The Dragon Kevin O’Leary Landed at Vortex

by Eric Floresca | Startups

On the second day of the Vortex Competition on November 4th for would be game developers Kevin O’Leary spoke to share his wisdom in creating and selling companies. He knows how to roll in the dragon’s den and how to handle a shark. Kevin O’Leary is a Canadian entrepreneur who has been a serial entrepreneur for most of his career building and selling companies.

While many people in the audience just want to create great games, it is a business and that is something Kevin is an expert at. According to Kevin his talk was about the truth about making money and why nothing else matters. When you run a start up it is “all about the money all the time.” Kevin says that capital always pursues the path of highest return and lowest risk.

According to him the main players for a start up are:

  • Shareholders – More important than anything else by a factor of 1000 and they are always looking for ROI
  • Customers – Expensive to get and hard to keep
  • Employees – One of the biggest expenses for a business, so less is always more
  • Competition – Kevin glossed over them but they are the enemy number 1
  • Government regulation – Can put you in jail and cost the business money
  • Board of directors – Another one he glanced over but they help to lead the business
  • Community – Hard to define and is about the warm and fuzzies

So in Kevin’s universe shareholders or the ones with cash the life blood of an entrepreneur. Kevin also believes that if you are just an employee and not given equity then you really are not a good employee.

What he says is that to be successful you must have a myopic focus on the dollar. You must have no conscious or mercy. This focus changes your behaviour and you must do the right thing for money. So you have to have a laser focus on shareholder returns.

Finally he talked about luck, that every entrepreneur needs luck and that you win some and loose some and that sometimes that break is simply luck.

Kevin speaks from years of experience of starting up companies and selling them and he was passionate and driven. You could definitely see and feel his hunger in every word. That is what makes you pay attention because when he was talking I knew that he speaks from experience and drive.

You may not agree with everything Kevin stated but you can respect it. Finally he showed an amazing pitch by JumpForward (to see it click here) from Sharktank the US version of Dragon’s Den. They went in looking for $150k and came out with $600k and amazing exposure for the firm and a hell of a lot of capital to grow the business.

That is something that can’t be bought you either have it or you don’t and in this audience full of would be game developers you knew that many of them had the fire and hopefully they have some luck as well to make their games and dreams happen.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Techvibes is Canada's leading technology media property. Originally founded in 2002, Techvibes is dedicated to covering social, mobile, and startup news that impacts Canadians. Our editors and nationwide network of reporters combine breaking hyperlocal news with international coverage to deliver a unique balance of insight and information. New in 2012, Techvibes is also the host of the annual... more

Transgaming Technologies
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

TransGaming Technologies has created the dominant software portability technology that allows game developers to build games for a single system, then migrate them to other platforms - faster, cheaper, and better than anyone else. TransGaming's portability technology is unique in that developers do not need to be thinking about multiple platforms before they commence the development of a game;... more

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Eric Floresca

Eric Floresca

A recent grad of Centennial College's Post Grad Advertising Account Management Program and a lover of technology, ideas and pop culture. Worked with agencies like Allard Johnson and Extreme Group as a consultant providing research and support for presentations and projects. A graduate with a Honours in Business Administration from the University of Windsor and seeking to find his way through... more

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