Jason Wolfe (entrepreneur)

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Jason Wolfe
ResidencePittsburgh, Pennsylvania
EducationBachelor of Science in Marketing
Alma materBloomsburg University ('92)
OccupationEntrepreneur
Known forFounder, GiftCards.com, Gift Card Granny, Direct Response Technologies, MyCoupons
Websitewolfe.com

Jason Wolfe is an American businessman and entrepreneur who is the founder and CEO of several companies, including GiftCards.com, Gift Card Granny, and GiftYa,[1][2] the largest online retailer of gift cards.[2][3][4][5][6]

Wolfe has appeared on the MSNBC program, Morning Joe[3] and has been profiled in Entrepreneur[1] and Fortune[7] (among other publications).[2] In 2015, Wolfe was awarded a Diamond Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times[8] and named Tech CEO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Tech Council.[9] In 2018, Wolfe was appointed the Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Wolfe grew up in a family of three children.[1] His father left the family when Wolfe was six years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings.[3] Wolfe's mother was disabled and on welfare.[2] In 1980 when Wolfe was 10 years old, his mother sent him to the Milton Hershey School, a boarding school for disadvantaged children in Hershey, Pennsylvania.[3][8] Wolfe graduated from the school in 1987.[11] He attributes much of his later business success to the principles he learned at the Hershey School.[3]

After graduating from the Milton Hershey School, Wolfe attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.[7] He graduated with a BS in Marketing in 1992.[8][11] Wolfe spent two years as a whitewater rafting guide in West Virginia before deciding to move to Pittsburgh. Soon after his move in 1994, he was involved in an accident that required him to undergo two spinal surgeries.[7] While recovering, he wound up living out of his jeep. He taught himself how to code by using books at the local library[1] and CompUSA's Building the Perfect Web among others[7]

Career[edit]

In 1995, Wolfe founded the first online coupon site, known initially as CouponsDirect.com.[7] The site would eventually be renamed MyCoupons.com. The business provided coupons for companies. In the first year of operation, MyCoupons only earned around $1,000.[2] By 1999, however, the business was garnering over $1 million in annual sales[7] and 20 million page views per month.[2] The company also had around 3 million registered members.[12] The company was sold to a competitor, Save.com,[7] for roughly $23 million in 2000.[13][14] Because this occurred around the time of the dot-com bust, Wolfe only received about $2 million total from the sale.[2] He reacquired MyCoupons.com in 2002.[12]

After selling and reacquiring MyCoupons, Wolfe began to build Direct Response Technologies. Its flagship product was DirectTrack, an affiliate tracking technology and platform. By 2006, DirectTrack had tracked billions of impressions and tens of millions of clicks per month. Wolfe sold Direct Response Technologies and DirectTrack to Digital River in 2006. He repurchased the GiftCards.com domain and rebranded and relaunched the site in 2008.[15][11][16][17] He also relaunched MyCoupons.com in 2007. Both companies became subsidiaries of Wolfe, LLC, a holding company that Wolfe founded in 2007. Other subsidiaries that are part of Wolfe, LLC include Omni Prepaid and Swapagift.com.[12][18]

In 2009, GiftCards.com recorded $44 million in sales.[4] In 2011, MyCoupons was earning 2 million page views per month and maintained a network of 6,000 to 8,000 retailers across the United States.[12] In 2013, Wolfe invested $1million US into GiftYa.[19] After GiftCards.com was acquired in early 2016 by Blackhawk Network Holdings, Wolfe became Gift Card Granny's CEO.[20] In December 2016, Wolfe moved the company to Green Tree, Pennsylvania (a Pittsburgh suburb) to the same facility that had earlier housed GiftCards.com.[20][21] Wolfe also invested into Forever.com in 2016[22] and in 2018 invested into Wonder Technologies.[23]

Gift Card Granny announced its alliance with The National Cyber-Forensics & Training Alliance in 2017 to help reduce fraud in the online gift card market.[24] In addition, Wolfe launched Compromised, LLC in 2017. Compromised partners with industry leaders to aggregate compromised credential data and reinvest the resources to protect consumers against cybercrime threats and fraud.[25]. Compromised was shut down in late 2019. In partnership with industry veteran, Steven VanFleet, Wolfe started Sentral, LLC in 2018.[26] Sentral provides a single point of integration for Card-Linked-Offer program providers by working with the Debit Networks.[26] Sentral, LLC is a subsidiary of Wolfe, LLC. In 2018, Wolfe invested into and joined the board of directors for Wonder Technologies, Inc.[27]

Recognition and awards[edit]

