Media mogul, producer, and king of comedy Steve Harvey is not your average investor. In a rare interview about how he approaches venture capitalism, the ever-busy funnyman says he approaches investing in companies in a non-traditional manner.
Harvey, with an estimated net worth of $200 million to $280 million, leads primarily with personal connection over profit potentiality. Harvey reportedly earns $20 million annually from “The Steve Harvey Morning Show” and $10 million per year hosting “Family Feud.” He’s also published several books, and in 2014 he launched the dating site Delightful in a joint venture with IAC. In 2017 Harvey launched Steven Harvey Global (SHG), an umbrella company for all his business ventures, according to Celebrity Net Worth. He also has several real estate holdings.
In a “Market Monday” segment interview with Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings from the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast, the go-to A-lister says he uses personal considerations when looking at new partners, because character matters.
He said, “I sort of have a little different approach than most people, kind of nontraditional. First of all, I have to like you.”
He continued, “I’m at a point in my life where I don’t want to be in business with people I don’t like. I ain’t got to.” He explained why a compromised character will disrupt his business flow.
“You gotta be a good person, a decent person,” he continues. “You could be you got the best idea in the world, but, man, if you’re not you’re not a good person. I ain’t got no time for that.”
Taking Investment Risks
When it comes to investing, either you are in all the way or you’re out, according to Harvey who addressed the risks of investing.
“A scared man can’t win,” said Harvey. “You know you in Vegas betting a dollar…and it hit, you get $35. Now, if it missed, you only lose a dollar. Well, that’s how people look at investments…It work just like in Vegas–the more you put out there, the more you get back.”
He explained how his philosophy of investing changed over time. “So I would invest more freely [now], more often. I really would because I didn’t as a young man. I was so concerned with accumulating but, see, once you accumulate you have it in here and you close your fist that’s all you got. You double, quadruple when you open it.”
He reminded the hosts that while there is risk in investing more, the rewards can be higher.
“Now…you run the risk of it being taken and falling out but that’s the risk, that’s life,” he shared. “You don’t get to be successful without risk, you just don’t. I’m sorry, you don’t get to be successful without chances so investing, man, is a smart way to do it it. Investing grows your money quicker than anything.”
Working doesn’t reap the same financial rewards as investing, advised Harvey
“You can’t work that many jobs…your job is to work to make the money and then you got to get your money to work for you.”
For Harvey, while integrity and congeniality matters, you still have to come to the table with something that no one has ever done, or at least a concept to make the process be done quicker or more efficient, saying, “The best way to make money is to be the first, the best or the only.”
As an investor, Harvey stated he also looks for businesses that “intrigue” him and “fulfilling a need,” as “need creates a lot of inventions.”
The world is used to Harvey as a personality on the big and small screen, checking for him on his multiple talk shows in syndication, game shows, or all-around family-friendly movies and television shows. However, his business portfolio is diverse, with entertainment being the largest portion of his investments.
United underneath his umbrella company SHG are production ventures like East One Twelve, his in-house production house that owns the rights to the international version of “Family Feud” and produced programming like “Think Like a Man,” “Little Big Shots,” and “Little Big Shots: Forever Young,” among others.
He also owns experience ventures called “The Sand and Soul Festival ” and Harvey Events, which produced the 2018 FroRibbean Fest in Atlanta. In the apparel world, he has manufactured and licensed everything from his signature suits to hats to accessories that are available in major department stores and boutiques across the nation.
And to make sure that he is not the only one at the top, he produces the Vault Empowerment conferences designed to give future leaders, entrepreneurs, and corporate visionaries the tools to access industry, and Harvey Ventures invests in companies and people focused on technology, education, and entertainment.
But he doesn’t make the decision to go forward with these brands and businesses alone. He has a team to help him vet new ideas.
Vetting is Essential
At this stage in his career, Harvey says everyone has a new idea that they want him to support.
While he has good instincts on what will work in his business ecology, he leaves the vetting and deep diving to his team.
Harvey shared with the business coaches, “I turn it over to my team, because I’m not really that smart when it comes to that.”
He explains, “I have guys like you mentioned to Thabiti Stephens [the company’s CSO], Brandon Williams [legal], and Chris Dale. I have a team of people that I put on projects who are experts at researching, finding out market value, getting the story behind you, and then running these background checks. Once my team vets it and then brings it back to me with their recommendations, I usually listen to the recommendation.”
But, Harvey maintains, he is always having the final word and moves from his gut. He says of his close to a quarter-million-dollar empire, “Sometimes I go with my heart, which I ain’t never been wrong.”