Herjavec in 2010
September 14, 1963 |
Varaždin, Northern Croatia
|Residence||Bridle Path, Toronto|
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
|Occupation||Chief Executive Officer,
The Herjavec Group
|Net worth||$125 million|
Robert Herjavec (Croatian: Robert Herjavets) is a Croatian-born Canadian businessman, investor, and media personality.
Early life and education
Herjavec was born in Varaždin, Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia) and emigrated with his mother and father to Virginia at the age of eight, after escaping communism in former Yugoslavia. Herjavec’s father was incarcerated for speaking out against Marshal Josip Broz Tito’s communist regime. Herjavec has become well known for his family’s “rags to riches” story of success, arriving to Halifax with a single suitcase. The Herjavec family arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia aboard the Cristoforo Colombo in 1970. The family eventually settled in Toronto where they lived in the basement apartment of a family friend’s home for 18 months.
Herjavec graduated from New College at the University of Toronto, with a degree in English literature and political science. To make a living and help support his family, Herjavec took on a variety of minimum wage jobs such as waiting tables, delivering newspapers and retail sales.
Herjavec’s first career was in film at an early age. He quickly moved behind the camera in various production roles. Herjavec worked in several productions as a 3rd AD (assistant director) including Cain and Abel and The Return of Billy Jack. His early film career culminated with the position of Field Producer of the XIV Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina for Global TV – where he was given an honor as one of the youngest producers of Olympic coverage.
In between productions Herjavec found himself looking for work. Through his roommate, Herjavec learned of an opening at a computer startup called Logiquest selling IBM mainframe emulation boards. Herjavec found himself under-qualified for the position but talked his way into the role by offering to work for free for the first six months to earn his stay. In order to pay the rent during this “free“ period, Herjavec waitered nights at Remy’s restaurant in Yorkville. He eventually ended up as General Manager of Logiquest. In 1990, he left to found BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software, from the basement of his home. BRAK Systems was sold to AT&T Canada in 2000.
After a three-year retirement as a stay-at-home father to his three children, Herjavec founded the Herjavec Group in 2003, a security solutions integrator, reseller and managed service provider, of which he is currently the CEO. The Herjavec Group is one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies and the country's largest IT security provider, according to the Branham Group. The Herjavec Group (THG) has grown from three employees in 2003 to 150 employees as of 2013, with a 643% growth rate from 2007–2012 and sales from $400K in 2003 to over $125 million in 2012. The company has done over $500 million in sales in the last 10 years. Herjavec and the Herjavec Group Inc. have been the recipients of numerous entrepreneurial and business achievement awards including:
- 2012 Ernst & Young, Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Technology
- Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal by Governor General of Canada – 2012 for Outstanding Service to Canada 
- Profit Magazine – “Hot 50“ (2006)
- Profit Magazine – Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies (2007 consecutively through to 2012)
- Branham Ranking – Canada’s # 1 Security Company (2012), Top 5 Fastest Growing Technology Companies (2010 to 2013), Top 100 Integrators
- Computer Dealer News – Top 25 Integrators (2011 – 2013)
- CRN – Top 500 North America’s Technology Companies (2007 – 2013), Top 50 Fastest Growing Companies (2013), Fastest growing Security company (North America – 2013)
- Profit 500 - GTA Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
The Herjavec Group made a series of acquisitions over 10 years in order to accelerate its growth
- 2005 - THG acquired Metacomm, a $10 million, Toronto-based security company
- 2006 - THG acquired SecurityLinq – a $3 million, New York-based IT integrator
- 2007 - THG acquired Sensible Security a $12 million, Ottawa-based security company that supports over 1 million nodes of end-point security with the Federal Government
- 2009 - THG acquired Cyberclix, a $16 million managed security provider with a state of the art 24 X 7 SOC ( Security Operations Center ) and an advanced SIEM and IPS managed security practice
- 2011 - THG acquired Zentra Technologies, a $50 million Calgary-based storage integrator which moved it into infrastructure and storage
Television & media personality
Herjavec has starred in two national versions of Dragons' Den, one in Canada on the CBC Television series Dragons' Den (season 1 to 6), and in America on the ABC series Shark Tank (season 1 to 5), where business pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs are heard by a panel of potential investors. Shark Tank has an estimated 7 million viewers, whilst Dragons Den Canada has been one of the highest rated and most watched television shows in the country.
