In January, Yale MBA Shaan Patel went onto ABC’s “Shark Tank,” a reality TV show in which entrepreneurs pitch their companies to investors, and traded 20% of his SAT prep company to billionaire Mark Cuban for $250,000.
Cuban, owner of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, is one of the investors, or “sharks,” on the show and was the only one to make Patel an offer. But that connection led to more than one big deal. Now Patel and Cuban are co-writing a children’s book, which they plan to release in the fall.
Patel’s company, Prep Expert (formerly 2400 Expert), started as an SAT prep book that Patel wrote after receiving a perfect score on his own SAT. The book was rejected by several publishers, so Patel designed a course to accompany it. Now there are several books, and Prep Expert has classes in 20 cities.
Before his episode on “Shark Tank” aired, Patel said he was equally excited about the possibility of investment and publicity and networking opportunities that might emerge from his participation on the show. He got his investment, and the publicity appears to have made a significant impact on the company. Prep Expert has since enrolled thousands and boosted its revenue by five times over last year.
‘A YOUNG TONY ROBBINS’
But a comment from Mark Cuban gave him something else, too. “He said, ‘I see a young Tony Robbins,’” Patel says. “And he said he thought I was more than just test prep. He inspired me to write something beyond high school and exams.”
Patel recently graduated from Yale SOM. A dual MD/MBA student, he has one year to go for his medical degree at the University of Southern California. Now he has begun to establish himself as a writer as well as an entrepreneur.
Shortly after “Shark Tank,” Patel published a self-help book titled Self-Made Success: Ivy League Shark Tank Entrepreneur Reveals 48 Secret Strategies to Live Happier, Healthier, and Wealthier. Now he’s onto his next book, co-authored with Cuban — and it couldn’t be any different. How Any Kid Can Start A Business will target 4th- to 6th- grade students.
“They’re just getting started, and they’re having their first ideas about what they want to be when they grow up,” Patel says. Many elementary-age students are told to aspire to be doctors or lawyers; he wishes they were also encouraged to be entrepreneurs — and he hopes his book will start to change this.