Kevin O’Leary was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. As a teenager, Kevin was always getting into trouble. With long shaggy hair, a love of guitars and photography and a questionable future, things weren’t always as they are today. All of that changed when Kevin got his first job in Ottawa working at a small ice cream store. On his second day of work, his boss asked him to scrape gum off the floor, and Kevin refused. As a result, he was fired. Kevin, shocked that his employer had so much control over him, realized that he never wanted to be in that position again. That day, Kevin decided that he would never work for anyone ever again, and that he would be his own boss. Kevin wanted freedom, and he realized that the only path towards that freedom was wealth.
Of course, before he could truly achieve that freedom he would have to succeed and make some cash. With a $10,000 loan from his mother, Kevin began producing educational software from the basement apartment that he was renting in Toronto. Within a few short years, Kevin went from being broke, to being the owner of Canada’s largest educational software company, Soft Key. Soft Key eventually became known as The Learning Company, where it was eventually bought by Mattel for nearly 4 billion dollars.
Unfortunately, the deal wasn’t quite as savoury as Kevin would like everyone to believe. Shortly after the sale, Mattel began losing money from the deal and eventually brought the company’s previous owners, as well as O’Leary to court over allegations that financial information had been falsified. The issue was eventually settled out of court.
Following the deal, Kevin had a desire to appear on television, and eventually managed to have his way after sweet talking executives at CBC. The network eventually gave Kevin his own show, the Lang & O’Leary Exchange. O’Leary then became one of the original dragon’s on CBC’s hit TV show, Dragon’s Den, which was based off of the British version with the same name. Kevin’s TV success has continued and he is now a shark on ABC’s Shark Tank in the United States, along with fellow dragon Robert Herjavec.
Overall, Kevin is one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs and demonstrates that with hard work and perseverance, anyone can success in the business world. Starting with almost nothing, Kevin managed to create one of the world’s largest educational software companies and sell it in one of the most well known business acquisitions of its time.