Gilbert in 2018
January 17, 1962
|Alma mater||Michigan State University (BA);|
Wayne State University Law School (JD)
|Occupation||Cofounder/Chairman of Quicken Loans|
Majority Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers
|Net worth||US $49.6 billion|
|Relatives||Gary Gilbert (brother)|
|Awards||2016 NBA Champion|
2016 Calder Cup Champion
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Daniel Gilbert (born January 17, 1962) is an American billionaire businessman and investor. He is the cofounder of Quicken Loans, founder of Rock Ventures, and owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert owns several sports franchises, including the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters, and the NBA G League's Canton Charge. He operates the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, home to the Cavaliers and Monsters. Gilbert is the chairman of JACK Entertainment (formerly Rock Gaming), which opened its first Horseshoe Casino (now JACK Cleveland Casino) in downtown Cleveland in May 2012.
As of August 2020, his net worth is $49.6 billion, making him the 21st richest person in the world and 15th richest in the US.
Early life and education
Gilbert was born to a Jewish family in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Southfield, Michigan, where he attended Southfield-Lathrup High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School, and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. While in college he earned a real estate agent's license and while in law school, he worked part-time at his parents' Century 21 Real Estate agency.
Gilbert, recognizing that the real potential was in originating mortgages and not in selling homes, founded Rock Financial in 1985 with his younger brother Gary Gilbert. The company grew into one of the largest independent mortgage lenders in the United States. In the late 1990s, the company launched its internet strategy and quickly positioned itself as the fastest-growing direct mortgage lender online. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company became the largest retail mortgage lender by volume in the United States.
Gilbert remained at the company as CEO. In 2000, software maker Intuit Inc. purchased Rock Financial. It renamed the national web operation Quicken Loans and grew substantially as the leading provider of direct-to-consumer home loans on the internet, offering mortgages in all 50 states. In 2002, he led a small group of private investors that purchased Quicken Loans and its affiliated national title company, Title Source, Inc., from Intuit. Gilbert continues to serve as the chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.
In an effort to revive the city of Detroit, Gilbert moved the headquarters of Quicken Loans to the downtown area. Being the nation's largest mortgage company at the time, Gilbert hoped that positioning Quicken Loans there would have a rejuvenating impact on the community through job creation. In 2007, Gilbert and the city of Detroit announced an agreement that would move the company’s headquarters to downtown Detroit. The headquarters would be located on the site of the former Statler Hotel on Grand Circus Park. The company officially moved there in August 2010, bringing with them an initial 1,700 new employees to the city.
All 3,600 Michigan-based team members moved into Detroit's urban core by the end of 2010. As of 2017, the company had approximately 17,000 staff in downtown Detroit and a total of 24,000 nationwide. This makes the company Detroit’s largest employer and taxpayer and one of the largest employers of minority workers.
As of 2017, the company has given nearly $100 million in direct contributions to non-profits around the city. The company's main goal, one shared by the NAACP, is to change the narrative surrounding Detroit and to build a brighter future for the city through economic growth and community development. Detroit has been long seen in a negative way, dubbed “the nation’s blackest city”. Gilbert and his company want to highlight the good this moniker can bring.
In August 2020, Quicken loans went public under the name Rocket Companies and made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “RKT.” Gilbert still remains the majority owner, controlling 79% of the company’s shares. Gilbert's huge increase in net worth during the coronavirus pandemic is largely attributed to his company going public.
Today, Quicken Loans owns around 9% of the market share in the residential home mortgage lender industry. It puts more people in new homes across the country than competitors like JPMorgan Chase, but its impact is most felt in Detroit. Gilbert remains fully committed to bettering Detroit. He still has full control of his real estate company Bedrock. Bedrock owns more than 18 million square feet of space across many buildings in downtown Detroit. Quicken Loans is now the largest mortgage lender in the US due to the low interest rate it offers. It helped fuel a boom in refinancing loans this year that was vital during the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic was the perfect storm for this business. Quicken Loans is an online business, so during a time of increased online business transactions, business surged. In addition, in order to spur the economy, the Federal Reserve drastically decreased interest rates. This generated more residential home sales and refinances. On top of all of that, urban flight dramatically increased during the pandemic, generating a lot more residential home sales. All of these factors increased Gilbert’s profits exponentially. The final cherry on top was Quicken Loans went public during the summer of 2020. The timing of their public offering could not have been more fortuitous.
