Best known for his appearance on American business reality show Shark Tank, Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of US$4.5 billion, according to Forbes. The billionaire entrepreneur made his fortune from investing in Shark Tank projects, owning the Dallas Mavericks NBA team and more.
Here’s how Cuban is using his billions to change the world.
He literally bought a little area of the world
Cuban helped out a friend in 2021 by purchasing the city of Mustang, Texas, for US$2 million, according to Dallas Morning News. With a population of only 23 people, the place was originally on sale for US$4 million, but was priced too high for the top bidder. Cuban ended up handing over the cash, but admitted to the paper he has no idea what he’ll do with the city – which up until he put his name on it in a Schitt’s Creek-style purchase, was infamous for a murder filmed at a hotel in 2008.
He’s making health care more affordable for Americans
Mark Cuban launched Cost Plus Pharmacy recently and has lowered the price of many life-saving prescription medications while he’s at it. Cuban – whose mother recently died after a battle with cancer – has helped leukaemia patients pay for medication that was more than 100 times the price at his online pharmacy, and he plans to take over the market.
— Jay Arnold (@jadedcreative) February 1, 2022
While prices can get huge mark-ups by middlemen including insurance companies and government regulators, the businessman offers the medication at cost plus a 15 per cent mark-up.
He’s championing small businesses
Cuban has changed the lives of many Shark Tank contestants, and alongside fellow judges Barbara Corcoran and Lori Greiner, has invested in some of the top-earning businesses to come from the show. However, his recent stint on the 13th season of the programme has shown how he’s impacting small businesses today.
Banana Loca founders Renee Heath and Bechara Jaoudeh drew the interest of Cuban and Kevin O’Leary with their gadgets that fill bananas with delights such as chocolate spread while they are still unpeeled inside their skins. The item – which costs US$28.99 – has attracted some criticism from people who claim it’s pointless, but it seems that the “sharks” were onto something, as sales increased 100-fold for the business. The owners expected to get less than 10,000 orders after the episode aired, but were surprised when they received tens of thousands, according to Philadelphia Business Journal.
The billionaire also gave a 19-year-old Tania Speaks a US$400,000 deal for her skincare brand, Tania Speaks Organic Skincare, on the show this season and even invited her to meet his two daughters so they could learn from each other.
He’s even a cryptocurrency influencer
The shark recently admitted on The Problem With Jon Stewart podcast that 80 per cent of his investments aren’t from the show and are in fact cryptocurrency-related. He shared that he prefers to invest in decentralised autonomous organizations (DAOs) where changes to rules must be voted on by its members.
One cryptocurrency project he’s proven to be a major influencer in is non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Online gambling company Time2Play conducted a survey among about 1,000 people, which revealed that Cuban is the go-to personality to watch when it comes to digital collectibles among Gen X and millennials, and he ranks third among Gen Z.
Cuban has been educating amateurs about cryptocurrency on social media and empowering beginners with the knowledge to make smart investments. The businessman also said on the podcast that he believes the cryptocurrency world has big potential and compared it to how the internet was on the verge of blowing up decades ago, adding, “it’s 1995 right now” for cryptocurrency.
Just In: Mark Cuban has announced a $100,000 donation to the Dallas Education Foundation to support #DallasISD students and teachers impacted by the recent storm.
👏👏👏👏#DallasISDStrong @mcuban @mphav pic.twitter.com/PrJqUNzEP0
— Dallas ISD (@dallasschools) October 24, 2019
He’s helping underprivileged children
Cuban is known for investing in mission-based companies, including one that provides lighting to disaster areas and a maternal health care company. The 63-year-old continues that mission with his Mark Cuban Foundation, which has provided free introduction, such as AI boot camps at schools in underprivileged communities, and established the Fallen Patriot Fund that helps spouses and families of those who were killed or seriously injured in military service.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.