Tomas Gorny is a visionary and serial tech entrepreneur (more like Snowflake’s Mike Speiser) who has been able to turn his failures into success. At the tender age of 22, Gorny was a millionaire, having immigrated into America with $0 to his name at age 20.
He was a living testament that, indeed, America is a land of opportunities. A land that he often dreamt of moving to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
But little did he know that these very ventures were the quickest path to bankruptcy.
In this millionaire’s riches to rags story, we shall objectively sift through his long resume to give you an up-close of his business success, failures, insightful quotes, and approximate net worth.
We shall also brief you about his real estate acquisitions, family and answer a few FAQs about his unrelenting entrepreneurial journey.
Let’s start off with his biofacts;
Tomas Gorny’s Bio Facts
Full Name: Tomas Gorny
Birth Date: August 21, 1975
BirthPlace: Zabrze, Poland
Nationality: Dual Citizen; American and Polish
Children: Has 5 children.
Partner /Spouse: Undisclosed
Profession: Internet Entrepreneur, Venture Capitalist, Businessman, Investor
Net Worth: Undisclosed
CompaniesAssociated With: Nextiva, Unitedweb, Sitelock, Ipower
Tomas Gorny’s Key Facts Summary
- He earned his first millions at age 21 and lost it by age 22.
- He worked for a Zero salary in return for a 20% stake in a company.
- He founded his company at age 16.
- He dropped out of college three weeks before graduation.
- He always dreamt of relocating to America from Poland to pursue entrepreneurship.
- He is a venture capitalist that solely finances internet and technology startups with his cash.
- Was recognized as the “Business Leader of the Year” at Arizona Technology Council’s 2014 Governor’s Celebration of Innovation in 2014.
- He was named Top Tech CEO in 2017 by Phoenix Business Journal.
Tomas Gorny’s Birthplace and Early Life
Tomas Gorny was born on August 21, 1975, in Zabrze, Poland. From birth to age 14, Gorny lived under a communist regime that made life extremely difficult. For instance, one had to wait on a list for up to 10 years to get a car, electricity, or even water.
Needless to say, TV was censored, and the future was bleak at best. But not for Gorny.
“I Have a Dream”
The visionary venture capitalist dreamt of being a successful entrepreneur, a dream he confessed to his artist father at only age 8. Never mind that by then, he probably had no idea of what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
At around age 8, young Gorny often accompanied his artist father to sell paintings in the street. While here, he realized that to make more money from paintings, one had to paint faster and sell more.
With time, Gorny grew up and schooled in Poland until he was 14 when his family moved to Germany to take care of his great grandmother.
Gorny often watched American TV shows in Germany, including Beverly Hills 9021, and movies, including Wall Street. The American life fascinated him so much that he kept telling his parents that he would move to America to pursue entrepreneurial ventures.
So determined to relocate was Gorny that soon after relocating to Germany, he started selling proteins and health bars to generate enough cash for air travel. He delivered papers in the morning and doubled up as a dishwasher after school to hasten the accumulation.
Leadership In School
In school, the entrepreneurial spirit in him pushed him to start a school newspaper. The newspaper sold local ads and had Gorny toy with the idea of pursuing a career as a journalist. His efforts saw him ascend to be a leader of his peers.
Internship with an Insurance Company.
Always hunting for opportunities to generate an extra coin and gain mileage in business, Gorny landed an internship with an insurance company. But considering that he was in school and ninth grade, Gorny could only manage to work late after school.
The internship went so well that the owner had him hired and bonded as best of friends.
Finally, In America, But…
Gorny saved all the earnings he got from his side hustlers and accrued enough to visit California, America, alongside the insurance company owner.
The visit Gorny could later recall, “it was a blast, we visited Beverly Hills, we ate McDonald’s, and we discovered the all-you-can-eat buffet at Sizzler.”
By the end of the two-month visit, his conviction of relocating to America grew even more. This time, however, he had come for a visit.
Banking On Luck to Go to America.
Before leaving for Germany after the end of the 2-month visit, Gorny found an immigration lawyer to help him secure an American Visa. Then, back in Germany, Gorny, who was 16 by now, joined college and took over a radio show that the owner of his insurance company initially hosted.
At around this time, while working as a radio show host, he saved enough to start a company selling computers and computers related accessories.
The Success of His First Company
Through sheer hard work and determination, he grew the business to gross $100,000 per month, $10,000 of which was profit. The longtime dream he had harbored of relocating to America came to pass in 1996 when he had a chance to fly to America.
Constrained of cash and unwilling to pass on the opportunity, Gorny knew exactly what he had to do; after all, he had been preparing for this since he was 7. Mind you, he only had three weeks to graduate, but to him, that could wait.
He sold his computer business and customer list hurriedly at $25000, half of which he received and a half to be wired later. And yes, you guessed right, the other half is yet to reach him 2 decades later.
Reality hit him first and hard on arrival in Los Angeles, America. He had $0 to his name, didn’t know English, and only had the American dream for consolation.
Unbowed and glad that he was a step closer to achieving his childhood dream, Gorny started off from the bottom, working odd jobs to make ends meet until he struck millions.
Tomas Gorny’s Early Business Success
Computer and PC parts Venture
This is Gorny’s first entrepreneurial venture that he launched while in college. But, as detailed above, he had to, unfortunately, liquidate it to get enough to pay for his air ticket to America.
Broke and angry but happy to be in the land of opportunities, Gorny started off in a web hosting business company where he did odd jobs. Among the many tasks he undertook included carpet cleaning in apartment buildings and restaurants, dishwashing, and valet parking.