Sports franchise ownership
- Gilbert became majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2005 and undertook a complete overhaul of the front office, coaching staff, player personnel and game presentation. During Gilbert's tenure, the Cavs won six Central Division championships (2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), five Eastern Conference championships (2007, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), and one NBA championship (2016) which ended the 52-year Cleveland sports curse. Also in 2016, Gilbert's Lake Erie Monsters won the AHL's top prize – the Calder Cup – giving Gilbert two championships within eight days.
- In 2007, Gilbert bought the dormant Utah Grizzlies American Hockey League franchise, moved it to Cleveland and renamed it the Lake Erie Monsters (now Cleveland Monsters).
- In 2011, Gilbert purchased the New Mexico Thunderbirds from what was then the NBA Developmental League (now called the G League), and moved them to Canton, Ohio (about an hour drive south of Cleveland) renaming them the Canton Charge, and making them the Cavaliers' affiliate.
- In early 2012, Gilbert became the new owner of the Arena Football League's Cleveland Gladiators.
Gilbert received national attention July 8, 2010, when NBA basketball superstar and northeast Ohio native LeBron James announced that he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat on a highly criticized ESPN television special dubbed The Decision. Following the special, Gilbert published an open letter in Comic Sans font (dubbed nationally as "The Letter" as a counterpoint to The Decision) to Cleveland Cavaliers fans in which he strongly criticized how James made his announcement. On July 12, 2010, NBA Commissioner David Stern fined Gilbert $100,000 for his remarks in the letter. Gilbert has since regretted the open letter, which he wrote in 45 minutes when emotions were running high, and it was taken down from the team website after a few weeks but remained widely available on the Internet. Though some members of the media criticized Gilbert for this letter, many Cleveland Cavaliers fans embraced him for it and even offered to pay the fine. Gilbert instead insisted on donating the money to charity.
Four years later when James opted out of his contract with Miami, Gilbert and James met privately. Gilbert apologized to LeBron for the open letter, stating "LeBron, we had five good years together and one bad night; like a marriage that's good and then one bad thing happens and you never talk to each other again." James also expressed his regret to Gilbert about The Decision. The two embraced, and James subsequently returned to Cleveland in free agency days later. James explained his homecoming to Cleveland in his Sports Illustrated announcement writing "I've met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We've talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"
Later, in 2017 James revisited the letter, commenting in GQ magazine he felt the letter had racial overtones. And in an interview with Uninterrupted, James described the letter as disrespectful.
Other businesses and investments
- Gilbert is a founding partner in private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC (RBE). The partnership invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing, and the sports and entertainment industries.
- RBE has significant investments in Gas Station TV, Robb Report, RapidAdvance, Northcentral University, Protect America, AccountNow, Purchasing Power, Triad Retail Media, One on One Marketing, and Connect America.
- Gilbert is also an investor in Courtside Ventures, a venture capital fund investing across early-stage technology and media companies with a focus on sports and a founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), a venture capital firm that funds start-up and early-stage technology companies based primarily in Detroit. Some of the companies DVP has invested in includes, LevelEleven, iRule and Marxent Labs.
- In addition, Gilbert recently cofounded StockX, a stock market of things for high-demand, limited edition products such as sneakers. Gilbert is also invested and involved in the operation of several consumer-based technology-centered businesses, including Fathead, Veritix, Xenith, StyleCaster and Quizzle.
