Kevin O’Leary is a renowned businessman, investor, and television personality. He rose to fame featuring on Dragons’ Den and Shark Tank but made his fortune founding SoftKey, a software company. 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 to Georgette and Terry O’Leary. Hailing from Quebec, Canada, Kevin was raised by entrepreneurial parents but they divorced when he was a child.
After Kevin’s father died from alcoholism, his mother worked as a small business executive. Georgette later married someone who worked for the United Nations, which allowed the family to travel the world. Around this time, Georgette was quietly building up an investment portfolio.
He discovered how savvy his mother was as an investor after reading her will when she passed away. 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 started out with an internship at Nabisco and worked as an assistant brand manager for the corporation’s cat food line while pursuing an MBA. Next, Kevin had a short stint co-founding Special Event Television (SET).
The Canadian sold his equity in SET and started a software company in 1986 called SoftKey Software Products. They sold edutainment software when the market was at its peak and 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 business to 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 an investor on the Canadian version of Dragons’ Den. Kevin stayed for eight seasons but jumped ship with Robert Herjavec to join Shark Tank. The move paid off as Shark Tank’s audience is much larger.
On the show, Mr. Wonderful has invested in dozens of early startups but with mixed success. The most successful deals include Certifikid, Honeyfund, Basepaws, Geek My Tree, Potato Parcel, Rareform, Wicked Good Cupcakes, Boost Oxygen, Deskview, and LovePop.
In 2011, he published his first book, Cold Hard Truth. The popular investor tried to branch out into politics and campaigned for the Conservative Party of Canada’s chairmanship in 2017 but dropped out of the race.
Net Worth and Salary
Kevin O’Leary makes $50,000 per episode on Shark Tank as reported by Variety. However, it is reasonable to say that he makes more money investing in companies featured on the show. The salary alone from the show funds some of the deals.
Outside of angel investing, Kevin is a big advocate for cryptocurrencies. O’Leary has revealed that his portfolio includes around 32 crypto tokens, including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Polygon and Solana. He also invested in WonderFi and is now one of the largest crypto platforms in Canada.
Currently, 20% of his portfolio is invested in crypto including tokens and venture capital deals. O’Leary was paid $15 million to be a spokesperson for FTX which has given him bad publicity. Kevin’s net worth currently stands at $400 million.
Kevin is married and has two children with 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.