Swimming with Sharks
The year 2020 may be the stuff of nightmares, but it's not stopping one Arlington-native entrepreneur from swimming with sharks. TOMS founder Blake Mycoskie will be the newest guest judge on the ABC smash-hit Shark Tank, the network says.
Mycoskie, along with Austin jewelry maven Kendra Scott, will join sharks Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary in various episodes during the 2020-21 season, according to a release. Since the series is still filming and editing, it's unclear yet exactly which episodes Mycoskie and Scott will appear in, a rep adds.
Mycoskie — who was born in Arlington and attended SMU before dropping out to start his first business — is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, and bestselling author most known for founding TOMS Shoes, the innovative company that shot to success by giving a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair sold. To date, TOMS Shoes has provided almost 96 million pairs of shoes to children around the globe.
In 2014, after selling half of the company to Bain Capital, Mycoskie stepped down as CEO of TOMS and used half his proceeds to start the Social Entrepreneurship Fund, which helps early startups with core social missions get off the ground. Since then, he has invested in more than 25 social enterprises. His newest company, Madefor, "helps people learn and sustain positive habits and practices that have the greatest impact on their lives," the release says.
It's not Mycokie's first foray into reality TV. In 2001, he and his sister, Paige Mycoskie, competed in the second season of The Amazing Race and finished in third place. He now lives with his family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Scott will be the only female guest judge on Shark Tank's next season, the release notes. 2020 has been a banner year for her. Earlier this month, the Austin-based entrepreneur was added to the faculty of the University of Texas at Austin — the same university that launched the Kendra Scott Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (WEL) Institute last semester.
All the while, she's continued to grow her billion-dollar jewelry company, Kendra Scott, and continued on with the philanthropic arm of her business. It appears nothing, not even a pandemic, can slow her down.
"According to a 2018 PitchBook study, Scott is among only 16 women in the United States to carry the title of founder of a company valued at $1 billion," notes the release. "Today, Scott’s company continues to operate out of Austin, Texas, with their state-of-the-art corporate office complete with a design lab and an industry-leading distribution center, both catering to her employees’ career goals and family-life balance."
For viewers who haven't yet dipped their toe in the show's waters, a quick primer: Shark Tank is an Emmy Award-winning reality show where real-life millionaires and billionaires invest in startup businesses and products. Guests come on, pitch their idea, and the sharks can choose whether or not to invest. Among the show's most successful products have been the Squatty Potty, a contraption that helps with bowel movements, and Scrub Daddy, the reusable sponge.
For season 12, which is shooting in Las Vegas, Mycoskie, Scott, and crew will hear pitches from a whole new batch of entrepreneurs. The new season of Shark Tank premieres Friday, October 16. After airing on ABC, new episodes will be added to Hulu the following day.