Jon Oringer

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Jonathan E. Oringer
Born (1974-05-02) May 2, 1974 (age 49)
EducationStony Brook University
Columbia University
TitleFounder and CEO, Shutterstock

Jon Oringer (born May 2, 1974) is an American programmer, photographer, and billionaire businessman, best known as the founder and CEO of Shutterstock, a stock media company headquartered in New York City.[1] Oringer started his career while a college student in the 1990s, when he created "one of the Web's first pop-up blockers."[1][2] He went on to found about ten small startups[3] that used a subscription method to sell "personal firewalls, accounting software, cookie blockers, trademark managers," and other small programs.[1]

In 2003, Oringer founded Shutterstock to provide microstock photography, which has been publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange[4] since 2012.[4][5] As a result of going public, in 2013 Oringer was reported to be New York's first tech billionaire.[1] Shutterstock had over 100,000 contributors as of March 2016,[6] with an "active customer base of 1.4 million people in 150 countries."[7] Among other accolades, in 2012 Oringer was named New York's Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young,[8] and the following year Oringer was recognized as one of Crain's New York[9] 40 Under 40.[10]

Early life and education[edit]

Jon Oringer was born in 1974[11] in Scarsdale, New York, where he spent his childhood.[12] He began learning computer programming in elementary school[1] at the age of five,[12] using his Apple IIe to code "simple games and plug-ins for bulletin board systems."[1] As he grew older he also developed his own photos as a hobby.[13] Attending Scarsdale High School from 1988 to 1992,[14] by the age of fifteen Oringer was teaching guitar lessons for cash,[15] later moving on to fixing computers out of his parents house[3] when he realized it was more lucrative.[15] Oringer started selling his own software products over the internet[15] when he began attending Stony Brook University in 1993,[14] inventing and selling thousands of copies of what Forbes describes as "one of the Web's first pop-up blockers."[1][2] After graduating with a BS in computer science and mathematics in 1997,[14] from 1996 to 1998 he studied computer science at Columbia University, graduating with an MS.[14] While enrolled at Columbia he continued "trying to create products to complement the pop-up blocker,"[1] using a subscription model[16] to sell "personal firewalls, accounting software, cookie blockers, trademark managers," and other small programs.[1] Oringer estimates that he founded about ten small startup companies, most of which had Oringer as the sole employee.[3]


Founding Shutterstock[edit]

While marketing his software through a mailing list,[1] Oringer realized that emails with photos were better received than emails without. Finding it difficult to find affordable generic stock photos online,[1] in 2003[12] he purchased a Canon Rebel camera[1] to take pictures for a new stock-photo marketplace that catered to advertisers and "microstock photography."[13] Oringer went on to take about 100,000 of his own images over six months,[12] eventually posting a culled collection of 30,000 images to a new website he named Shutterstock.[12] Funding Shutterstock entirely with his savings,[3] Oringer rented a 600-square-foot office in New York for the company[1] and initially handled all roles himself, including customer service.[3] Like his previous projects he made the photographs available via subscription,[1] with unlimited downloads and a monthly starting fee of US$49.[1] He also advertised Shutterstock on platforms such as Google AdWords.[3]

Initially hiring friends to serve as models for the stock photos,[3] Oringer later hired a photo director to organize shoots for the company.[1] When demand exceeded his photo supply,[1] he became an agent[17] and hired additional contributors,[1] also hiring a team of reviewers to ensure "editorial consistency and quality."[18]


In May 2012, Oringer brought Shutterstock public after filing for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange, which it completed on October 17, 2012.[4][5] After going public, Oringer continued to own about 55 percent of Shutterstock, largely through the investment company Pixel Holdings.[11] Stock value over the ensuing year increased considerably, and on June 28, 2013,[11] Andre Sequin, an analyst at RBC Capital Market,[11] announced Oringer as the "first billionaire to come out of Silicon Alley - New York's thriving tech sector."[3] His net wealth at the time was estimated at US$1.05 billion.[11][16]

Recent developments[edit]

In 2014, Oringer spoke at 2014 Class Day at the Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science.[19][20] After maintaining its New York headquarters for years in a Wall Street office,[1] in March 2014 Oringer relocated Shutterstock to the Empire State Building.[21]

In January 2015, Oringer oversaw Shutterstock's acquisition of both Rex Features, Europe's largest independent photo press agency,[22] and PremiumBeat,[22][23] a stock music and sound effects service.

