From the desk of Hayden Kibbey, BCP Intern
Dan Gilbert, Detroit native and founder of Rocket Companies, saw his net worth climb more than $25 billion when his firm, Rocket Companies, began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Bloomberg estimates his current net worth at $34.4 billion. He is the majority stakeholder of Rocket, owning roughly 1.4 billion shares or 77%. Gilbert has been the face of the movement to revitalize Detroit – his real-estate arm Rock Ventures has purchased more than 90 buildings in Detroit to the tune of close to $3.5 billion. While he is now the face of gentrification and wealth in the once-struggling city, he came from humble beginnings. Gilbert had his start delivering pizzas in college, saving $5,000 to build Rock Financial, now the mortgage lending leader Quicken Loans. He has focused much of his time and resources on rebuilding Detroit through employment growth and real-estate development. Quicken Loans is the city’s largest employer with 17,000 people working in the city. Gilbert also owns major stakes in other businesses in Detroit, including StockX, one of the city’s fastest growing startups and world-leader in the secondary sportswear market.
He has not seen this level of media attention since 2010 when LeBron James announced that he was leaving Gilbert’s team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, for the Miami Heat. Gilbert publicly released a response known as “The Letter” in which he strongly criticized James for his decision and how the announcement was made. He was fined $100,000 by the NBA for the letter, but both James and Gilbert have since apologized for their actions and have made amends.
Dan Gilbert and his wife Jennifer have signed on to The Giving Pledge, committing to give at least 50% of their wealth to philanthropic causes. The Pledge was cofounded by Warren Buffet, a close friend of Gilbert’s.