As the son of a travelling ILO executive, Kevin O'Leary lived and was educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France and Switzerland. After getting his MBA, he founded Special Event Television, an independent production company producing such original sports programming as The Original Six, Don Cherry's Grapevine and Bobby Orr and the Hockey Legends.
In 1986, O'Leary founded SoftKey Software Products (later called The Learning Company), 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 American families began to buy software for education and entertainment. SoftKey soon became a catalyst of consolidation in the software industry, raising over $1 billion in financing and completing a series of aggressive acquisitions, including WordStar International, Spinnaker Software, Compton's New Media, The Learning Company, Creative Wonders, The Minnesota Educational Computer Company, Mindscape and Broderbund. By 1998 O'Leary's company was the undisputed world leader in educational, reference and home productivity software, and the world's second-largest consumer software company, with annual sales over $800 million, 2,000 employees and offices in 15 countries. In 1999, Mattel acquired the company for $4.2 billion.
In 2003, O'Leary co-founded Storage Now, a leading developer of climate controlled storage facilities. Through development projects and acquisitions, Storage Now soon had operations in 11 cities, serving such companies as Merck and Pfizer, and was acquired by In Storage REIT in March 2007 for $110 million. In 2007, O'Leary became a founding investor and director of Boston-based Stream Global Services Inc., focused on the growing outsourcing business services market.
Today, O'Leary leads the O'Leary Financial Group – a group of companies that includes O'Shares ETFs, O'Leary Publishing and a continually growing roster of other businesses. He is also the founder and Chief Sommelier of O'Leary Fine Wines, an award-winning wine label, as well as a member of Boston's 107-year old Hamilton Trust.
In addition to Shark Tank, O'Leary co-hosted Discovery Channel's Project Earth television series that explored the financial implications of global climate change, and he is a regular contributor on CNBC. Kevin is an avid guitarist, photographer and author. He has written three bestselling books, including Cold Hard Truth on Men, Women and Money, and most recently, Cold Hard Truth on Family, Kids and Money.
Find and follow Kevin O'Leary online at kevinoleary.com, on Twitter at @kevinolearytv and on Facebook at facebook.com/kevinolearytv.