We think this guy is opinionated, ruthless, hungers for big deals and loves to take control—yet he made his millions helping children learn how to read.
Kevin O'Leary's success story starts where most entrepreneurs begin: with a big idea and zero cash. From his basement, he launched SoftKey Software Products. As sales took off, Kevin moved to headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts and went on an industry consolidating acquisition binge.
From 1995 to 1999 he bought out almost every one of his software competitors, including Mindscape, Broderbund and the Learning Company in the industry's first vicious public hostile battle. Shareholders loved his take-no-prisoners, cost cutting style and fueled him with billions to do his deals.
In 1999 Kevin sold his company to the Mattel Toy Company for a staggering 3.7 billion dollars, one of the largest deals ever done in the consumer software industry. To keep his money working hard, he took control of his wealth from his lackluster money managers and founded his own mutual fund company, O'Leary Funds. He raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors who share his "get paid while you wait" yield oriented, value investing philosophy. He shares his tips and tribulations with a national television audience and turns The Street upside down in the process.
As a self-proclaimed "Eco-preneur," Kevin looks hardest for investments that make money - and are environmentally friendly. When he's not squeezing the market from his office in West Palm Beach, he travels the world looking for new opportunities to deploy his capital. He is a founding investor and director of Stream Global, an international business outsourcing company. He is on the investment committee of Boston's prestigious 200-year-old Hamilton Trust, and is the chairman of O'Leary Funds. He also serves on the executive board of The Richard Ivey School of Business.
Kevin escapes on weekends with his family to his luxurious cottage that spreads over prime Canadian wilderness on the shore of an ancient glacial lake.