Herjavec was born in 1962 in Varaždin, Croatia and grew up in the city of Zbjeg. In 1970, at the age of eight, the family left the country, which had previously incarcerated Herjavec's father for speaking out against the Socialist Republic of Croatia's regime. Herjavec's family arrived in Halifax, Canada with a single suitcase and only around $20.
The family soon moved to Toronto, Canada where his father got a job in a factory making $76 dollars a week. Herjavec struggled to learn English after moving to Canada, and felt like an outsider and was made fun of in school because of his low economic status. This is one of the reasons that Herjavec has been willing to work hard as an adult. Hervajec gained admission to New College at the University of Toronto where he graduated with a degree in English literature and political science.
University of Toronto New College
After graduating from college Herjavec took on a variety of minimum wage jobs in the 1990's to help support his family such as waiting tables, delivering newspapers, retail salesman, and collection agent. Herjavec's first career was in film at a young age. He moved behind the camera in various production roles. Herjavec worked in several productions as a 3rd assistant director including Cain and Abel and The Return of Billy Jack. His film career reached a climax with the position of Field Producer of the XIV Winter Olympic Games in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina for Global TV where he was given an honor as one of the youngest producers of Olympic coverage.
Looking for work in between productions, Herjavec applied for a position at Logiquest a company that sold IBM mainframe emulation boards. He was extremely underqualified for the position, but convinced the company to give it to him by offering to work for free for six months. To pay the rent during this free period, Herjavec waited tables. He soon became general manager of Logiquest. In 1990, after being fired from Logiquest,he founded his first company, BRAK Systems, a Canadian integrator of Internet security software, from the basement of his home. He went on to sell BRAK Systems to AT&T Canada in March 2000 for $30.2 million.
After a three-year retirement as a stay-at-home father to his three children, Herjavec founded Herjavec Group in 2003, a security solutions integrator, reseller and managed service provider, of which he is currently the CEO. Herjavec Group is one of Canada's fastest-growing technology companies and the country's biggest IT security provider, Herjavec Group has grown from three employees in 2003 to 150 employees as of 2013, and sales from $400K in 2003 to over $125 million in 2012.
The Herjavec Group started out by providing the same services as many other cyber security companies. One thing that set them apart was great customer service. Instead of a voice automated support system they always had customers speak to a real person. Robert Herjavec sought the support of many trusted professionals in the cyber security sector to help The Herjavec Group compete against their competitors and become a leader in their field.
Herjavec used several different entrepreneurial strategies such as providing a better service, and improving a process to create Herjavec Group. He combined several different elements of existing cyber security companies to streamline the process of cyber security. He set out to provide cyber security for both individuals and businesses. Herjavec group combined software technology from smaller companies by buying the rights to integrate their programs to strengthen their security system. Herjavec group also combined information storage security, incident response, and support from certified cyber security professionals to better cover all the elements of making cyber security solutions easy to set up and use.
Herjavec married Diane Plese in 1990. They separated in July 2014 and divorced in early 2016. He and his ex-wife have two daughters, Caprice and Skye, and a son named Brendan.
Herjavec is an avid golfer and runner. He has played in the 2010 Canadian charity open sponsored by RBC at the St. George’s Golf club, and has ran in the 2011 New York marathon and the 2010 Miami marathon. He is also a certified SCUBA diver and enjoys driving in the Ferarri North American challenge series with his racing team.