Shark Tank is a reality TV series produced by Mark Burnett and owned by Sony Corporation. It is the highest rated show on Friday nights on ABC and has grown steadily over the last five seasons. The show has won a Critics’ Choice Award (of which Herjavec is a recipient) and has been nominated for an Emmy twice (2012, 2013). He has also won three Geminis as part of Dragon’s Den for “Outstanding Reality Show in Canada“.
Herjavec has appeared on various North American TV series including:
- BNN News
- Marilyn Denis Show, CTV Networks
- Nightline, ABC News
- The Katie Couric Show
- Anderson Live
- The Neighbors ( scripted TV Series )
- The Queen Latifah Show
- Entertainment Tonight
- How Did you Get So Rich – Joan Rivers
- MTV Cribs
- E Network
- CNN Entertainment News
Herjavec has also appeared in hundreds of print publications including People, Newsweek, Time, Profit Magazine, and Road and Track, and on the cover of Entrepreneurship Magazine. He has presented awards at the 2013 Emmy Awards and the 2013 Mr. Olympia contest.
Another passion of Herjavec’s is car racing, and he competes in the well-known Ferrari Challenge. Herjavec won 2011 "Rookie of the Year" title after winning both races at the season-opener in St. Petersburg, Florida and followed up with wins in Laguna Seca and Lime Rock, Connecticut. In 2012, Herjavec was selected to be the Grand Marshal for the 2012 Honda Indy Toronto. He is also an avid car collector with several rare cars in his collection.
Herjavec is an avid golfer and runner. He has played in the 2010 Canadian charity open sponsored by RBC at the St. George’s Golf club. He has also competed in the 2011 New York marathon and the 2010 Miami marathon. He is a certified SCUBA diver (PADI) and a motorcycle enthusiast (owning several racing Ducatis).
Herjavec is the author of two best-selling titles, Driven: How to Succeed in Business and Life (2010) and The Will to Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding (2013). Driven is organized by the work and life principles that made Herjavec both wealthy and successful, while The Will to Win delivers life lessons that promise to guide readers to greater happiness and success. Published in 2010, Driven was on the bestseller list for over eight months and became one of the best selling business books in Canada. With the publication of the second book Herjavec had two bestselling books on the Globe & Mail Top 10 bestselling list at the same time (#1 and #6).
Herjavec owns a home in the Bridle Path, Toronto area and a large mansion in North York, Ontario that was the largest and most expensive home sold in Canada. The mansion has been host to luminaries like Michael Bublé, John Travolta, Mick Jagger, and Bono. The Herjavec mansion has been featured on MTV Cribs and on Joan Rivers' TV show How'd You Get So Rich?, and the Rolling Stones' tour video. He has been married to his wife Diane for over 20 years and has two daughters and a son named Brendan, and a dog. The family also has several other vacation homes.
- "RobertHerjavec.com". Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- "Biography". Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- White, Shelley. "Race to the Top". Exceptional Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Herjavec, Robert (2013). The Will To Win: Leading, Competing, Succeeding. HarperCollins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 978-1443409865.
- Smith, Cara. "Robert Herjavec: The Driven and Dependable Dragon". Revive Magazine. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Fienberg, Dan. "TV Ratings: Strong 'Shark Tank,' 'Last Man Standing' premieres lead ABC Friday". HitFix.com.
- Benzine, Adam (September 1, 2011). ""Dragon’s Den" victorious at Geminis". realscreen. Retrieved 3 October 2013.
- Dragons Den (Canada): Road to Riches segment