Sep. 14th, 1962
Varaždin, PR Croatia, Yugoslavia
Robert Herjavec's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
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Robert Herjavec (born September 14, 1962) is a Croatian-Canadian businessman, investor, author, dancer and television personality.
Born in Varaždin, Croatia (formerly Yugoslavia), and grew up in Zbjeg. In 1970, at the age of eight, the family left the country to escape Marshal Josip Broz Tito's communist regime, which had previously incarcerated Herjavec's father for speaking out against the regime. Herjavec's family arrived Halifax with a single suitcase and only $20. The family eventually settled in Toronto, where they lived in the basement of a family friend's home for 18 months. For Herjavec, who spoke no English, the transition proved difficult, who, having grown up on a farm and raised by his grandmother among neighbours in similar lifestyles, now found himself in a much poorer economic class than his neighbours. Herjavec's father got a job in a Mississauga factory, making $76 a week. Herjavec cites his father, whom he describes as "a really, really tough guy", as a major influence in his life. Herjavec has described a seminal memory of his, when he came home one day to complain to his mother that his classmates were making fun of him. His father who used to walk to work in order to save money on bus fare, came home, and when he heard what his son described, instructed his son "Never complain", which became a guiding principle in Herjavec's life, one which he says sparked his sense of perseverance. Another influential episode in his youth came when Herjavec's mother was persuaded by a traveling salesman to buy a vacuum cleaner for $500, which was seven weeks' salary. As a result, Herjavec swore his family would never be taken advantage of again.
In 1984, 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 in the 1990s, such as waiting tables, delivering newspapers, retail salesman, and collection agent.
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 honour as one of the youngest producers of Olympic coverage.
Looking for work in between productions, Herjevac applied for a position at a company called Logiquest selling IBM mainframe emulation boards. He was underqualified for the position, but convinced the company to give it to him by offering to work for free for six months. In order to pay the rent during this "free" period, Herjavec waited tables. He eventually rose in the ranks to become General Manager of Logiquest. In 1990, after being fired from Logiquest, he founded his first company, BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software, from the basement of his home. BRAK Systems was sold to AT&T Canada in March 2000 for $30.2 million.
After a three-year retirement as a stay-at-home father to his three children, Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003, a security solutions integrator, reseller and managed service provider, of which he is currently the CEO. Herjavec Group is one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies and the country's largest IT security provider, according to the Branham Group. 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.
Herjavec has appeared as a regular on ABC's version of the series, Shark Tank (season 1 to 6), where business pitches from aspiring entrepreneurs are heard by a panel of potential investors. Shark Tank has an estimated 7 million viewers, while Dragons Den Canada has been one of the highest rated and most watched television shows in that country. As of 2014, it is the top-rated show after Hockey Night in Canada.
On February 24, 2015, Herjavec was announced as one of the contestants for Season 20 of the reality series Dancing with the Stars. His partner was Australian dancer 'Kym Johnson'. On May 5, 2015, during a double elimination, Herjavec and Johnson were eliminated and finished in 6th place.
Herjavec married Diane Plese in (1990). In July 2014, Herjavec separated from Plese. He and his estranged wife have two daughters, Caprice and Skye, and a son named Brendan. Herjavec also has several other vacation homes.
Herjavec and Kym Johnson became engaged (February 27, 2016). They were married (July 31, 2016) in Los Angeles.