Before digging in, let‘s start with a quick overview of "Mr. Wonderful" himself:
|Full Name||Terence Thomas Kevin O‘Leary|
|Born||July 9, 1954 (age 68)|
|Birthplace||Montreal, Quebec, Canada|
|Residence||Toronto, Ontario, Canada|
|Alma mater||University of Western Ontario (MBA)|
|Occupation||Businessman, Investor, Television Personality|
|Net worth||$400 million (estimated)|
|Spouse||Linda O‘Leary (1990-present)|
|Social||Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube|
As a boy growing up in Montreal, Kevin O‘Leary learned the spirit of entrepreneurship from his mother Georgette, who ran a small business from home. From selling chocolate bars and delivering newspapers, young Kevin was constantly seeking new ways to make money. After business school, he launched Special Event Television, a production company that marked O‘Leary‘s entry into the TV world. When he later sold that venture to software giant The Learning Company, it proved to be his big break, landing him millions in profit. But it was the hit show Shark Tank that truly propelled O‘Leary to fame as the blunt, outspoken investor "Mr. Wonderful."
Getting Bit by the Business Bug
O‘Leary‘s passion for business goes back to his childhood…
O‘Leary‘s Journey from TV Producer to Shark Tank Fame
After graduating from the University of Western Ontario‘s business school in 1980, O‘Leary launched Special Event Television (SET), a TV production company that created sports shows and other programs. When SET was acquired by The Learning Company in 1995 for $3.2 million, O‘Leary was given a 3-year contract to continue running the division. This big break put O‘Leary on the path to wealth and notoriety, eventually leading him to a starring role on Shark Tank years later. As producer Mark Burnett once said, "Kevin was a natural fit for Shark Tank because of his business prowess and astute ability to smell out strong entrepreneurs and good investments."
Investing in Future Success Stories
Over his tenure on Shark Tank, O‘Leary has invested hundreds of thousands in dozens of promising startups. Some of his biggest success stories include Talbott Teas (later sold for $5 million), GrooveBook (acquired by Shutterfly for $14.5 million), and Copa Di Vino (which achieved over $15 million in sales). As O‘Leary says, "I‘m investing in the person first, the idea second." Here are a few other of his most profitable Shark Tank deals:
- Plated pet food company (invested $500k)
- Maine lobster roll food truck (invested $55k)
- LuminAID solar inflatable lights (invested $200k)
O‘Leary‘s Keys to Business Success
When aspiring entrepreneurs ask O‘Leary for advice, he emphasizes…
Surprising Facts About the Shark Tank Star
- O‘Leary considers Mark Cuban his biggest rival among the Shark Tank cast members. The two have engaging spats whenever they compete for the same deal.
- His first date with now wife Linda was a game of pool, which she beat him in. O‘Leary credits Linda‘s branding skills for boosting his career.
- An avid photographer, O‘Leary loves capturing photos on his travels. His favorite subjects are marine life and landscapes.
- Contrary to his fearsome reputation, O‘Leary is quite charming in person and enjoys talking to fans who approach him.
Giving Back Through Philanthropy
While known as a tough-minded businessman, O‘Leary does have a soft side when it comes to charitable giving. He‘s an active philanthropist who advises investors to donate a portion of their returns to worthy causes. Some of the key charities and non-profits O‘Leary and his family foundations support include:
- Street Kids International
- World Vision Canada
- St. Paul‘s Hospital Foundation
The Bottom Line on Mr. Wonderful
Kevin O‘Leary is an engaging personality, shrewd investor, and outspoken businessman who has become one of the most popular stars of Shark Tank. While he‘s blunt in his assessments, O‘Leary has an eye for solid investments and driving companies to success. His keys to prosperity lie in discipline, savvy financial management, and spotting talented entrepreneurs – advice he eagerly shares. Love him or hate him, "Mr. Wonderful" has proven himself an undeniable force in the business world.