Why ‘Shark Tank’ Star Kevin O’Leary Prefers To Invest In Female CEOs

Kevin O’Leary is hard on entrepreneurs on Shark Tank, but he insists that’s for good reason. Business is tough, and anyone who can’t handle a grilling in the tank shouldn’t be doing it. As O’Leary told Business Insider, he cares about one thing: the money.

“Maybe people think I’m bullying them. That’s not true. I’m the only guy there who tells the truth all the time. I don’t care about your feelings; I care about your money. I look at business as binary: either you make money or you lose money.”

Since he cares about his money, he tells Entrepreneur that he has a gender preference when it comes to CEOs: women. That is based on past results, according to O’Leary. Fifty-five percent of the companies in his own portfolio are run by female CEOs.

“I’ve invested in 20 different entrepreneurial and mid-cap companies and I’ve made more money with the women executives. It’s that simple.”

Speaking generally, O’Leary said that in his experience, women CEOs take less risks and deliver on promises.

“It’s not an intuitive feeling. It’s actual hardcore results.”

O’Leary went on to emphasize that he wants the easiest route to the largest returns, while still having a smooth ride.

“If I want high returns with low volatility, that equals a woman… When I am faced with two opportunities, whether it’s large cap, mid cap or otherwise, and the CEO is a woman, I tend to pick that option first because it’s the path of least resistance. I’m not looking at it from a social or moral point of view; I’m looking at it from a financial return point of view. I just make more money with women, period.”

O’Leary said that he learned his financial lessons from his mother, who regularly saved one-third of her earnings and put it in corporate bonds. She emphasized that you spend the interest and never the capital. He agreed with Entrepreneur writer Carol Roth, who suggested women do themselves a disservice by only networking with other women.

“[Y]ou should cast your net widely when you are networking. You should be using all of the tools that are available to you.”

On Shark Tank this week, O’Leary will judge the efforts of a few female entrepreneurs. In this preview clip courtesy of the Hollywood Reporter, the sharks hear the pitch of a dad who has created an easier way to pan for gold. He’s also already invested $192,000 into the project.

Shark Tank airs Friday on ABC.

[Kevin O’Leary image: Getty]