- Gilbert launched Bizdom in 2007. Today, this non-profit promotes both tech and brick-and-mortar entrepreneurship in Detroit and Cleveland by supporting on-the-ground service providers, as well as leveraging its connections with Quicken Loans and the Rock Ventures Family of Companies to accelerate the growth and development of small businesses.
- In November 2009, Gilbert and a group of partners successfully backed a statewide referendum to bring casino gaming to Ohio's four largest cities. Through a joint venture with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the groups operate urban-based casinos in both Cleveland and Cincinnati. The first of the casinos, Horseshoe Cleveland, opened in May 2012. In 2013, Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity for Gilbert's investments and real estate holdings, announced it had formed Athens Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Rock Gaming, and acquired the majority interest in Greektown Superholdings Inc., owner of the Greektown Casino-Hotel located in downtown Detroit. In late 2018, Gilbert bought the online dictionaries, Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com.
- According to professional Call of Duty player Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag, Gilbert has made a multimillion-dollar investment into Nadeshot's eSports team called 100Thieves.
Dan Gilbert, more than any other individual, epitomizes the new Detroit. He acts as a cheerleader for the city’s new vision and what it hopes to become. Owning more than 80 buildings in downtown, Gilbert curates the feeling of the streets. He advises the city on how to redesign parks, throws events for tourists, and he picks and invests in shops that fit those newer, high-end aesthetics. Gilbert’s mission is to make hundreds of millions of dollars on the cheap real estate in Detroit while transforming downtown into a world-class destination for tourists and businesses. Above all, his mission is to do good for the city. He wants to redevelop the city but also rebrand it. He doesn’t want people to think negatively about Detroit. He wants people to see the opportunity that lies in the city. Although Gilbert’s aim has always been to use his wealth for the good of the city, he has been criticized for his monopoly like control over the city. Locals often refer to the part of downtown he is redeveloping as “Gilbertville.”
- Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its team members to downtown Detroit in August 2010, where Gilbert and the company are helping lead a revitalization of Detroit's urban core. Today, Gilbert-owned businesses employ more than 17,000 people in the city.
- In 2011, Gilbert's Bedrock Detroit purchased several buildings in downtown Detroit, including the historic Madison Theatre Building, Chase Tower and Two Detroit Center (parking garage), Dime Building (renamed Chrysler House), First National Building and three smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue. In 2012, Bedrock Detroit purchased the former Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Building, One Woodward Avenue, 1201 Woodward (Kresge Building), and five smaller buildings on Woodward Avenue and Broadway Street, totaling 630,000 square feet of commercial space in downtown Detroit. In 2013, Bedrock Detroit purchased the 1001 Woodward office tower, several smaller buildings in the downtown area and announced, along with The Downtown Detroit Partnership and the Detroit Economic Growth Group, a placemaking plan for revitalizing Detroit's urban core.
- Bedrock Detroit's downtown Detroit real estate investments include more than 90 properties (buildings and/or store fronts) totaling 15 million square feet.
- In 2015, he purchased Book Tower in Detroit, MI.
- In September 2013, Gilbert was named co-chair of the Blight Removal Task Force. The group, appointed by the Obama Administration[when?], published a detailed plan in May 2014 to remove all blighted structures and lots in the City of Detroit.
- Gilbert has been cited as a leader in downtown Detroit redevelopment initiatives. A 2017 Politico Magazine article named Gilbert one of "America's 11 Most Interesting Mayors", listing him as though he were Mayor of Detroit due to his role in the city's development.
- In September 2017, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Gilbert to lead a committee to make a Super Bowl-like bid for online retail giant Amazon to bring its second North American headquarters to Detroit.
Philanthropy and political donations
- In September 2012, Gilbert and his wife Jennifer joined The Giving Pledge, committing to give half of their wealth to philanthropy. Initiated by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in 2010, the Giving Pledge is a campaign to encourage the wealthiest people in the world to make a commitment to give most of their wealth to philanthropic causes.
