By Jonathan Sperling
A Queens native has gone from Bayside to the ‘Shark Tank.’
Matthew Higgins, the CEO and co-founder of sports and entertainment investing firm RSE Ventures, made an appearance on ABC’s “Shark Tank” as a guest investor during its Sunday night episode. The show features a series of entrepreneurs who must quickly pitch their product to a panel of investors, a.k.a. Sharks, with the hope that the latter chooses to invest.
Higgins graduated from Queens College in 1998 before going on to work for former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani in City Hall, AMNY reported.
"The idea that you have 60 minutes or less to figure out does this person have what it takes to be successful is pretty extraordinary,” tweeted Higgins, who is also the vice chairman of the Miami Dolphins.
Higgins happened to witness one of the most emotional product pitches in the show’s ten seasons: the Cup Board Pro, a unique take on the common cupboard invented by FDNY firefighter Keith Young, who passed away from cancer related to his work at Ground Zero following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Young was also a chef who was twice crowned champion of Food Network’s “Chopped.” Young’s children — Kaley, Christian, and Keira — were on set to pitch their father’s product.
The Young family’s presentation particularly resonated with Higgins, who served as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s press secretary at the time of the attacks.
“I was at ground zero on 9/11, spent two years there during the cleanup working with the city,” Higgins said after the pitch. “I met a lot of brave people like your dad and a lot of people who lost their lives, so it's great that you're doing this.”
In a rare resolution for the show, each of the five Sharks, including Higgins, offered a total of $100,000 to the Youngs for a 20 percent stake in the company. The Sharks also pledged that any profit made from their 20 percent stake would go toward charity for firefighters that have become ill from 9/11-related work.