Michael Wekerle net worth is estimated at £75 million (USD $100 million; CAD $125 million) – CBC Dragons Den “Mick Jagger meets Warren Buffett” entrepreneur…
This article is about Michael Wekerle net worth and how ‘The Wek’ became such a hugely successful entrepreneur. Mike Wekerle is an entrepreneur investor on Canada’s Dragons Den.
They call him “The Wek.” He is a fast-talking quick-thinking Canadian merchant banker.
He also goes by the title Oracle of Bay Street too, with his propensity to risk taking and great business acumen.
His advice to world-be business owners: “5 years to build a business, 10 years to build a brand.”
Why write about Michael Wekerle net worth?
My reasons for choosing Michael Wekerle to write about are:
- I’ve already written about three of the five dragon investors from the Canadian Dragons Den series, so Michael Wekerle makes it four. Plus the show originally debuted on my birthday.
- Wekerle is a successful entrepreneur, who failed big in the early days. I love to read about success, especially those who make it back from a fall.
- He’s an interesting and flamboyant entrepreneur and one I’ve enjoyed researching.
- His merchant banking and venture capital career is of real interest to me and to others too, judging by the number of searches made each month.
Main sections of this article on Michael Wekerle net worth are:
- Where did life began for Michael Wekerle and what is his background?
- From borrowing £36,000 (USD $48,000; CAD $60,000) from his Mum to a £75 million (USD $100 million; CAD $125 million) net worth.
- Dragons Den Michael Wekerle and Dragons Den Canada.
- Michael Wekerle real estate has added to his growing net worth.
- Michael Wekerle Difference Capital Inc. business.
- Wekerle’s life away from business and investing.
A Toronto born entrepreneur, let’s start at the beginning…
Where did life began for Michael Wekerle and what is his background?
Michael Wekerle has an interesting and colourful background and is best known as a dragon on CBC Dragons Den Canada.
Michael Wekerle’s education included high school, but on his LinkedIn profile it shows he also attended York University in Toronto. However, it doesn’t look like he completed his degree there. Not completing his university degree has certainly not held Mike Wekerle back, as he’s become a hugely successful high net worth Canadian entrepreneur.
As a young kid from Toronto with a dream. “Always Believe, Anything Can Be Achieved…”
Born in Toronto Canada so has Canadian nationality. He started out as a paper boy as a kid and at 18 he became a waiter. He got fired as a waiter after just two shifts when he dropped some plates on a table.
Failure is not an option to Michael Wekerle…
But like many successful entrepreneurs, this ‘failure’ wasn’t to hold him back. A typical optimistic view of an entrepreneur, he saw his being fired as fortuitous, as he soon got hired at the Toronto Stock Exchange still aged 18.
He views his start at the Toronto Stock Exchange as him in the right place at the right time. At the time the stock exchange was in Bay Street Toronto, which is Toronto’s financial district.
Wekerle left the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1982 to join First Marathon and became head trader there until he left in 1995.
Mike Wekerle’s net worth breaks £60 million (USD $80 million; CAD $100 million) in 2006 – pre-2008 crash…
Mike Wekerle’s career continued with Griffiths McBurney and Partners (GMP), which he co-founded with Gene Mcburney. He built this business to become one of Canada’s most successful independent financial services companies. He accumulated 3.3 million shares in GMP. At their peek they were worth £17.16 (USD $23; CAD $28.75 in May of 2006). This would have been worth almost £57 million (USD $76 million; CAD $95 million).
In the market downturn in 2008 the GMP share price dropped to £1.93 (USD $2.58; CAD $3.23). This wiped over £50 million (USD $67.2 million; CAD $84 million) off Mike Wekerle’s net worth over night. The financial pressures of this stressful time for Wekerle happened at a time when his marriage was in turmoil too.
