By Madison Alworth
Venture capitalist Rohan Oza has never had an original idea, and he's proud of that.
Instead, he takes fledgling companies, founders, and smart products that already exist, and makes them bigger ー and more profitable. And he returned for his second season on "Shark Tank," the show's 10th, to find his next project.
"Shark Tank is bigger than ever," Oza said this week in an interview on Cheddar. "It taps into America's entrepreneurial spirit. I have so many friends who watch it with their kids. And I think people learn both business and tough love in the tank."
But what happens when the cameras aren't on? How real are the rivalries and the deals?
“When we’re off the set, we’re friends," Oza said. "But when you get into the tank it’s real. The gloves come off or the teeth come out. Whatever analogy you want, because you actually want the deal.”
Oza has had a hand in Pop Chips, Vitamin Water, Bai, and many other major brands, and in looking for investments, he follows two guiding principles: intelligence and chemistry.
"A phrase one of my fellow sharks Alex Rodriguez loves to use is he always backs the jockey. I agree with Alex because one: is this someone that is smart and can take this to the promised land? But two: do I like working with him? Because life’s short, if you don’t like working with them, then don’t do the deal," he said.
While Oza could not divulge the companies he invested in during the upcoming season, he did admit they fit in his traditional portfolio. His firm, Cavu Ventures, includes a variety of investments in health foods and beverages.
Oza always pursues investments that correspond to what he calls the "Four Ps."
“Four trends in food right at the moment: you’ve got plant, you’ve got protein, premium indulgence, and the last P, as I call it, which is from the 90s, is phat,” he said.
For Oza, the intensity of Shark Tank is among the show's most genuine elements.
"The deals that are good you’re fighting for, because you’re putting your own money in. The intensity is very real.”
Shark Tank's season 10 debuts October 7.
For full interview click here.