‘Shark Tank’: Does Kevin O’Leary like to Invest in a Specific Type of Entrepreneur?

Kevin O'Leary

Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank | ABC

There are entrepreneurs from all over the country and running different types of businesses who come on Shark Tank. Often sharks are looking for something that is addressing a need, but that’s not the only thing that comes into play on the show. By now the sharks have figured out what works best for them, or which businesses they’re drawn to. So is there a type of entrepreneur sharks like to invest in? The Cheat Sheet talked to Kevin O’Leary at PaleyFest on Oct.14 and this is what he had to say.

Kevin O’Leary said he earns more capital from female entrepreneurs

Kevin O'Leary leans forward in a chair on Shark Tank

Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank | ABC

The shark nicknamed “Mr. Wonderful” isn’t an easy one to win over. So it would probably shock fans to find out that there is a specific kind of investor he does like for a very specific reason. Kevin O’Leary brought up an interesting statistic when asked which entrepreneurs he likes to invest in.

“Over the last decade, 95% of my returns have come from companies run by women,” O’Leary told The Cheat Sheet. “So I tend to invest more with women-led companies because they’re just better at returning capital.” The shark said it might have to do with how women tend to deal with risk differently. 

O’Leary not only revealed what he noticed worked for him, but what doesn’t. “Not listening to my intuition,” answered the shark when asked what has been his most costly mistake. “I think after a long period of time being an investor you got to listen to your gut and whenever I don’t listen to it I lose money.” There is another way investors on the show have protected themselves from losing money.

Sometimes the entrepreneurs that get deals on Shark Tank don’t always close after filming

Shark Tank judges

Shark Tank | ABC

Some Shark Tank fans might be shocked to find out that not all of the deals made on the show actually go through. Kevin O’Leary said that the show does better than most when closing deals.

But we close more deals than the average venture company,” O’Leary explained. “We close more than half! The average venture company might look at 10 and close two. So they’re 20% and we’re 50[%].” What is the main reason why some deals don’t close? Well, there is more research done into the companies after they stop filming and things don’t look as promising sometimes afterward.

“It’s not that it’s not the truth,” O’Leary said. “They are extremely optimistic about their prospects. I’ve never seen a forecast that didn’t look like a hockey stick. So you got to be realistic, right? We try to deal with reality because it’s our real life. We put millions of dollars to work.”

Mr. Wonderful is a hard one to crack and all about people being honest when pitching on Shark Tank. But one thing he keeps in mind is that female entrepreneurs have returned more capital for him as an investor.

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