During his financial career he has been a part of some of the largest financing deals in Canada. He led the Research in Motion (now Blackberry) deal to an eventual IPO. He was key to the merger between Goldcorp and Wheaton River and for Royal Dutch Shell’s takeover of BlackRock Venture.
Michael Wekerle is described as “Mick Jagger meets Warren Buffet.”
His early career training helps him to make quick decisions and to think more logically. He sees his chess playing days at an early age helping his way of business thinking later on in life and comments: “it’s not the first move you make, but the third move you make.”
From borrowing £36,000 (USD $48,000; CAD $60,000) from his Mum to a £60 million (USD $80 million; CAD $100 million) net worth…
When he was working on the Toronto Stock Market he borrowed £36,000 (USD $48,000; CAD $60,000) from his school teacher mum. With his mums money and £6,000 (USD $8,000; CAD $10,000) of his own seed capital he began investing in stocks and shares in the Canadian stock market. By 1987 at the age of 24 he had made £2.1 million (USD $2.8 million; CAD $3.5 million).
A picture of his mum on Mother’s Day…He looks just like his mom:
In the 1987 stock market crash he went from £2.1 million (USD $2.8 million; CAD $3.5 million) positive to a negative £1.2 million (USD $1.6 million; CAD $2 million). Michael Wekerle admits to being very close to quitting at this point and not showing up again. His words were “Force Majeure, I’m out!” If his mum hadn’t been so supportive he may well have quit.
His mum reassured Mike Wekerle, after giving him a motherly cuddle, that all was okay despite the huge loss. Wekerle’s mum told him not to worry about the loss, telling him that his health was more important than money. She even explained to him, if they have to sell the house, so be it.
“Buy fear and sell greed.” Michael Wekerle
Michael Wekerle describes this as a real turning point in his live.
Michael Wekerle made £3.6 million (USD $4.8 million; CAD $6 million) in four days on the stock market post 1987 crash…
After the pep-talk with his mum, Mike Wekerle went back to the stock market on the Monday. He describes the opening as horrendous, but by having the right attitude made the difference.
With this positive attitude, between the Monday and the Thursday he had made $6 million. This turnaround gave him so much confidence that he turned his whole career around. He describes this turnaround in his career as “It was about mental strength and not about cash strength.”
“Taking the long way to success is the best way…how do you get 32 years of experience? 32 years!” Michael Wekerle
Michael Wekerle net worth as of 2017…
Since those early investment days Michael Wekerle’s wealth and earnings went from strength to strength. After 32 years of hard work Michael Wekerle net worth is estimated in 2017 to stand at £75 million (USD $100 million; CAD $125 million).
“I was an overnight success; it just took me 32 years.” Michael Wekerle.
Michael Wekerle tech sector investments…
Wekerle predicted a shift from resource stocks to tech, which is what led him to start his publicly listed merchant bank Difference Capital Financial Inc. See further down for more on this company.
He has a knack to know when to invest in markets. His investment in Difference has strengthened and expanded his net worth. But for Wekerle it’s not all about the money. He saw this new business venture as a way to provide jobs to university students.
Dragons Den Michael Wekerle and Dragons Den Canada…
A picture of Michael Wekerle on CBC’s Dragons Den with fellow dragons from left to right: Manjit Minhas, Arlene Dickinson, Jim Treliving, Jim Mimran and Michele Romanow on Instagram:
Now known as Dragons Den Michael Wekerle. He joined Dragons Den Canada in season 9 in 2014. He invests alongside fellow entrepreneurs: CBC Dragons Den veteran Jim Treliving, tech and fintech entrepreneur Michele Romanow, Beer Baroness and Minhas Brewery owner Manjit Minhas, fashion designer Joe Mimran and returning business woman Arlene Dickinson.
Michael Wekerle investments on Dragons Den Canada include…
Covergalls is one of Dragons Den Wekerle’s first investments he made in the den. Entrepreneur Alicia Woods is owner of equipment manufacturer Covergalls. Woods was originally asking for $75,000 for a 20% stake in her business to help build her inventory.
