Kevin O’Leary is a top entrepreneur, keynote speaker, best-selling author, venture capitalist, star on ABC’s Shark Tank, and CNBC’s Money Court. As a venture capitalist, O’Leary is a self-proclaimed “eco-preneur” focusing on investments that make money and are environmentally friendly. He provides audiences with insights on business, finance, and financial literacy.
Born the son of a United Nations ILO official, Kevin O’Leary had the opportunity to live and be educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France, and Switzerland. He attended the University of Waterloo where in 1977 he received an Honors bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and Psychology. He attended the Ivey Business School where he received his MBA in 1980. After working briefly as an assistant product manager at Nabisco Brands, he left to pursue a career in television production and became a founding partner in Special Event Television, an independent production company that produced original sports programming such as “The Original Six,” “Don Cherry’s Grapevine” and “Bobby Orr and the Hockey Legends.”
In 1986 Kevin co-founded SoftKey Software, the first software company to apply the principles of consumer goods marketing to the software industry. SoftKey grew quickly as the price of personal computers declined and millions of North American families began to buy software for family education and entertainment. In January of 1994, SoftKey became a catalyst of consolidation in the software industry, raising over $ 1 billion in a series of debt and equity financings and completing the first trans-border three-way pooling, merging with Spinnaker Software and WordStar International. As a result of this merger the company moved its headquarters to Boston, Massachusetts.
In late 1995, SoftKey acquired Compton’s New Media and The Learning Company. In early 1996, SoftKey completed the acquisition of the Minnesota Educational Computer Company. In late 1997 and early 1998, the company acquired three more of its competitors, Creative Wonders, Mindscape and Broderbund making SoftKey the world leader in the development of educational, reference and home productivity software and the world’s second largest consumer software company with annual sales over $800 million, two thousand employees and subsidiaries in fifteen countries. In 1996 SoftKey changed its name to The Learning Company. In early May 1999, The Mattel Toy Company acquired The Learning Company for $4.2 billion.