Kevin O'Leary of Shark Tank invested in 27 companies and says the only ones making money have female CEOs
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Kevin O'Leary has 27 companies in his portfolio, he said, and 55% have female CEOs.
He has spoken about his faith in female CEOs in the past, but he only recently discovered just how divided the numbers in his portfolio were in terms of gender.
He noted that not all of his companies led by women were profitable, but some were — something that couldn't be said for any of his companies run by men.
He asked one CEO why she thought the companies led by women were doing better.
"She said to me, 'You know, if you want to get something done, give it to a busy mom,'" he recalled. "It kind of makes sense, right?"
We posited that maybe these companies' success has to do with women being considered better at multitasking than men.
"It could be," O'Leary said. "These are midrange companies in the sales range of five to 10 million dollars, so that multitasking could be very important. Large corporations are a different thing, but when you're doing venture investing like I am, it's startup to mid-level. They've got to work their tails off. They've got to work like hell."
O'Leary discovered this by accident. He asked his staff to see what all of the companies providing returns to his portfolios had in common, and it found that the companies returning on O'Leary's investments were all led by women.
"What's interesting is that these are companies across multiple sectors," he told Business Insider. "One is a company in the food business. Another is in consumer goods. Another is a manufacturing company. One is a biotech company. They have nothing to do with each other, and yet, they're still getting better returns."
His portfolio has been divided roughly 50-50 in terms of female-male leadership for about six years, he said, but he credited this more with ideas than gender.
"I just looked at deals," he said. "I never looked at gender. I have no bias. I want to make money. I'm trying to find the path of least resistance with the best people I can find. I'm agnostic to where they came from."
O'Leary never measured whose companies were more successful along gender lines before stumbling upon this recent finding. He is thinking about going back and taking a harder look at the trend over time.
O'Leary had just spoken at Honeyfund's event in the Tommy Bahama Marlin Bar when we caught up with him. He was heaping praise on Sara Margulis, the CEO of Honeyfund, who is one of the female execs bringing in the bacon for O'Leary.
Honeyfund is a startup that enables engaged couples to register for wedding gifts in the form of cash donations for honeymoon activities. The company also recently launched Plumfund, which opens the doors for other types of personal fundraising.
"This company's on fire," he said of Honeyfund, which he discovered on "Shark Tank." "It's basically doubling its platform with the Plumfund announcement. They've proven the model works with Honeyfund. I'm just pouring gasoline on the fire."
He added a final thought.
"One thing's for sure: We should be elevating women to the CEO position because we're getting better returns," he said. "You don't need another reason in business. In my case, the numbers speak for themselves."