Robert Deignan founded ATS Digital Services in 2011, and much to his surprise the company grew quickly and it became stronger as the result of the digital age. Born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Deignan was used to a faced paced way of life. It was no surprise to him that the world of technology was catching everyone up to speed in just about every area of business. Although Deignan had a short relationship with the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets, he wanted to settle into a different way of life. Having worked in technology before, he came up with an idea for a business that would aid in the growth and use of technology for years to come.
Deignan’s first experience with software was acquired while working with an Anti-Malware Software company. After having technical issues getting software installed on a user’s machine, he considered that there was an opportunity here for a business. He created a trial software strategy, giving it a chance to get in front of more users. Those who wanted to try it out could sign up for a few weeks. When users struggled to make the software work, they decided to create a page where users could contact them by phone and walk them through the process to determine where the problem was.
Deignan knew that he was onto something, even more so due to the fact that it was simple for the user to contact them, and walking them through the entire process made it easy to identify the problem areas. Once they discovered that the issuers of malware were blocking their download, they knew they were up against a strong force. Deignan and his team continued to work on the software and the opportunity to make it great.
Enhancing the remote connection in order to help customers was a great way to not only build relationships, but to acquire lifelong customers and give them the very best care available. Problem solving and troubleshooting quickly and easily would lead Deignan and his team down the right path for long-term success.
As well-known Sinophiles, Randy Ray and Wendy Lewis had worked and traveled extensively throughout the East Asia region for both business and pleasure. The entrepreneurial couple quickly fell in love with the place and its people, recognizing an enormous opportunity that was about to be unleashed on the world. The fact that so many people throughout the East Asia region had been stifled by the communist jackboot meant that with the ever-increasing free market reforms, soon, there would be a flood of high-grade entrepreneurial energy and talent onto the world stage.
It was this key insight that has helped Ray and Lewis, founders of Jeunesse Global, to grow their latest business venturewith such stunning rapidity. From the beginning, Ray and Lewis knew that they wanted to focus on creating a company that would help to spread real economic opportunity across the globe. They especially wanted to help those from less-advantaged regions of the planet. But they were no starry-eyed neophytes. Decades of business experience and hands-on leadership had given Ray and Lewis an up-close look at some of the more dysfunctional regions of the planet. They knew that they were not going on any economic suicide missions to save Sierra Leone from itself or to quell unrest in Yemen.
But in East Asia, Ray and Lewis saw an opportunity to genuinely offer help to people who genuinely possessed huge reserves of human capital. This bet has proven to be spectacularly well placed. Jeunesse Global has experienced exponential growth in every year of its existence. For a company that was founded out of Ray and Lewis’ garage just eight years ago, the firm is now valued at more than $1 billion and counts tens of thousands of distributors across its ranks. Most of the company’s incredible growth has been driven by its East Asian operations.
What comes next for Jeunesse Global? Neither Ray or Lewis are willing to make hard predictions. But both entrepreneurs have stated unambiguously that East Asia will continue to be a central focus for the company into the future. Ray and Lewis say that Jeunesse’s real potential there hasn’t even started to be revealed.
David Zalik may be one of the most publicity-averse CEOs of any major corporation in the country. It may seem strange, then, that he has made the decision to go against Silicon Valley conventional wisdom and take the plunge of bringing his fintech company, GreenSky Credit, through the IPO process. But Zalik has calculated that he now has far more to gain than to lose by making GreenSky Credit into a public company, which will no doubt instantly place it among the largest publicly traded fintech firms in the country.
Zalik is a true entrepreneur. A former child prodigy, he began attending college at age 12 but dropped out shortly thereafter in order to found his own computer assembly business. Called MicroTech, the company did well. 10 years later, Zalik was able to sell the company for around $5 million. He then took his profits and reinvested them into Atlanta-area commercial real estate. Again, this proved to be a good investment as real estate prices appreciated considerably.
By the time he was 32, Zalik was worth around $10 million. He had dabbled in a number of other enterprises. Some of his experience in working with home remodeling businesses led him to believe that there was a strong opportunity for providing instant loans to contractors who were facing customers without the means to immediately complete home remodeling jobs. With this in mind, he founded GreenSky Credit in 2006.
But Zalik quickly realized that he had undertaken a seriously demanding project. He was eventually forced to mortgage all of his own commercial real estate, effectively betting everything he had on the future success of the company. While there were some rough times at the start, his bet would eventually prove to be a good one.
Today, GreenSky Credit is estimated to be worth more than $4.5 billion. It is partnered with 14 of the largest lenders in the United States, including Fifth Third, Sun Trust and Region’s bank. It has also signed up more than 17,000 merchants, representing everything from window installers to plastic surgeons. The planned IPOof GreenSky Credit may be the largest fintech IPO in history.