Gary Vaynerchuk (born Gennady Vaynerchuk on November 14, 1975), is an American serial entrepreneur, four-time New York Times bestselling author, speaker and internationally recognized internet personality. First known as a leading wine critic who grew his familys wine business from $3 million to $60 million, Vaynerchuk is best known as a digital marketing and social-media pioneer at the helm of New York-based VaynerMedia and VaynerX.
Vaynerchuk was born in the Babruysk,Belarus, and immigrated to the United States in 1978. Gary and eight family members lived in a studio-apartment in Queens, New York. After living in Queens, Vaynerchuk and his family moved to Edison, New Jersey where Vaynerchuk operated a lemonade-stand franchise and earned thousands of dollars on weekends trading baseball cards. At age 14, he joined his family’s retail-wine business. Vaynerchuk graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts in 1998.
After graduating from college in 1999 Vaynerchuk assumed day-to-day control of his father’s Springfield, New Jersey store, Shopper’s Discount Liquors. Gary renamed the store to Wine Library, launched sales online and in 2006 started Wine Library TV, a daily webcast covering wine.
Through a combination of e-commerce, email marketing, and pricing, Vaynerchuk grew the business from $3 million to $60 million a year by 2005. In August 2011, Vaynerchuk announced he would be stepping away to build VaynerMedia, the digital ad agency he co-founded with his brother in 2009.
In 2009, Gary, along with his brother AJ Vaynerchuk, founded VaynerMedia, a social media-focused digital agency. The company provides social media and strategy services to Fortune 500 companies such as General Electric, Anheuser-Busch, Mondelez and PepsiCo. In 2015, VaynerMedia was named one of AdAge‘s A-List agencies. With 600 employees in 2016, VaynerMedia grossed $100 million in revenue. The company also partnered with Vimeo to connect brands and filmmakers for digital content.
In 2017 The Wall Street Journal reported that Vaynerchuk formed The Gallery, a new company that houses PureWow following its acquisition by Vaynerchuk and RSE Ventures along with other media and creative-content properties.PureWow CEO, Ryan Harwood, is The Gallery’s CEO. A sister company to digital agency, VaynerMedia, Marketing Dive wrote that “joining forces with VaynerMedia grants access to increased video capabilities given the in-house teams and resources.”
Vaynerchuk has made a number of personal investments as an angel investor including in womens publisher, PureWow, in 2017. He has also invested in Facebook, Twitter, Venmo and dozens of other startups. In 2017 Entrepreneur magazine put Vaynerchuk’s net worth at $160 million.
After exits in Tumblr and Buddy Media, Vaynerchuk started VaynerRSE as a $25 Million investment fund with RSE Ventures’ Matt Higgins and backed by Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross. The fund focuses on consumer technology and acts as an incubator in addition to traditional angel investing.
In 2014, Vaynerchuk partnered with social TV entrepreneurs Jesse Redniss and David Beck to form BRaVe Ventures. The firm advises television networks on emerging technology and funds and incubates emerging multi-screen and social network startups and technologies. In November 2016 Variety magazine reported that Turner Broadcasting System acquired the advisory business of BRaVe Ventures to develop business and strategy for its flagship brands, TBS and TNT.
In 2016 Vaynerchuk invested in the sports agency, Symmetry, to form VaynerSports to provide full-service athlete representation. In 2017 VaynerSports signed NFL draft participants including Jalen Reeves Maybin and Jon Toth.
Planet of the Apps
In February 2017, Apple and Propagate announced the launch of Planet of the Apps, a reality television series with a recurring cast that includes Vaynerchuk, will.i.am and Gwyneth Paltrow. Described as Shark Tank meets American Idol, in the show Vaynerchuk and team evaluate pitches from app developers vying for investment. The series cast joined with Product Hunt for a tour to Austin, San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
DailyVee is a daily, video-documentary series on YouTube that chronicles Vaynerchuk’s life as a businessman. Started in 2015, Vaynerchuk records live, interviewing others and broadcasting investor meetings and strategy sessions at VaynerMedia. In the series Vaynerchuk implements social media strategies, especially through Snapchat to demonstrate social-media marketing.
