Travels from Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kevin O’Leary's speaking fee falls
within range: Over $75,000
Businessman and investor, Kevin O’Leary makes or breaks entrepreneurs’ dreams as a venture capitalist on ABC’s Shark Tank. The founder of the successful SoftKey Software Products (now The Learning Company) shares his 30+ years of expertise giving audiences “the cold hard truth” about how to succeed in business whether you’re looking to seal a deal with a shark or a dragon on primetime or building your business up in a more traditional way.
After a two-day stint as an ice cream scooper went sour, Kevin made a vow that he was going to be his own boss. While earning his MBA, he interned as a marketing manager at Nabisco, raising their sales in cat food during his time there. After graduation, he cofounded the television production company Special Event Television, which created original sports programming. Both experiences were key, he claimed, in the success of his later venture, SoftKey Software Products.
In 1986, SoftKey was the first company of its kind, carving out a new market as personal computers in the home became more and more commonplace. Over the years it became a major force in the growing educational technology sector acquiring major competitors and ultimately becoming #1 in its industry with annual sales of over $800 million. Eventually SoftKey changed its name to The Learning Company and was purchased by The Mattel Toy Company in a deal that left Kevin a multi-millionaire.
Currently Kevin enjoys following his passion of photography and looking for new exciting projects to back as a shark on Shark Tank.
From modest beginnings, Kevin O’Leary built a company worth more than $4 billion dollars. Since then, he has become an internationally recognized investor, respected commentator, and much more. Kevin’s life experiences have included not only great successes, but also many challenges, adventures, risks taken and lessons learned.
As the son of a United Nations ILO official, Kevin had the opportunity to live and be educated in Cambodia, Cyprus, Tunisia, Ethiopia, France and Switzerland.
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.
Kevin O’Leary co-founded SoftKey Software Products 1986. The first software company to apply the principles of consumer goods marketing to the software industry, it 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 1996 SoftKey changed its name to The Learning Company. In late 1997, the company acquired three more of its competitors. With annual sales over $800 million, two thousand employees and subsidiaries in 15 countries, The Mattel Toy Company acquired The Learning Company for $4.2 billion in 1999.
Kevin O’Leary is the Chairman of O’Leary Funds and serves on the board of The Richard Ivey School of Business. He is a member of the Boston’s 107 year old Hamilton Trust. Kevin is also the entrepreneur/investor co-host for the Discovery Channel’s Project Earth series that explores innovative ways man could reverse global warming implementing large scale geo-engineering infrastructure projects.
Kevin attended the University of Waterloo where in 1977 he received an Honors Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies and Psychology. He received his MBA in 1980 from the Richard Ivey School of Business.
In his speaking engagements, Kevin O’Leary delves into what it’s like to be a Dragon and a Shark. Kevin discusses his relationships with the other Dragons, why he approaches entrepreneurs as the “Merchant of Truth”, and what it takes to get a deal on the show. Kevin’s years of experience as a successful repeat entrepreneur are a value source of insights.
Kevin O’Leary connects the dots between television and business, attesting that even today there is no bigger platform for entrepreneurs than on-air. He shares the story of a mother and daughter team whose appearance on Shark Tank ensured measurable business growth for their product, cupcakes, a commodity that is accessible in any average U.S. town. However, television gave “Wicked Good Cupcakes,” which can be purchased online and shipped across the country, an advantage.
“The company was selling $24,000 worth of cupcakes in the month prior to airing. In the next 30 days it sold $365,000 worth of cupcakes,” Kevin reports, pointing out that they were seen by a national audience of millions who then continued to spread their story through social media. Today Wicked Good Cupcakes is selling an average of $5 million worth of product annually. “Television is still the colonel,” Kevin concludes. “But it is the social media that actually disperses the data much faster than the original airing content.”
Multi-millionaire Kevin Leary describes how his first job determined the rest of his life. As a teenager he got hired to be an ice cream scooper at a local mall; however his second day at work the owner ordered him to scrape gum off the floor. He refused to do it because it wasn’t part of his job description so the owner fired him.
“I didn’t even know what ‘fired’ meant,” Kevin confesses. “But in minutes I was on my way home on my bike in utter shame that she had that kind of control over my life.” Deciding that working for someone else was the equivalent of slavery, he took a vow to become his own boss. “I have never ever in my life worked for someone again. No one else has ever had control over me.”
Kevin O’Leary speaks openly about his upbringing, including the important lessons he learned from his parents and from his stepfather. Kevin describes how important those lessons were for his success and how you can learn from them.
Kevin ensures that his audiences understand his fundamental, personal beliefs about success, entrepreneurship, money, hard work, and sales. The “O’Leary Fundamentals” are important lessons for individuals of all ages, professions, and personalities. No matter what stage you are at in your career, in your business, and in your life, Kevin O’Leary’s speaking events will add value to all of your endeavors.
Cold Hard Truth
Kevin O’Leary, one of North America’s most successful entrepreneurs, reveals the secrets that made him rich, and shares his personal advice for readers from every walk of life. Kevin describes his incredible journey, from his sometimes difficult childhood to the way he built his first company, managed personal pressures, and ultimately achieved remarkable success. His advice is engaging and practical – and will help those who read it become the best entrepreneurs and business people that they can be. Topics cover business, money and life, including: How to find your calling and turn your talents into a profitable venture; building a dream team; transforming adversity into opportunity and making and growing your business–and your money.
Lessons From a Shark
Kevin O’Leary will take you on a behind the scenes look at his two hit shows, Dragons’ Den & Shark Tank. He customizes every presentation for his audience to bring unique business information to each event. He’ll share entertaining and insightful outtakes from his TV shows – video’s you can’t see anywhere else, along with a current economic overview and how it relates to your industry, and finally he’ll be a ‘secret agent’ for your industry with insights into how your industry is performing, where the innovation is coming from and more. All based on a content review of your industry prior to the event.
An Evening with Kevin O’Leary
With candor and unmatched business smarts, Kevin O’Leary draws on his encyclopedic knowledge of finance, investing, economics and business to discuss a variety of topics. How, for instance, will the global recession affect a myriad of industries, including your own, and what can you do to protect your company, and come out stronger than ever? Razor sharp and quick on his feet, O’Leary pulls no punches in his enlightening and timely talks.
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