently completing the New York Marathon. So, if you’re planning a charity golf tournament or 5k run, particularly if you’re raising money for cancer, Herjevac would be a good person to ask to participate, or at least make a donation.
The best way to contact Robert Herjavec is through his website.