Billionaire Investor Comes to Gainesville, Throws Entrepreneurs into the "Shark Tank"
Published January 21st, 2014
GAINESVILLE -- Gainesville is known as a town of innovation -- but on Monday night, those innovators were "thrown to the sharks" in an event inspired by the popular TV show "Shark Tank."
Billionaire Kanwal Rekhi -- a venture capitalist who's invested his own fortune in dozens of start-up companies -- made a stop in Gainesville Monday where he served as "the shark" in the Gainesville Area Innovation Network's "So You Think You Can Pitch a Billionaire" event.
Rekhi, who's heard hundreds of pitches while traveling the world, says the most important thing he looks for in a pitch is the person -- not necessarily an idea.
"I normally look at the person, and say, you know, how is he thinking?" said Rekhi. "How is he presenting? Does he have a good sense of economics, does he have a good sense of the marketplace," he said.
One by one, entrepreneurs from Gainesville "stepped into the tank" to present their ideas to the billionaire -- everything ranging from innovative smartphone apps to lifesaving motorcycle helmets.
While there were no "winners and losers" at the event, Rekhi did get contact info from each of the entries, leaving the door open to possible investments in the future.
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