Kevin O’Leary might not be a name you’re familiar with unless you’re already a huge fan. If you do know Mr. Wonderful, then we’re talking about the same guy. The Canadian businessman, author, and television personality is well known with his nickname on the shows Dragon Den and ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank, where his no-nonsense, mean questioning of entrepreneurs often reduces them to tears. His wisecracks and shenanigans aside, Kevin is a very shrewd investor and sound businessman. He literally amassed his fortune through his ideals, hard work, and opportunistic overtures. Get to know the investor beyond his professional life.
Who Is Kevin O’Leary?
Kevin O’Leary was born on the 9th of July, 1964, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He is the son of Terry O’Leary, an Irish salesman, and his wife Georgette, a small business owner and investor of Lebanese ancestry. His parents had a nasty divorce when he was still a child. This divorce came about because his father was addicted to alcohol. His mom remarried an economist named George Kanawaty, who worked with the UN’s International Labour Organization. Due to the nature of his stepfather’s job, the family ended up becoming globetrotters, with Kevin, his brother and the family living in countries like Cambodia, Tunisia, and Cyprus.
Kevin O’Leary attended Stanstead College and St. George’s School, both in Quebec. He had aspirations of becoming a photographer. However, his step-father advised him to attend university. He obtained an honorary degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology from the University of Waterloo in 1977 and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in 1980.
Kevin O’Leary’s Business Career
During the break between the first and second years of his studies at Ivey Business School, Kevin O’Leary entered Nabisco’s intern program, whereupon he became a television producer. He was tasked with minor TV shows, sports documentaries and other smaller initiatives that he did with little success. He set up SoftKey Software Products with the assistance of his mom who gave him $10,000. The business became a big hit and was one of the world’s biggest software distributors by 1993.
Kevin O’Leary sold Softkey to Mattel at $4.2 billion. In 2008, Kevin co-founded O’Leary Funds Inc., a mutual fund company. He is also a prominent TV personality, appearing on Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank as a businessman whose job was to listen to entrepreneurs pitch their startups for seed funding. Furthermore, he launched his own show, Redemption Inc., in which he tries to help ex-convicts start and develop their own businesses.
What About the Shark Tank Investor’s Family?
Kevin O’Leary’s mom was a talented investor, investing one-third of her weekly income in large-cap, dividend-paying shares, and interest-bearing bonds, eventually attaining high yields in her portfolio. Kevin attests that many of his investment skills came from her, most especially the habit of saving one-third of his money. She was so good that no one found out about her portfolio until after her death. Kevin O’Leary didn’t even know the full extent of her skills until her will was executed after her death.
Kevin O’Leary was raised alongside his brother, Shane O’Leary.
Details on His Wife and Kids
Since March 17, 1990, Kevin O’Leary has been married to his wife, Linda O’Leary. The couple has two kids; Trevor O’Leary, a DJ and music producer, and Savannah O’Leary, a writer. Kevin and his wife threw a pizza party for their wedding. The idea behind this was to avoid debt and it definitely paid off!
In 2011, Kevin and his wife split, but after two years they reunited. According to him, they were on the verge of dividing their assets but decided to keep the family together and made a rebound. He went on to advise couples in his book to treat marriage as a business contract, stating that even if you do have a great idea, strong prospects, determination, and luck, if you choose a poor romantic partner, you’re bound to fail miserably. Linda O’Leary, his wife, is VP of marketing for O’Leary Fine Wines and she also serves on the Board of Directors for the National Ballet of Canada.
Trevor, his son plays some of the biggest all-ages events of the year in Toronto’s club scene. He works on genres like Electro, Dirty Dutch, and Bounce. Savannah, his daughter is a producer, director, and editor. She has work published by Dazed & Confused Magazine and The Huffington Post. She is currently the Head of Video at Purpose, where she produces and directs work for clients like the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, UNICEF, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and The Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. It is interesting to note that these kids have to work hard for their money as their father doesn’t intend to just hand them money.