Power Players

Barbara Corcoran says 90% of her 'Shark Tank' investments don't make her money—here's why she doesn't regret any of them

Sharks Daymond John (left), Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Kevin O'Leary, Lori Greiner and Robert Herjavec on ABC's "Shark Tank" season 14 premiere.
Christopher Willard | Disney General Entertainment Content | Getty Images

Barbara Corcoran doesn't want to hear your startup pitches outside of ABC's "Shark Tank."

It's not because her friends and strangers on the street have unrealistic business ideas, Corcoran recently told Barstool's "Chicks in the Office" podcast. Rather, it's because only one in every 10 of her "Shark Tank" investments actually earns a profit, she said.

"I've invested in 150 businesses, and I've made money on about 10%," Corcoran said, adding with a laugh: "The minute someone's opening their mouth, I feel like I've got a 90% chance of losing another $100,000 here. Do I really want to listen?"

Because of the high-risk nature of investing, the 74-year-old said she only pulls out her wallet for a select few "Shark Tank" pitches. She's seldom impressed by products and services, but can be wooed by the business owners themselves, she added.

"The No. 1 trait I'm looking for [is] ambition," Corcoran said. "Someone who envisions where they're going, and I fall for it when they tell me they're going there."

She's not the only "Shark Tank" investor who feels that way. Some of Mark Cuban's investment offers on the show are more about helping promising entrepreneurs than making money off the deals, he wrote on Twitter last year.

"I'm good with that with my 'Shark Tank' companies," Cuban wrote. "I don't do the show to get the best investments. And I don't always invest because I think I'll make money. Sometimes my deals are purely to help someone or send a message."

Corcoran has a lower self-estimated success rate than Cuban: One in four of Cuban's deals "have done really well or crushed it," he told he told a Denver ABC affiliate last year.

Still, Corcoran said her "buy the entrepreneur" strategy works well for startups, which often need to redo their entire business model in their early days.

If her instincts are accurate about the people running the business, the deal will eventually succeed financially, she said. If her instincts are off, and she misses out on investing in someone who goes on to be successful, she doesn't have regrets, she added.

"I'm not the type of person that cries about that kind of stuff," she said. "It's such a waste of time. I'd rather look forward and find somebody else."

Disclosure: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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Barbara Corcoran: Don't diversify your investments
Barbara Corcoran: Don't diversify your investments