Kevin O’Leary is a renowned businessman, investor, and television personality. He rose to fame as a main cast member on CBC’s Dragons’ Den and ABC’s Shark Tank. O’Leary’s most popular business venture is founding SoftKey. As of 2023, Kevin O’Leary has a net worth of $400 million. This makes him the second richest cast member on Shark Tank with billionaire Mark Cuban topping the list.
Terence Thomas Kevin O’Leary was born on July 9, 1954 and is one of two sons of Georgette and Terry O’Leary. His birthplace is Quebec, Canada, and he was raised by entrepreneurial parents but they divorced when he was a child.
After Kevin’s biological father died from alcoholism, his mother worked as a small business executive. Georgette later tied the knot with a United Nations employee, which let their family travel the world. Around this time, Georgette was quietly building up an investment portfolio.
He never revealed it until he was reading her will when she passed away. And through this, young Kevin learned about the importance of investing for the long term. Mr. Wonderful studied psychology and environmental studies at the University of Waterloo and got an MBA from the Ivey Business School.
O’Leary had an internship at Nabisco and served as an assistant brand manager for the corporation’s cat food line while pursuing an MBA in 1979. After this, he had a short stint co-founding Special Event Television (SET).
He sold his equity in SET and started a software company in 1986. He called it SoftKey Software Products and they sold edutainment software when the market was at its peak. The firm also became known for its hostile takeovers of rival companies.
They acquired a business called The Learning Company and took on its name in 1995. Four years later, Kevin sold the software enterprise to the toy corporation Mattel for $4.2 billion. Similar to Mark Cuban, he sold a tech company before the tech bubble burst. The deal was a disaster for Mattel and Businessweek labeled it “one of the worst deals of all time”.
The entrepreneur made his TV debut in 2006 as one of the investors in the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den. Kevin stayed for eight seasons but jumped ship in 2009 with Robert Herjavec to join ABC’s Shark Tank. The move was a smart one as Shark Tank’s audience is much larger.
On the show, Mr. Wonderful has invested in many early startups with mixed success. The most successful ones include Certifikid, BenjiLock, Honeyfund, Basepaws, Geek My Tree, Potato Parcel, Rareform, Wicked Good Cupcakes, SnarkTea, Waivecar, Boost Oxygen, Deskview, and LovePop.
He published his first book, Cold Hard Truth, in 2011. The popular investor tried to branch out into politics. He campaigned for the Conservative Party of Canada’s chairmanship in 2017 but ultimately dropped out of the race.
Net Worth and Salary
It is reported that Kevin O’Leary makes $50,000 per episode on Shark Tank. However, it is reasonable to say that he earns more investing in companies featured in the show. The salary alone from the show funds some of the deals.
Outside of angel investing, Kevin is a bigger advocate for cryptocurrencies. O’Leary has revealed that his portfolio includes around 32 crypto tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon and Solana. Currently, he has 20% of his portfolio invested in crypto including tokens and venture capital deals. O’Leary was also an investor and spokesperson for FTX which has given him bad publicity. His net worth currently stands at $400 million.
Kevin is married with two children to his wife, Linda. They live in a Toronto mansion that houses O’Leary’s vintage Porsche and Ferrari F12 Berlinetta. The TV personality is notorious for his watch collection, which includes timepieces from Rolex, Luminor, Jacob & Co., and other luxury brands.