One of the most honorable opportunities in business is to ring the bell at the awe inspiring NYSE, which only a select few have ever done. I had the honorable opportunity to meet with Kevin O’Leary at the NYSE a couple weeks ago when he made his second appearance ringing the bell in honor of the first anniversary of O’Shares a leading ETF on the market. Kevin and I discussed what he’s learned over the last year watching the success of O’Shares as well as what to expect in the next season of Shark Tank! Take a look:
Jay: You were here at the NYSE just a year ago to ring the opening bell when you launched O’Shares. Now you’re back for the honor of closing the bell. What has happened during that time that has made O’Shares a leading ETF choice for investors?
Kevin: It’s a privilege to ring the bell and to come back just one year later is a great opportunity. When we started O’Shares we wanted to create an opportunity for investors to tap into an ETF where each stock was hand-picked to meet our expectations. Instead of the generic format of an ETF that focuses on an entire industry or an entire geographic, we created a standard that focused on three key elements: quality, lower volatility and dividend yield. We selected the stocks that met every single one of those qualifications and removed any option that was missing any of those three elements. Because of that process, the package which remained was extremely powerful. In fact, today O’Shares beats the S&P by an impressive 10%.
Jay: What has been the feedback from other key players on the stock market?
Kevin: Let me put to you this way Jay- a couple months ago I got a call from Morgan Stanley. They had been watching O’Shares and its performance and they decided they had to get in. We never marketed our ETF or approached other investors, we simply let the results speak for themselves. Additionally, we hired FTSE Russell to research every single one of our stock choices. Not only are we extra confident in our portfolio, but when firms like Morgan Stanley and other institutions contact us, we’re able to put them in touch with FTSE Russell directly which gives them the opportunity to hear from one of the most trusted names in the business which enables them to buy with complete confidence. When people see consistency and quality – it’s a no brainer.
Jay: You’ve been able to capture a large portion of millennial investors. Investments are complicated: how have you been able to communicate with them and make your EFT so attracting to them?
Kevin: Communication is the vehicle to success in anything you do, and with millennials making up an astounding portion of sales today, understanding where they communicate and how they communicate is imperative. We’ve been able to build and grow our social media channels to the point where we reach over 7 million millennials a week, and we constantly share our investment opportunities and updates on all of our platforms. We keep everything simple and straight to the point. Additionally, with O’Shares you don’t need to invest large amounts of money. We have so many investors who invest anywhere from $1k-$5k and they know that they own a share in a portfolio they can be proud of. Everything is completely transparent and investors can purchase shares online and see exactly what they own and how it performs. Millennials are smart and today they have access to everything in a way that we’ve never seen before. We understand that millennials hold the power of the future, therefore we built O’Shares in a way that fills their needs.
Jay: Switching gears just a bit, I understand you’re in the middle of shooting the next season of Shark Tank. What have you seen so far and what exciting things can we expect to see?
Kevin: We’re about half way through and we’ll be finishing up in September. It’s incredible how much the show has evolved and continues to get better and better. In fact, the investment deals are getting bigger and bigger. Businesses today are funded with good ideas. There are so many ways entrepreneurs leverage the tools that exist today and create successful businesses with an extremely low budget. It’s amazing to see so many people following their passion to create their own business and having the opportunity as an investor to help turn their dreams into profitable businesses.
Jay: Looking back at the deals you’ve made over the years through Shark Tank, has there been a common denominator between the ones that have been most successful?
Kevin: Yes! The ones that are run by women are the ones I make the most money from. There’s an old adage that says “If you want to get something done, ask a busy mother”. They’re better at money management and most importantly, execution. If you can’t execute – then the best idea in the world won’t get you anywhere. No matter what you do, especially in the beginning stages, make sure you’re able to budget your cash flow and most importantly your time!