While the name Gary Vaynerchuck is not a household name, the businessman turned angel investor has attracted a significant amount of attention in the investment world. His estimated net worth has reached more than $100 million, and with his approach to taking what he calls “calculated risks” he could either double that number in a few years or perhaps even triple it in fairly short order.
Vaynerchuck took the standard approach to business by going to college and graduating. Once out the door, he took over his father’s liquor store and 8 years later would smartly move it to the Internet in 2006, turning it into Wine Library TV. Up[on taking over his father’s business it had an estimated value of $3 million. By transforming it into a service its value rose to more than $60 million.
The $60 million ended up being seed money for his next business venture, VaynerMedia. It would require him to step away from running Wine Library TV, but he would move into the lucrative field of providing social media and strategy services for companies doing business on the Internet. But not just any company, as Vaynerchuck would focus on Fortune 500 companies. The early years at VaynerMedia would bring him an estimated $100 million in revenue, hiring more than 600 people along the way.
But his multiple sources of income would extend beyond working 100 hour weeks. He ventured into becoming an angel investor, one of the more prominent choices being women’s publisher PowWow. He also took some of his money and invested in Venmo, Twitter, and Facebook, all extremely successful ventures. As a result of these ventures, Entrepreneur magazine placed his 2017 net worth at around $160 million.
Social media would be the key to the future success of Vaynerchuck, as he would continue to experiment with a number of different social media options to find the right niche for his knowledge and experience. This approach often resulted in the consistent criticism of the established generation of business executives, citing his success was the result of being more of a huckster than a professional business person. However, this criticism seems to have backfired, as it only spurred interest and income for Vaynerchuck’s offerings.
Once he became more and more recognized in media-oriented social media circles, he would take the next natural step to taking advantage of his newfound notoriety. No less than Apple Computer would set him in a starring role in a Shark Tank variation called Planet of the Apps. It was a reality show series that includes will.i.am and Gwyneth Paltrow, who interview potential app developers and decide whether they have what it takes to be successful in the highly competitive world of mobile apps
Again capitalizing on his public criticism, he had managed to appear on the December 2008 cover of Mutineer magazine, appropriately named, and decided to create a “Mutineer Interview” series of videos. Vaynerchuk was able to have a number of well-known names in the business and entertainment industries to appear on the show, including Jancis Robinson, Heidi Barrett, Kevin Rose, Timothy Ferriss, CNBC investment reporter and advisor Jim Cramer, hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, and broadcast personality and former NFL coach Dick Vermeil.
There are a number of other social media and Internet ventures Vaynerchuk saw his way through, including a book deal with Harper Studio that has earned him an estimated $1 million a year, not including benefits and royalties. Four of the five books he has published over the last several years have made the number one place on both the Amazon.com listings and the New York Times Best Seller list. His fifth book is expected to gain yet another group of media followers, and while there are no current hints as to a sixth book, there is no reason to expect one is not forthcoming shortly.
The one puzzling thing about all of Vaynerchuk’s success and net worth estimates is what happened to Entrepreneur’s $160 million valuation just a few years ago? He continues to reap in the rewards from his earlier efforts, and continues to upset the more conventional wisdom with his success. Why isn’t he worth more than $200 million given his consistent streak of success? It appears that the current valuation may be very underestimated, so stay tuned for more as we continue to update this story.