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5 Questions With: Karla Berman, Shark Tank Mexico

Alumna Karla Berman, a recent ‘shark’ on the show, discusses what she looks for in entrepreneurs.
Image of Karla Berman
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How did you get involved in becoming a 'shark' on Shark Tank Mexico?

I have been involved in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Mexico for many years in many capacities – as a founder, an operator, an angel investor, a mentor, and as part of several VCs. At the same time, I have always been fascinated by the media world and have had a few stints working in front of and behind the camera. But in the end, like many things in life, my involvement is due to a few lucky coincidences. In this case in particular, I was starting a sabbatical and knew the producer, who in turn was looking for some new ‘sharks’ who had been professional investors. It was a great project for me to do this year!

What are your criteria for selecting start-ups or entrepreneurs to invest in? What are your red flags?

Because of my background I tend to be more excited about projects that are highly scalable and are tech-related. Software, marketplaces, and e-commerce-related stuff excites me because there are so many opportunities in Latin America in this regard and the technology adoption is here.

In addition, I love consumer products that have a strong digital marketing component as part of their foundation.

Red flags are usually related to founders who are too in love with themselves.

Are there specific industries or trends that you are excited about right now?

I am excited about Latin America-based problems that can be solved only with deep knowledge about our region or similar regions.  Specifically, consumer-centric products that use technology to solve very real problems, and tech-enabled solutions to help small businesses run more efficiently.

Do you have any tips or strategies to share for entrepreneurs to effectively pitch to investors?

  • Know the problem better than anyone but don't make me suffer through the calculations that you did
  • Show traction! Nothing beats showing that there are early signs that your solution can actually solve the problem you are tackling
  • Know your numbers!
  • Talk about the dynamic between the team members. It's great to know where the team members worked and went to school but I also like understanding what brought you and keeps you together.

What's your favorite "only at McKinsey" memory?

The BA retreats! Being surrounded by fellow BAs showing each other cool Excel tips (I still use most of them) and having fun while doing that and then hanging out until late at night with your smartest and most hard-working friends is something I will never forget!

Also, I was part of a team in a grocery store chain and was in charge of the bakery optimization. To this day, when I visit that store, I recognize some of the work we did back then and it's awesome to see that what we worked on 15 years ago is still used.