What he says to people trying to make it in business…”Failures not an option…you only fail when you stop trying.” Michael Wekerle
The final deal was struck between Michael Wekerle, Arlene Dickinson and Jim Treliving for a 30% stake, with each agreeing to invest £15,000 (USD $20,000; CAD $25,000). At the time of investing the business had revenues of £36,000 (USD $49,000; CAD $61,000), but the forecast was for £107,000 (USD $144,000; CAD $180,000) to the end of the year. It was however reported that Jim Treliving later pulled out from the deal.
Michael Wekerle real estate investments have added to his growing net worth…
Michael Wekerle made the most of the 2007-2008 subprime mortgage crisis by investing in real estate.
He began to build a property investment portfolio from distressed commercial US real estate. His main focus was in South Florida. He invested £45 million (USD 60 million; CAD $75 million) with fellow investor Bill Holland. They bought motels, hotels and a shopping centre.
The shopping centre was purchased for a reported £9.6 million (USD $12.9 million; CAD$16.1 million) at the time when the Canadian Dollar was at par with the US Dollar. He sold his half-share to his co-investor Holland for £25.4 million (USD $34 million; $42.5 million) at a time when the dollar exchange rate had moved by 23% in his favour. A nice boost to his wealth pot.
He expanded his real estate investment to Canada also, which now includes high-tech commercial properties in Waterloo, Ontario.
Michael Wekerle Blackberry investment…
Within the high-tech real estate, Michael Wekerle has bought six former Blackberry buildings. These buildings are in the Waterloo area of Ontario and his intention is to turn them into tech incubators.
Michael Wekerle business and investments…
Wekerle is excited about the growth prospects of the Canadian tech sector and a big believer in Service as a software (SaaS). In 2014 he was describing cloud investing as very big and service as a software is very big too.
Canada’s technology sector was just beginning to roll and Mike Wekerle wanted to be a part of it.
Michael Wekerle and Mark Wahlberg investment in Wahlbergers restaurant chain…
Michael Wekerle and Mark Wahlberg set up Wahlburgers Canada. Mark Wahlberg is an American actor, producer and businessman. The pair of them, together with Wahlberg’s brothers Donnie and Paul, started the hamburger restaurant chain in 2011.
The first in the chain was setup in Hingham, Massachusetts USA. The second Wahlberger restaurant was located in Toronto’s SoHo Metropolitan Hotel.
Michael Wekerle El Mocambo Tavern investment…
Buying El Mocambo Tavern for £2.3 million (USD $3 million; CAD $3.8 million) at the 11th hour from closure in 2014. Having dabbled unsuccessfully as a musician when he was younger in his teen years, he jumped at the opportunity to buy El Mocambo Tavern. His nostalgic vision about the venue is to allow artists to create their content easier.
With El Mocambo Tavern he made the decision in a week and bought it within a day. Wekerle describes it as: “24 hours hand to wallet – boom!” So he’s pretty passionate about his investment in the music venue.
He explains how back when he was younger, it was really difficult for artist to get a break in Canada. After he’d bought the Tavern, he didn’t want to change the place, but take it back 25 years and make it an easier venue for artists to create and to distribute their content.
Michael Wekerle Difference Capital Inc. business…
After his second wife died, Wekerle suffered from depression and was in a bad way in his personal life. But he wasn’t held back for long. He saw the return of the tech sector and decided to create a merchant bank to invest in tech.
Difference Capital Inc. was put together by Michael Wekerle with Paul Sparks with Hill Johnson in 2012. Difference Capital has raised more than £119 million (USD $160 million; CAD$200 million). Michael is now Chairman of the business and is reported by Bloomberg as owning 23% of the firm.
Two things he learned about the markets from a very young age – fear and greed. Do the opposite of the market and take the emotion out. He advises to buy fear and sell greed. Once you do this you start to make money.