- Gilbert's eldest son was born with neurofibromatosis. Gilbert established two Neurofibromatosis research clinics at the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C. and at the Dana Children's Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. Gilbert also serves on the boards of the Children's Tumor Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Children's Hospital Foundation (an affiliate of CNMC); and is the vice chairman of the not-for-profit M-1 RAIL initiative which is dedicated to promoting light-rail transportation in downtown Detroit.
- In 2015, Gilbert donated $750,000 to the presidential candidacy of Chris Christie.
- In September 2016, Gilbert donated $5 million to Wayne State University Law School, representing the largest donation in the law school's history. In October of that year, Gilbert also donated $15 million toward the planned $50-million Breslin Center renovation project at Michigan State University.
- In 2020, Gilbert’s philanthropic efforts were focused on helping the city during an unprecedented year. Detroit was hit incredibly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. His company matched any employee donations to coronavirus relief funds. He understood his employees were facing extreme pressure to keep up with their rent payments and, thus, he waived all rent, building, and parking expenses for all business tenants in April and May. In May he announced he would wave rent through the end of the year. Gilbert’s companies have poured resources, infrastructure, man power, and large amounts of money into the city over the past eight months. In March right at the beginning of the pandemic, Gilbert quickly understood the gravity of the impending pandemic and donated $1.2 million to help Detroiters, small businesses, and the healthcare system.
Gilbert resides in Michigan with his wife Jennifer Gilbert and their five children. His wife serves on the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. and also serves on the boards of ORT America and the Israeli and Overseas Committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. It was reported that on May 26, 2019, Dan Gilbert was taken to the hospital and was treated for a stroke at the age of 57.
Gilbert's son AJ Gilbert founded a branding business while in college and quickly landed a large contract with Quicken Loans.
Awards and honors
Gilbert's companies have achieved the following accolades under his watch:
- 16-time winner: JD Power Highest Customer Satisfaction Award (10 for Primary Mortgage Origination, six for Mortgage Servicing)
- 16-time Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For (2005–2017)
- 2016 Calder Cup Champion
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- "In Cleveland's Sports Revival, They Were Champions First". The New York Times. October 31, 2016. Retrieved August 14, 2019.
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- "LeBron James' decision: the transcript". ESPN. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- Foster, D J (February 16, 2014). "Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert says he doesn't regret 'The Letter'". NBC Sports. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
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- "Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert Fined $100K for LeBron Comments". SB Nation. July 12, 2010. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Albom, Mitch (July 13, 2014). "Dan Gilbert tells how he and LeBron James mended fences". USA Today. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Levin, Josh (July 11, 2014). "Nice Rebound!". Slate.
- "LeBron James Finally Addresses Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert's 'Disrespectful' Comic Sans Letter". Complex. Retrieved April 2, 2020.
- Henderson, Tom (June 6, 2014). "Rockbridge to buy owner of Gas Station TV". Crain's Detroit Business. Crain's Communications Inc. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- Kelly, Keith. "Cavaliers owner Gilbert seals deal for Robb Report". New York Post. New York Post. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- "Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity Acquires RapidAdvance" (Press release). Rockbridge Growth Equity. September 16, 2013. Archived from the original on May 22, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "About Us: The Nationwide Medical Alert System Company". Connect America. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Portfolio". Rockbridge Growth Equity Website. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- de la Merced, Michael (January 11, 2016). "Bruin Sports to Team Up With Others as Investor". Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Pinho, Kirk (August 15, 2014). "Detroit startup LevelEleven raises $2M in VC funding". Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- Henderson, Tom (January 4, 2015). "IRule to reveal $2.5M in VC; electronics investor key". Retrieved May 2, 2016.
- "DVP-Backed Marxent Labs Wants to Augment Your Shopping Experience | Xconomy". Xconomy. December 12, 2011. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
- "Portfolio". Detroit Venture Partners. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Why Cavs Owner Dan Gilbert Is Investing in Sneaker Resellers". Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- "Bizdom press release" (PDF). Bizdom. Bizdom. November 6, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
- Reindl, J.C. (January 13, 2013). "Dan Gilbert-owned company to acquire controlling interest in Greektown Casino". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Dan Gilbert buys Dictionary.com, Thesaurus.com". WXYZ. November 15, 2018. Retrieved November 16, 2018.