Wolfe has been nominated for and won numerous awards throughout his career. Ernst & Young named him the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia region.[28] In 2013, he was given the Pennsylvania Governor's ImPAct Award in the Entrepreneur category.[11] In 2014, he was named the Milton Hershey School's "Alumnus of the Year."[28] In 2015, the Pittsburgh Business Times honored Wolfe with a Diamond award.[8] In 2015, Wolfe was named Tech CEO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Tech Council.[29][9] In 2017, The Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association presented Wolfe with the Outstanding Entrepreneur Award.[30] In 2018, The Pittsburgh Technology Council elected Wolfe as the chairman of the organization's board of directors.[31] Wolfe was selected to the board of director's of Family Design Resources, Inc in 2018 to help with child welfare and adoption in Pennsylvania.[32]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Weiss, Geoff (July 14, 2014). "Orphaned and Homeless, How This Self-Taught Techie Founded a Multi-Million Dollar Empire". Entrepreneur. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Gittleson, Kim (July 23, 2014). "GiftCards.com boss: From orphanage to entrepreneur". BBC. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e Mika Brzezinski (host), Joe Scarborough (host), Thomas Roberts (host), Jason Wolfe (interviewee) (July 28, 2014). Overcoming the Odds. Morning Joe. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Fleisher, Chris (March 9, 2015). "GiftCards.com of Green Tree carves out niche online". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  5. ^ "Inc. 5000 2015: The Fastest-Growing Private U.S. Companies, At a Glance". Inc. Retrieved October 14, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  6. ^ Firer, Oleg (August 24, 2012). "Which Company Racked Up a Growth Rate of 23,646 Percent?". CNBC. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g Wally, Maxine (November 7, 2014). "Pittsburgh's comeback kid". Fortune. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  8. ^ a b c d Kindler, D.H. (April 24, 2015). "2015 Diamond Awards: Jason Wolfe". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  9. ^ a b Nixon, Alex (October 30, 2015). "Entrepreneur Wolfe of GiftCards.com named Tech 50 CEO of the Year". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved March 2, 2016.
  10. ^ ""Pittsburgh Technology Council names new chairman of board"". The Business Journals. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d "Entrepreneur rises above adversity to create three companies". Team Pennsylvania Foundation. November 5, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d Spencer, Malia (August 26, 2011). "MyCoupons.com finds success by tapping into extreme couponing trend". Pittsburgh Business Times. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  13. ^ Parker, Pamela (May 16, 2000). "Save.com Buys Coupon Sites in $23 Million Deal". ClickZ. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  14. ^ "Save.com Acquires MyCoupons.com and DirectCoupons.com". Bloomberg. May 15, 2000. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  15. ^ Todd, Deborah M. (May 29, 2014). "Green Tree tech firm planning campaign for gift cards". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  16. ^ "Digital River Acquires Direct Response Technologies; Expands Affiliate and E-Marketing Capabilities". Business Wire. January 25, 2006. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  17. ^ "The PrimaryAds Network, Powered by DirectTrack, Signs Letter of Intent to be Acquired by CGI Holdings Corporation – Now Known as the Think Partnership, Inc". PR Newswire. March 10, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  18. ^ "Company Overview of Wolfe, LLC". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  19. ^ GiftYa. "GiftYa™ Raises $1 Million to Develop their Patented Gift Credit System which will Transform the Gift Card Industry". PR Newswire. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  20. ^ a b "Business briefs: Good results for O'Hara firm's concussion-testing device". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 16, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  21. ^ "Gift Card Granny Moves into Green Tree Building as Pittsburgh's Newest Startup". Computer User. December 17, 2016. Retrieved January 31, 2017.
  22. ^ "Current Companies". Jason Wolfe. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  23. ^ "Gift Card Industry Veteran, Jason Wolfe, Joins Wonder Technologies, Inc. Board of Directors". PRWeb. Retrieved January 8, 2019.
  24. ^ "Gift Card Granny Announces Alliance With NCFTA to Further Reduce Fraud in the Online Gift Card Space". PRWeb. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  25. ^ "About Us". compromised.com. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  26. ^ a b "Sentral, LLC Launched to Support Growing Card-Linked Services Market". PRWeb. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  27. ^ GmbH, finanzen.net. "Gift Card Industry Veteran, Jason Wolfe, Joins Wonder Technologies, Inc. Board of Directors | Markets Insider". Business Insider. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  28. ^ a b Kiner, Deb (April 28, 2014). "Milton Hershey School names 1987 grad as alumnus of the year". The Patriot-News. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  29. ^ Todd, Deborah M. (August 10, 2015). "Pittsburgh Tech Council announces Tech 50 finalists". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved October 14, 2015.
  30. ^ "Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association Names 2017 Award Winners". Business Wire. Pittsburgh Venture Capital Association. April 5, 2017. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  31. ^ Mericle, Julia (October 25, 2018). "Pittsburgh Technology Council names new chairman of board". Pittsburgh Business Times. Pittsburgh. Retrieved November 19, 2018.
  32. ^ "Family Design Resources, Inc. : About Us : Leadership". familydesign.org. Retrieved November 19, 2018.

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