Nothing if not a polarizing force on television and at the podium, Kevin O’Leary pulls no punches when it comes to the good, the bad, and the ugly as it pertains to markets and economic opportunities. O’Leary is co-host of The Lang & O’Leary Exchange; a panelist on the wildly popular programs Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank; and author of the bestselling book Cold Hard Truth: On Business, Money, and Life. O’Leary was recently profiled on Access Hollywood about his role on the new season of Shark Tank:
Let the business deals begin! “Shark Tank” returns Friday for its fifth season on ABC, and Kevin O’Leary revealed there will be plenty of drama in the boardroom.
“We’ve had some very crazy guys on, and women,” the Shark, who is nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful,” told Access Hollywood.
Asked to elaborate, Kevin explained that some people who came on the show, hoping for an investment in their idea or business, were “very confrontational.”
“You know, arrogant… They’re asking for valuations that don’t make sense,” he explained.
In most cases, Kevin himself can be tough in the pitch room, and he told Access he is OK with the attitude from potential collaborators.
“I don’t mind rude people. I want people that I can make money with, so if their executional abilities are good, and they’re arrogant and rude, I don’t’ care,” he told Access. “I’m not trying to make friends. I’m trying to make money. … I don’t need to be their friend, but I have to see a glimmer of hope for actually getting a return. That’s what matters to me.”
Kevin said he’s actually been getting a good rate of return on the investments he’s made with women on the show.
“What I’ve been watching now for two years — this a trend that’s emerging in ‘Shark Tank’ — is women are doing better than men in terms of getting funded and getting better deals and they’re making us more money,” he said.
“I don’t know why this is, but I have some speculation,” he continued. “My women deals are making me more money. Women are better investors; they take less risk; they’re more pragmatic; they’re better at executing a business plan and I’m not the only Shark that’s noticed. … They’re pretty good at running a business and now, 60 percent of my deals are women.”
Among the deals he’s most proud of are the ones with Wicked Good Cupcakes, Voyage-Air guitar (the foldable guitar he took to Fender) and the Ruck Pack nutrition drink, which recently went into Walgreens stores.
“Shark Tank” has proved to be a hit for ABC on Friday nights and Kevin credits it to people of all ages being able to watch the show and see others’ dreams realized.
“I think, when you’re watching ‘Shark Tank,’ you’re watching the pursuit of freedom because what does it mean to be rich or free, and I think a 9-year-old understands that and a 90-year-old grandmother understands it,” he said. “That’s what’s happened, because I don’t think people trust working in a big corporation any more, it’s just as risky as starting your own business, so you might as well do it yourself. Maybe you’ll get rich, you never know. That’s the promise of ‘Shark Tank.’”