To do well Wekerle talks about having to work hard: “To do well you have to be lucky, you have to be good to be lucky and you have to be lucky to be good.” He also talks about integrity, honest and loyalty. To Mike Wekerle these are key strengths to make money, and once you’ve learned that, you will make money.
Difference Capital is not just about making money for Wekerle though. It’s also about creating jobs for kids out of university; because he sees this as important being a single father of 6 kids himself.
The venture capital company has backed fledgling companies such as social media manager Hootsuite Media Inc. The CEO of Hootsuite Ryan Holmes describes investors in tech like Difference Capital as the “Maple Syrup Mafia.”
“Being a contrarian is sometimes right. But the key thing is to have conviction. Sometimes wrong, but never in doubt.” Michael Wekerle.
Michael Wekerle’s life away from business and investing…
Known as “The Wek” to most of his close friends, Mike Wekerle has six kids. Michael Wekerle’s daughters are Raquel (See Instagram picture below), Ashton, Danielle (also see picture below) and a son Adam from his marriage to his second wife who died aged 39.
He has another child from his first marriage and he adopted a sixth child. The adoption happened when his life got back together after his wife Lea-Anne had died suddenly from a heart attack after a trip to Mexico.
Mike Wekerle also seen with one of his other daughters Danielle:
Michael Wekerle tattoos…
Michael Wekerle and his tattoos on Instagram…
Wekerle has a number of tattoos. Michael Wekerle’s hand tattoo is of an eye, which is on his left hand. He describes himself as very superstitious, which is what’s behind some of his tattoos. He has a heart tattooed on his chest and tear drops on one of his fingers on his other hand.
In total he has between 38-42 tattoos, depending on how you classify them. He describes his Ancient Asian Tabouki Style Tattoo as his most painful, where they take a bamboo stick and imprint it on you. He paid them £119 (USD $160; CAD $200) to stop after 3.5 hours.
Mike Wekerle no stranger to the news and controversy…”Michael Wekerle Caledon” and “Michael Wekerle Chapel”…
There have been a few reports in the news and newspapers over alleged court cases. One such court case involves a chapel owed by his mum. Described in the National Post as “Dragon’s Den financier and sisters in family feud over sale of chapel.”
Another court battle involves his $900,000 Porsche 918 Spyder which caught fire and went up in flames at a petrol station in Caledon. Dragon’s Den star Michael Wekerle is suing Porsche and a number of parties after his $1 million Porsche Spyder went up in flames at a Caledon gas station two years ago.
Michael Wekerle car collection…
Michael Wekerle’s car collection has included a Ferrari, a Porsche 918 Spyder (which caught fire), a dark blue Mercedes S550 4Matic and a Lamborghini. Not only does Wekerle have expensive cars, but he also owns a plane too. He’s familiar with private jets, as he owned a business renting out private planes with partners Gene McBurney and Bill Holland.
Michael Wekerle house…
Michael Wekerle’s house is described as sensational by Steve and Chris on CBC, when he gives them a house tour. Inside his home it’s almost as flamboyant as he is. He has precious works of art on the walls and sculptures around his plush residence. The Wek has even replaced the dining room table with a ping-pong table.
Mike Wekerle also owns approximately 105 guitars, some of which are signed by Rock ‘n’ Roll icons too, which are all in his basement at his home. He doesn’t only collect guitars though; he also collects dogs with his children. Wekerle is a dog lover and has had as many as 16 dogs at one time.
He has a large swimming pool in his house with images of four of his children made out of rubix cubes around the pool.
He has also owned a 10,000 square foot mansion in Fort Lauderdale, which he put up for sale in 2014.
Charity giving and other interests away from business…
Michael Wekerle is a supporter of basket ball team the Raptors. He’s often seen at the games and he’s been known to paint his face too.
Seen here with a fellow Raptors fan…
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