Following Shutterstock's decision to implement a tool to censor results in China, Oringer defended the company's decision when faced with an employee petition against the system.[24]

In February 2020, Oringer announced that he would be stepping down as Shutterstock CEO effective April 2020, and would become executive chairman.[25]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Oringer has been recognized with a number of business awards, and in 2009 he was selected 41st on the Silicon Alley 100, an annual list of the 100 most influential entrepreneurs, investors, executives, and technologists in Manhattan.[26] Business Insider named Oringer the coolest person in all of New York technology in 2013.[27] Oringer was recognized in June 2012 as New York's Technology Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young,[8] and the following year Oringer was recognized as one of Crain's New York class of 2013[9] 40 Under 40.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Based in West Village[2] in Manhattan,[3] around 2012[3] Oringer became a certified commercial helicopter pilot.[28]

In 2020, Oringer paid $42 million for a Miami Beach mansion, marking a record on North Bay Road.[29]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Steven Bertoni, "Silicon Alley's First Billionaire Aims To Dominate Images On Web", Forbes, October 28, 2013
  2. ^ a b c "Jonathan Oringer 2016 Billionaires List: Dropoff". Forbes. 2016. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gittleson, Kim (August 12, 2013). "How Jon Oringer became Silicon Alley's first billionaire". BBC. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c "Shutterstock Celebrates IPO on the NYSE", NYSE Press Release, October 17, 2012 Archived February 2, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ a b "Form S-1, Shutterstock, Inc". May 14, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  6. ^ "Shutterstock Editorial announces multiyear U.S. distribution deal with AP". Associated Press. March 9, 2016. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  7. ^ Zipkin, Nina (March 10, 2016). "How Shutterstock Is Training Its System to Help You Find Better Photos". Entrepreneur. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  8. ^ a b "EY announces winners for the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2012 New York Award". Ernst & Young. Archived from the original on April 16, 2015.
  9. ^ a b "40 under 40: Class of 2013". Crain's New York Business. Archived from the original on March 27, 2015.
  10. ^ a b Flamm, Matthew (June 22, 2015). "Shutterstock beats Getty, partners with Variety, WWD publisher". Crain's New York. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  11. ^ a b c d e de Jong, David. "Shutterstock Creates First Silicon Alley Billionaire". Bloomberg Businessweek. Bloomberg. Retrieved April 16, 2015.
  12. ^ a b c d e Milord, Joseph (July 3, 2013). "The Life And Times Of Jon Oringer, Silicon Alley's First Billionaire". Elite Daily Magazine.
  13. ^ a b Oringer, Jon (January 12, 2016). "Jon Oringer, Businessman". New York Magazine. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d "Jon Oringer Profile". LinkedIn. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  15. ^ a b c Bryant, Adam (June 20, 2013). "Jon Oringer of Shutterstock, on the Power of the Hackathon". The New York Times. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  16. ^ a b Lytton-Dickie, Tom (June 12, 2014). "How the first Silicon Alley billionaire launched Shutterstock". Hot Topics. Archived from the original on February 10, 2015.
  17. ^ "Small Business: How to Beat a Goliath"SmartMoney, February 2, 2009 Archived July 2, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Garber, Megan (May 18, 2012). "The Tao of Shutterstock: What Makes a Stock Photo a Stock Photo?". The Atlantic. Retrieved June 15, 2016.
  19. ^ "How Jon Oringer Doubled Down on Failure (and Won)". 2014. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  20. ^ Kalikoff, Eva (May 20, 2014). "At SEAS Class Day, Oringer tells graduates to expect failure before success". Columbia Spectator. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  21. ^ Will Yakowicz, "How Shutterstock Used Data to Cut Staff Commutes", Inc., May 5, 2014
  22. ^ a b By Frederic Lardinois. "Shutterstock Acquires Rex Features And PremiumBeat," TechCrunch, January 15, 2015.
  23. ^ "Website and about". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  24. ^ Biddle, Sam (November 6, 2019). "In China, Shutterstock Censors Hong Kong and Other Searches". The Intercept. Shutterstock's founder and CEO Jon Oringer replied to the petition several days later; those hoping for a change of heart were to be disappointed. Shutterstock's pro-censorship compromise with the Chinese government was justified, Oringer argued, because to refuse to do business in China rather than help the country's government expand its information control scheme would be the real act of craven corporate turpitude: "Do we make the majority of our content available to China's 1.3 billion citizens or do we take away their ability to access it entirely? We ultimately believe, consistent with our brand promise, it is more valuable for storytellers to have access to our collection to creatively and impactfully tell their stories." Shutterstock with a bespoke censorship feature was "more empowering" and "will better serve the people of China than the alternative," Oringer continued.
  25. ^ "Shutterstock founder and CEO Jon Oringer steps down after 16 years". TechCrunch. February 13, 2020. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  26. ^ Oringer, Jon (December 9, 2009). "Number 41". Silicon Alley Insider. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  27. ^ Dickey, Megan Rose (October 25, 2013). " "SA 100 2013: The Coolest People In New York Tech". Business Insider. Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  28. ^ "Shutterstock About Us Page". Retrieved June 24, 2016.
  29. ^ Manrodt, Alexis (October 29, 2020). "Jon Oringer Buys Miami Beach Mansion For $42M". The Real Deal South Florida. Retrieved October 30, 2020.

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