- Nadeshot (November 20, 2017), My Team, 100 Thieves, is BACK! (HUGE ANNOUNCEMENT), retrieved November 21, 2017
- Moskowitz, P. E., 1988- (March 7, 2017). How to kill a city : gentrification, inequality, and the fight for the neighborhood. New York, NY. ISBN 978-1-56858-523-9. OCLC 961098510.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
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- "Quicken Loans Group Buys Madison Theatre Building" (Press release). QuickenLoans.com. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Williams, Corey. "Dan Gilbert completes purchase of Chase Tower downtown, nearby parking garage". Crain's Detroit Business. Associated Press. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Duggan, Daniel (June 21, 2011). "Dan Gilbert to Buy Yet Another Building". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Duggan, Daniel. "Dan Gilbert Closes on First National Building". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Bedrock Properties". Bedrock Real Estate Services. Retrieved February 13, 2012.
- Gallagher, John. "Dan Gilbert buys Federal Reserve building in Detroit". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Gallagher, John. "Dan Gilbert buys 5 more downtown buildings as part of 'Detroit 2.0' vision". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "The David Stott Building Like A Treasure Hunt For Dan Gilbert's Renovators". Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- "Bedrock - About". www.bedrockdetroit.com. Retrieved August 31, 2016.
- Aguilar, Lewis. "Gilbert expands west, buys Book Tower". The Detroit Free Press. The Detroit Free Press. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- Billionaire Dan Gilbert has already bet $5.6 billion on Detroit's future, but money can't solve his biggest challenge, Richard Feloni Aug. 18, 2018 - Business Insider.
- Magazine, POLITICO (June 25, 2017). "America's 11 Most Interesting Mayors". POLITICO Magazine. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- Livengood, Chad (September 14, 2017). "Dan Gilbert to lead Detroit's Super Bowl-type bid for Amazon HQ2". Crain's Cleveland Business. Crain Communications. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
- Carlyle, Erin. "Meet the Eight Forbes 400 Billionaires Who Just Signed the Giving Pledge". Forbes. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
- Boyer, Mary Schmitt (October 30, 2011). "Neurofibromatosis can't change Nick Gilbert's attitude: 'Look at the bright side of everything'". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Daniel B. Gilbert". Children's Tumour Foundation. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Gomez, Henry J. (August 12, 2015). "Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert places a big bet on Chris Christie, but what about John Kasich? Ohio Politics Roundup". Cleveland.com. Retrieved October 18, 2015.
- "Dan Gilbert pledges $15 million to Michigan State and Breslin Center renovation". MLive.com. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
- "Quicken Loans Community Fund and Gilbert Family Foundation Announce $1.2 Million Donation to Address Detroit Coronavirus Impact". Quicken Loans Pressroom. March 16, 2020. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
- "Daniel Gilbert". Forbes. Retrieved June 19, 2020.
- Konstantin, Lynne (February 9, 2012). "Jennifer Gilbert is poised to revolutionize the residential interior design industry". The Detroit Jewish News. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- "Children's National Health System Dedicates Gilbert Family Professorships in Neurofibromatosis" (Press release). Children's National Medical Center. January 15, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2014.
- Siacon, Aleanna (May 28, 2019). "Dan Gilbert's Stroke: Why it can happen at any age". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved June 4, 2019.
- With a boost from Quicken, UM students build $1M branding venture in two years
- "Quicken Loans Ranks Highest in J.D. Power Study of Mortgage Servicing Client Satisfaction in Third Consecutive Year of Eligibility | Quicken Loans Pressroom" (Press release). July 28, 2016. Retrieved August 3, 2016.
- "About Us - Quicken Loans". www.quickenloans.com.