You probably know the TV show “Shark Tank,” where people with sometimes interesting, sometimes bizarre business ideas seek money from a panel of famous investors.
A new Wall Street firm called Bervann Capital last week held its version of that mating of entrepreneurs with people who have lots of money to spend.
The difference was that Bervann’s “Global Investment Convention” was able to get a lot more investors to hear the pitches — during one-on-one meetings — of a lot more businesses than the TV show ever could. And, of course, the event wasn’t televised.
The biggest potential investments at the get-together came from (where else?) the Middle East.
Get a load of the invitation for the event, which noted that it was “Under the Patronage of the Private Office of His Highness Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Saeed Al Nahyan of the Royal Family of Abu Dhabi.”
That sure beats Corcoran, Cuban, Greiner and O’Leary — the sharks on the show. Who wouldn’t want to go? So I did.
I hung out for a while with His Excellency Zulfiquar Z. Ghadiyali, who is the chief executive of the Sheikh’s Private Office, and I asked why they got involved in this courtship event.
“I like this format. There has to be enough opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors to react on a personal level,” he said. “It’s more important to have one-on-ones.”
So that’s what His Highness did. He met with about 30 firms seeking the Sheikh. “I think we will do business with at least four or five of them,” he told me.
So there were about 20 big-time investors, who were selectively picked, at the Bervann conferences, taking pitches from about 100 prescreened businesses.
Gregory and Laine Lansing were at the conference looking for a $25 million to $50 million investment for their San Diego-based real estate company, Lansing Cos. Laine said they had 10 meetings with investors and — as always happens with deals that size — they didn’t find out immediately if they got their money.
This isn’t, after all, “Shark Tank” where it is wrapped up in an hour.
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