Kevin O’Leary is one of the so-called sharks on ABC’s Shark Tank, a show in which several investors allow entrepreneurs the opportunity to present their million-dollar ideas in the hopes of a little financial help. Nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful,” O’Leary is often outspoken and combative, both with his fellow sharks and the presenters before him.
“Kevin O’Leary: I was born dreaming about money. I came out of the womb thinking ‘cash flow’; that’s exactly what happened. It’s been on my mind since my first breath. And that’s the way it should be for everybody: Money is your friend from the day you are born to the day you die,” he told CNBC in August.
Kevin O’Leary Net Worth: $400 Million
Kevin O’Leary has a net worth of $400 million, as estimated by Investopedia. He earns money from Shark Tank and from dozens of various investments. He has also co-founded a few companies, including Softkey, and has a decent income stream from those venues as well.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’s Invested More Than $8.5 Million Across 100+ Episodes of ‘Shark Tank’
Sharkalytics, a website that offers a statistical analysis of Shark Tank, reports that O’Leary invested in 40 deals over the course of 131 episodes of the show. Those 40 deals came out of being presented with 531 pitches during those 131 episodes, giving O’Leary an 8 percent rate of investment across that span.
According to Sharkalytics’ stats, O’Leary’s invested more than $8.5 million, with an average investment is $213,575. His largest investment, $2.5 million, got him a 10 percent stake in Zipz, which produces single-serve portions of wine, beer, and spirits. His smallest investment was $25,000, which garnered him a 17 percent stake in Paparazzi Proposals, a company which offers proposal photography services.
O’Leary’s average stake in a company is 17 percent. On two occasions, he’s taken a 50 percent stake in the company in which he’s invested; in Season 5, Episode 6, for a $200,000 investment in Total Merchant Resources and in Episode 11 of Season 7, for a $225,000 investment in GeekMyTree.
Twenty-six of O’Leary’s 40 deals (65 percent) have been in conjunction with another shark, most frequently with Robert Herjavec (15 deals).
2. He’s Known for Doing the Biggest Deal in ‘Shark Tank’ History During Season 6
As reported above, O’Leary’s largest investment was a $2.5 million deal for a 10 percent stake in Zipz, a packaging company that produces single-serve portions of wine, beer, and spirits. But it wasn’t just the biggest deal for “Mr. Wonderful.”
“O’Leary is also famous for pulling off the largest deal in ‘Shark Tank’ history, a season six agreement with the single-serve wine company Zipz. The company’s founder, Andrew McMurray, agreed to his $2.5 million offer in exchange for 10% equity of the company. O’Leary says he expects Zipz to completely revolutionize the beverage market,” Investopedia reported in August.
McMurray wasn’t the first person to pitch a single-serving wine product to the sharks. In fact, the man who did it first was also the first person to turn down a deal on the show twice.
“Part of the reason Copa Di Vino’s [James] Martin, who’s in the same business, is remembered by the Sharks as “obnoxious” and frustrating is that he was unwilling to pursue licensing deals. Zipz Wine, on the other hand, is looking to supplement its own wine offerings with major licensing deals,” Business Insider reported in 2014.
3. He Co-Founded O’Leary Funds & SoftKey & He Acquired The Learning Company, Selling it to Mattel for $3.7 Billion in 1999
O’Leary sold his shares of Special Event Television, a company he co-founded, and took out a loan from his mother in 1986 in order to form a new company, SoftKey Software Products. But this venture was no easy path to riches.
“Back when I was first starting SoftKey Software Products Inc., I found myself in a financial predicament after an investor who’d promised $250,000 pulled the plug at the eleventh hour. In our optimism, we’d already hired staff to support a potential growth spurt. Now with no investor, I had no way of covering payroll. How could I have left our company in such a vulnerable position?” O’Leary told Business Insider in 2015.
It was then that O’Leary asked his mother for a $10,000 loan. Life was lean for O’Leary for a number of years. According to Nuvo Magazine, he and his new wife, Linda Greer, served pizza at their 1989 wedding reception and he faced bankruptcy more than once. But his company began to absorb competitors, including The Learning Company, a name with which SoftKey rebranded.
“In 1999, the company, now renamed the Learning Company, was itself swallowed by Mattel. Price: $4.2-billion (U.S.),” Nuvo reported in 2010.
4. He Offered to Invest $1 Million in the Economy of Alberta, Canada, if Premier Rachel Notley Agreed to Resign
O’Leary’s brashness isn’t just restricted to his Shark Tank persona. He’s more than willing to talk a big game in the political arena, in light of his maneuvering the past few years.
“O’Leary raised eyebrows this week with his offer to invest a million dollars in Alberta’s oilpatch if NDP Premier Rachel Notley stepped aside,” CBC reported in January 2016.
During that time, O’Leary was testing the waters for a political run, potentially to head Canada’s Conservative Party, rivaling Notley’s New Democratic Party. In January 2017, he did just that, throwing his hat in the ring for party leadership. In April, he dropped out of the race.
“O’Leary was widely seen as the front-runner in the race, but he doesn’t believe he will be able to win a federal election because of a lack of support in Quebec,” the National Post reported at the time.
5. He’s the Author of 3 Best-Selling Books
It’s no secret O’Leary is forthright in offering his opinion, perhaps even when he’s not asked for it. It should come as no surprise that his foray into publishing comes with a flourish of the same candor and outspokenness.
O’Leary’s published his first book, Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money & Life, in September 2011. The book is a memoir in which he “shares invaluable secrets on entrepreneurship, business, money, and life.”
Nearly three years later, O’Leary put out his second book, with a similarly blunt title. Cold Hard Truth On Men, Women, and Money: 50 Common Money Mistakes and How to Fix Them is described as being “Full of valuable advice imparted in a no-nonsense manner, this book will have a profound effect on how people relate to and manage their money,” by Publisher’s Weekly.
The very next year, O’Leary published his third book, perhaps with a more delicate touch: Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids, and Money. The book’s description reads “Entrepreneur, TV celebrity, and money expert Kevin O Leary, provides you with a clear, no-nonsense personal finance guide that will help you build a secure future for yourself and for the ones you love.”