Success. It’s what every entrepreneur wants. What does it take to be successful as an entrepreneur? According to Kevin O’Leary, who is currently a Shark on ABC’s “Shark Tank,” “It takes a great idea, with a very motivated person driving the process—and it also takes a certain amount of serendipity and luck.”

Strong ideas

O’Leary is a mega-successful investor with a string of business start-ups and good investment decisions behind him. He has also established himself as a strong television personality and a venture capitalist with a “leader-of-the-pack” knack for recognizing a good idea when he hears one. O’Leary, who goes by the moniker “Mr. Wonderful” on “Shark Tank,” has had many good ideas, and he admits that he has been very lucky.

“Education is not a recipe for success at all. It’s a great attribute, but it doesn’t change the investment outcome."

His legendary success in many spheres contributes to O’Leary’s credibility. And he also happens to have an MBA from the University of Western Ontario and know lots of influential people.  However, O’Leary emphasizes, “There is no one formula that provides an advantage.” In fact, O’Leary says that one’s education, provenance and social network are not the determining factors for success as an entrepreneur. “Education is not a recipe for success at all. It’s a great attribute, but it doesn’t change the investment outcome,” he says.

“It takes a great idea, with a very motivated person driving the process—and it also takes a certain amount of serendipity and luck.”

Easy as 1-2-3

So what does it take to get a Shark to invest in your idea? According to O’Leary there are three must-have elements for the perfect pitch. He explains, “In every case, the entrepreneur must be able to articulate the opportunity in 90 seconds or less. They must also be able to explain why they are the right person or team to execute the deal—and 100 percent of the time, they have to know the numbers. Often people master the first two criteria and then the pitch blows up when people don’t know the numbers.”

The hottest areas being pitched right now involve sensor technology, social media and mobile technology, but at this moment O’Leary is most excited about cupcakes.

The yum factor

The hottest areas being pitched right now involve sensor technology, social media and mobile technology, but at this moment O’Leary is most excited about cupcakes. When the mother-daughter team, Tracy Noonan and Dani Desroches, showed up on “Shark Tank” in April 2013, their concept was rock solid—they had a simple idea, they were the perfect duo to execute the plan and they knew their numbers cold. O’Leary was convinced up front and invested $75,000 in their company, Wicked Good Cupcakes. He says, “They bake cupcakes, put them in a mason jar and FedEx them out. When you get them they are still fresh. They taste unbelievable and are all natural. You just can’t stop eating them.”