Posted on: February 6, 2015

‘Shark Tank’ investor Kevin O’Leary explains why ‘business is war’

Kevin O’Leary, known by “Shark Tank” fans as “Mr. Wonderful,” is a no-nonsense investor who isn’t afraid of calling an entrepreneur a “cockroach” or saying that their company sucks.

He got his nickname in the first season of the reality pitch show from fellow Shark Barbara Corcoran, but it’s a title he’s embraced and made his own.

O’Leary grew up in Montreal and received his MBA in 1980. His second business, the software company Softkey, became successful enough to acquire The Learning Company in 1995 and subsequently adopted its name. Four years later, O’Leary and his business partner Michael Perik sold the company to Mattel for $4.2 billion.

Newly rich O’Leary became a venture capitalist, mutual fund manager, and television personality, serving as one of the original investors on “Dragon’s Den,” the Canadian series that inspired “Shark Tank.”

Last year, he announced that he would appear exclusively on “Shark Tank,” and that the companies he’s invested in would be collected under the O’Leary Financial Group.

We spoke to Mr. Wonderful about his business philosophy, what he looks for in an entrepreneur, and why he can be so nasty in the Tank.
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