One Dragon's true story of rags to riches - Metro US

One Dragon’s true story of rags to riches

It sounds like a Hollywood movie: A waiter becomes a salesman, then launches his own company, and becomes a multi-millionaire. But it’s no imaginary tale. It’s the true story of Robert Herjavec, the youngest Dragon on Dragons’ Den.

There’s more true drama. Herjavec lived in a ramshackle house with a dirt floor in Croatia until he was nine years old, when his family immigrated to Canada.

As the opening montage of Dragons’ Den illustrates, they came to Canada with just $20. Today, Robert owns one of the biggest houses in Toronto, and regularly jets to a private holiday paradise in Miami.

How did he do it?

“I put myself in a position where I could get an opportunity to win,” says Herjavec. He thinks that’s the key to success in the business world — always saying yes to opportunities, even if you’re nervous, even if you don’t feel quite ready.

He saw his opportunity while working selling “computer stuff,” as he describes it. A customer had asked him for a specific security product, so Herjavec tracked it down. When he went to pick it up, the distributor happened to comment that computer security was the business of the future. Herjavec’s instinct told him this was right — he decided he’d try to capitalize on that trend.

“I named my first company Brak,” he says, “because it’s the Croatian word for wedding and honeymoon, and my wife and I had just gotten married.”

Every dollar the company made he put back into the company, taking as little money as possible for himself. Turned out Internet security did indeed have huge potential. Herjavec sold BRAK Systems ten years ago for $100 million. He sold his second business for $200 million.

Learn the rest of the story tonight on Dragons’ Den.

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