The #AskGaryVee Show
In 2014, Vaynerchuk launched The #AskGaryVee Show on YouTube with his personal content-production team. In the show, Vaynerchuk canvases questions from Twitter and Instagram and responds in a signature, extemporaneous manner. Show questions, most commonly on entrepreneurship, family and business topics, are pre-screened by the production team but remain unseen by Vaynerchuk until each shows taping. The AskGaryVee Show inspired Vaynerchuks fourth book, AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness.
Wine Library TV
Vaynerchuk hosted a video blog on YouTube called Wine Library TV (WLTV or The Thunder Show) from 2006 to 2011, featuring wine reviews, tastings, and wine advice. The show debuted in February 2006 and was produced daily at the Wine Library store in Springfield, New Jersey. Vaynerchuk appeared on the cover of the December 2008 issue of Mutineer Magazine, launching the “Mutineer Interview” series. Celebrity guests included Jancis Robinson, Heidi Barrett, Kevin Rose, Timothy Ferriss, Jim Cramer of CNBC’s Mad Money, Wayne Gretzky, and Dick Vermeil.
At 1,000 episodes in 2011 Vaynerchuk retired the show and replaced it with a video podcast, The Daily Grape. In August 2011, Vaynerchuk announced on Daily Grape that he was retiring from wine video blogging.
Wine & Web
In 2010, Vaynerchuk launched Wine & Web on Sirius XM satellite radio. The shows programming paired new wine tastings in a Wine of the Week segment with coverage of gadgets, trends and startups in its Web of the Week segment.
In March 2009, Vaynerchuk signed a 10-book deal with HarperStudio for over $1,000,000 and released the first book, Crush It! Why Now is the Time to Cash in on your Passion, in October 2009. In the first weeks of its release Crush It! climbed to #1 on the Amazon Best Seller list for Web Marketing books. It also opened at number two on the New York Times Hardcover Advice bestseller list and on the Wall Street Journal bestseller List.Crush It! was featured in ReadWrite, CBS News, and Psychology Today.Crush It! was also among the first books released on the Vook platform.
The Thank You Economy
In 2011, Vaynerchuks second book, The Thank You Economy reached the number two spot on the New York Times hardcover advice bestseller list. The Thank You Economy explores the numbers and soft factors that drive successful relationships between businesses and consumers.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right-Hook
In 2013, Vaynerchuk released his third book, Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World, through publisher Harper Business. By highlighting campaigns and strategies that both succeeded and failed across all of the major social-media platforms, Vaynerchuk’s third book shows social media marketing strategies and tactics that businesses should be avoiding or employing. Jab, Jab, Jab, Right-Hook debuted at the top of the Wall Street Journal’s business books list and at number four on the New York Times hardcover advice bestseller list.
AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness
In March 2016, Vaynerchuk released his fourth book, AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness, under publisher Harper Business, part of Harper Collins. Based on Vaynerchuk’s YouTube series, #AskGaryVee, Vaynerchuk compiled the best questions and answers from his YouTube show into a novel based on categories including self-awareness, parenting and entrepreneurial hustle. #AskGaryVee marks Vaynerchuk’s fourth New York Times bestseller.
Vaynerchuk has been featured in “The New York Times“,The Wall Street Journal,GQ, and Time, and has appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and Ellen. In the 2000s, Vaynerchuk was described as “the first wine guru of the YouTube era”, “the wine world’s new superstar”, and by Rob Newsom, a Washington State wine maker, “outside of Robert Parker, probably the most influential wine critic in the United States”. In 2003, Market Watch magazine awarded Gary Vaynerchuk its Market Watch Leader” award, making him its youngest recipient. In July 2009 Decanter ranked Vaynerchuk at #40 on “The Power List” ranking of the wine industry’s individuals of influence, citing that he “represents the power of blogging”.
In 2011, The Wall Street Journal named Vaynerchuk to its list of Twitters Small Business Big Shots and Bloombergs Business Week named him to its list of 20 People Every Entrepreneur Should Follow. In 2013, Vaynerchuk made the November cover of Inc. magazine in a feature on “How to Master the 4 Big Social-Media Platforms.
In 2014, he was named to Fortunes 40 Under 40 and selected to judge the Miss America pageant. In 2015 he was named to Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40 and named to Inc.s list of Top 25 Social Media Keynote Speakers You Need to Know. In 2016 Vaynerchuk was a judge for the Genius Awards.