By Christina Casinelli ’11
An idea that began on a napkin has evolved into an entrepreneurial venture that has landed MBA student Dave Greco a spot on an upcoming episode of ABC’s “Shark Tank.”
According to its official website, the program “gives budding entrepreneurs the chance to make their dreams come true, and possibly make a business deal that will make them a millionaire.” Contestants pitch their business ideas to five panelists who decide if they want to invest their own money in the contestants’ companies. In return, the contestants offer a percentage of their companies’ equity.
Greco will pitch SalesPreneur, an entrepreneurial sales company. Greco, who is the company’s president and CEO, developed the company after spending a night giving advice to a friend who also worked in sales.
“I just suggested he try this, say that, say this,” Greco said, explaining how coaching comes naturally to him. “At one point he turned to me and told me I should write a book.”
Greco’s appearance on “Shark Tank” has been more than a year in the making.
Originally, producers had expressed interest in having Greco pitch SalesPreneur to the panel last year, but all the openings had been filled, he said. After not hearing anything for more than a year, Greco received a phone call from ABC producers reiterating their interest and asking if he would still like to appear on the show.
“I jumped back online, filled out a form, and submitted a quick video and next thing I knew I was on a plane to L.A.,” he said.
More than 35,000 people applied, and only 100 were flown to California, Greco said. Of those 100, 50 were sent home.
“It may seem intimidating, but to us it was second nature,” Greco said, explaining the initial interview process. The producers told Greco not to change a thing.
The next day, because of a scheduling mix-up, Greco was forced to present in front of a panel of highly successful entrepreneurs that included Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Daymond John, owner of the clothing company, FUBU, and Barbara Corcoran, a real estate mogul.
“When someone finally came to get me, they told me that the panel was hungry and worn out from a day of interviews and asked me if I wanted to come back tomorrow,” Greco recalled. “I told them I hadn’t come all this way only to ‘maybe’ be able to present tomorrow. I said ‘put me in that room right now’ and started heading for the door.” The panel pelted Greco with questions for more than two hours.
“Most pitches only lasted five or 10 minutes,” Greco said.
According to Greco, “Shark Tank” producers estimate the show has an average of six to seven million viewers, not including Internet views or social media hits. Previous contestants said that after episodes in which they appeared aired, they experienced over 800,000 website visits. According to PRNewswire, the season premiere attracted 6.3 million viewers, the highest in the history of the show.
“We’re gearing up our servers now to deal with the expected increase in traffic,” Greco said. “There really is no way to pay for this type of publicity.”
The episode on which Greco is scheduled to appear will air on Friday, Jan. 27 at 8 p.m.
After graduating from Bryant College in Smithfield, R.I. in 2000, Greco began working for a software company based in Dublin, Ireland. After marrying his high school sweetheart and deciding to settle down, Greco and his wife moved back to North Haven. Greco established SalesPreneur, currently located at 3000 Whitney Ave., in Hamden.
Prior to establishing SalesPreneur, Greco began working for Automatic Data Processing, where his sales strength began to shine.
“While working at ADP, I discovered I have a skill set that no one else has. I’m good at selling and that’s what I like to do.” It was that ability to sell coupled with his passion for coaching that lead him to make SalesPreneur a reality, not as a book, but as a company that currently consists of Greco and 10 other employees, and has plans to expand.
Despite the success of SalesPreneur, Greco said he is excited about completing his MBA at Quinnipiac and said that though the benefits of the degree may not be immediate, or may appear indirectly in future successes, it’s been on his bucket list for quite some time.
“Having those letters at the end of your name never hurts,” Greco said with a chuckle. He also said that it is a step he needs to take in order to continue to share his passion for coaching. “In order to teach at the college level, you need to have a master’s degree. It’s not something I want to start doing tomorrow, but it’s definitely something I can see myself doing in the future.”
Categories: School of Business and Engineering