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About Mark

Guest Shark on Shark Tank, Bestselling Author, ‘Burn the Boats’

Matt Higgins is a noted serial entrepreneur and growth equity investor as Cofounder & CEO of private investment firm, RSE Ventures. He’s also Host/Executive Producer of a new CNBC series “Business Hunters” (premiering this Fall) and is an Executive Fellow at the Harvard Business School where he co-teaches the course, “Moving Beyond Direct-to-Consumer.” His first book, “Burn The Boats,” was published by Harper Collins William Morrow in 2023. Higgins’ deep operating experience spans multiple industries over his 25-year career, which he draws upon to help founders navigate complex situations in order to reach their full potential.

Higgins began his career in public service as a journalist before becoming the youngest mayoral press secretary in New York City at 26, where he managed the global media response to the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. He then became one of the first employees – and ultimately Chief Operating Officer – of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, the federally funded government agency created to rebuild the World Trade Center site. Higgins helped organize the largest international design competition in history culminating in Reflecting Absence, the September 11th National Memorial, and the development of the 1,776-feet-tall One World Trade Center, the tallest building in the northern hemisphere.

Higgins has deep experience in sports, having spent 15 years in senior leadership positions with National Football League teams. He made his mark with two NFL franchises, overseeing the revenue functions of the New York Jets as Executive Vice President of Business Operations, and after leaving the Jets, serving as Vice Chairman of the Miami Dolphins from 2012 – 2021. Higgins cofounded New York City-based RSE Ventures in 2012 alongside developer Stephen M. Ross, amassing a multi-billion-dollar investment portfolio of leading brands across sports and entertainment, media and marketing, food and lifestyle, and technology industries. NYC’s iconic Magnolia Bakery is one of the latest additions to a portfolio that includes David Chang’s renowned culinary brand, Momofuku, and Australian-inspired hospitality/lifestyle brand, Bluestone Lane.

RSE has successfully backed many challenger brands from inception, including RESY, an Open Table competitor that American Express acquired in 2019; the Drone Racing League, which was named among Fast Company’s 10 Most Innovative Sports Companies; and Relevent Sports, the leading international soccer agency in the US. Higgins was the first client and ultimately only partner in VaynerMedia, the largest social-media first agency in the world founded by Gary Vaynerchuk – recently named Adweek’s 2022 Breakthrough Media Agency of the Year and ranked #5 on Ad Age’s 2022 Agency A-List.

Higgins’ reputation as a self-made serial entrepreneur earned him a spot as a recurring guest Shark on the Emmy award-winning TV show Shark Tank during seasons 10 and 11. In 2019, he received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, joining the ranks of seven former US presidents, Nobel Prize winners and other leaders for work to improve society. He is also a longstanding board member of Autism Speaks, advocating for scientific research and greater acceptance of neurodiversity. Mr. Higgins received his Bachelor of Arts in political science and honorary doctorate from Queens College and his J.D. from Fordham Law, where he was a member of the Fordham Law Review.

Mark in Action

“Thank you for gracing us with your participation at our Gala and helping to make the evening a resounding success. What a gift it was to have you there to present. Thank you for sharing your story – everyone in the room was profoundly moved by your words. It was an honor to meet you.”

National Dance Institute

“Matt Higgins was very well spoken and he spoke from his heart. I won’t forget his words anytime soon. Our post-event survey responses on Matt have all been 5 star! He really connected with the audience, and with the community. The energy in the room was vibrant! Matt was outstanding.”
Greater Scranton Chamber of Commerce

“Matt was a hit!!!!!”
Speech Topics

Shark Tales

It’s not about where you began; it’s where you end up, and how much distance you covered. Dropping out of high school is not the typical path to success, but when growing up on government cheese, with the responsibility of caring for his sick mother, Matt was forced to think differently. Matt shares the lessons he learned from his humble beginnings, working for Mayor Rudy Giuliani during 9/11, and as a young sports executive that led him to earn a seat as a Shark.

Investing in Entrepreneurs: How to Identify Opportunity

With an eye towards innovation, Matt has led investments in companies including Momofuku, MilkBar, the Drone Racing League, Resy, Bluestone Lane, and VaynerMedia. By examining the people behind the brand, to see the true vision ahead, Matt helps describe what successful investing can look like.

Burn the Boats: Toss Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential

How does a high school dropout end up as a shark on Shark Tank, the most popular business show in the world? By burning the boats and leaving no option for retreat, just as outnumbered military generals have done since the beginning of time, from the ancient Israelites to Chinese warlords in 207 BC, Sun Tzu to President Zelensky in 2022. In a speech that leaves audiences ready to run through walls, Matt Higgins shares how his embrace of this ancient philosophy as a teenager set the stage for a life straight out of a Dickens novel. From his new national best-selling book Burn the Boats, Higgins draws upon science, history, and psychology to prove what fabled military leaders across every culture intuitively understood for thousands of years: when everything is on the line, humans actually perform at their best when they have less options. Matt will explore the research that proves that the mere contemplation of Plan B statistically reduces the probability Plan A will ever materialize; how to retrain your brain to become your greatest ally; why you don’t need a revolutionary invention to launch a breakthrough business; how to overcome the internal and external forces that impede risk-taking so you can confidently pursue radical change; and the types of corporate saboteurs who are standing in the way of your ambition.