The odd tasks enabled him to afford a daily stipend of $3. But this wasn’t the only good turn of events for the young Gorny. At around the time when his daily meals got guaranteed, he landed his first job.
However, in his new job, he earned $0 as salary but was assured of a 20% equity stake in the company. In this new job, he was expected to assemble computers and negotiate import deals, on behalf of the company, from Asia.
Gorny’s Million Dollar Deal
The computer business company sold out to Interliant a year later for $6million in cash and $2 in stock. The sale left the struggling Gorny $1.2 million richer at age 21. And the icing to the deal was that the purchase agreement was pre-IPO.
Meaning it allowed the partners to get a stake at $6.67.
By the time the company went public, shares were retailing at $70 before gaining to close at $100 plus or more per share later in the month.
Gorny started Ipower in October 2001 after sinking over $1million through a series of investment blunders. Working from his home and at half the commission he was earning his company, Gorny built Ipower from scratch and by 2006 was valued at $40 million.
Ipower was built to be customer-centered, and its main selling point was to offer a non-technical way for customers to build and manage websites. However, despite the revenue growth, Ipower was cash strapped as their main competitor, GoDaddy, had struck a partnership that saw them exponentially grow and bag almost all customers.
To remain viable and continue being relevant, Gorny had to go back on his word of not taking on investors. He opted to partner with ENDURANCE, with whom he was able to grow the company before finally selling it to Warburg Pincus and Goldman Sachs at $1billion (think this is a lot? Read Elon Musk’s billion dollars deals).
So lucrative was the deal that Gorny would later comment that he made enough not to ever worry about money again.
Nextiva was founded in 2006 (founded at around the same time as Jack Dorsey’s Twitter). The company’s mission is to offer the convenience and experience offered by Jeff Bezo’s Amazon or even Reed and Marc’s Netflix.
But, other than this convenience, it also seeks to make communication cheaper, integrated, customer-centered, and responsive to the needs of changing communication space.
This is so unlike what is offered by Bill Gates Microsoft (read Bill Gate’s success timeline) or the revenue-centered Salesforce. Despite the company’s phenomenal growth, Gorny admits that he has had to inject more and more cash into the company.
As of writing this biography, Nextiva had a revenue of over $200 million, has more than 1000 employees, is serving over 150,000 businesses, including Nissan, Delta, Burger King, and Allstate, and was growing at a commendable rate. The company is self-funded and has headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona, US.
Gorny also co-founded Unitedweb Inc., a venture capitalist company that invests in startup internet and technology companies.
Gorny co-founded the company in 2008 and has continuously pumped resources to grow the company in resource, reach, and experience.
Since its launch, Gorny, similar to Mark Zuckerberg, has served as the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman. Unitedweb is the parent company to Nextiva as well as Sitelock.
Sitelock is a Cybersecurity Company founded in 2004 by Tomas Gorny. The company prides itself in serving over 12 million sites globally, has more than 240 workers, and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, US.
Currently, Gorny serves as the CEO and Founding Investor of the company.
Tomas Gorny’s Videos
In this short Video, Gorny talks of the multiple communication channels companies have. How through the channels, companies hear more but understand less.
For these reasons, together with his co-founder Tracy, they set out, fully aware of the need to move to automation, to build a product that would enable machines and man to work in harmony.
His extraordinary journey of rags to riches has been told and reported widely. But in this half-hour talk with Startup Grind Local, Gorny gives the first-hand experience of what that journey has been like.
The first-hand recount of his journey personifies the whole experience, giving it the so much-needed emotions to better tell the story from his perspective.
His parting shot “30 years ago America was the only land of opportunities, but today, there are many places and countries where you can find and live the American Dream.”. (A feeling shared by the late Liz Claiborne).
Tomas Gorny’s Business Failures
Gorny started iBoost.com soon after he got a fortune from Internet Communications to grow his asset and net worth. The company focused on business to business to business ads.
This was shortly before the dot.com bubble of 1999. Nevertheless, Gorny tirelessly worked to grow the company and was soon able to increase the company’s revenue to $6million. To grow it, he got an Investor from Silicon Valley going by the name Softbank Ventures.
Gorny’s idea was to take the company public at a later date.
His investor invested in Yahoo and eTrade a sum of $4million. Then, throwing caution to the wind, Gorny invested alongside his investor. By now, he had broken even, but the internet crisis was not so far off.
By early 2000 the effects of the crisis started being felt, and the company’s share price fell to an all-time low. With the stock crunch came the depreciation of the company’s net value, and by September of 2001, the company was worth $1million, down from over $5 million.
To prevent further losses, the company closed shop and left investors, including himself counting losses.
Selling Of Interliant Stocks
Like IBoost, Interliant was also feeling the heat of the recession and had its share price fall from $100 to $2.1 per share. So to salvage the little share he had left, he liquidated all the shares for a total of $6000.
By this time, Gorny had almost lost everything he had earned from the liquidation of his stake in Internet Business and only had $10,000. So difficult were the times that he couldn’t even afford to service his mortgage of $2500.
Investment in Real Estate
The last nail on his sudden U-turn from riches to rags coffin came from his investment in real estate. Soon after getting the windfall from internet business, he had also invested in residential apartments and malls.
But as fate could have it, he fell into the trap of greedy people who sucked him dry and left him high and broke.
Decades later, licking wounds of his past mistakes but swimming in newfound wealth, he summarily said this of that particular investment, “I should have done more due diligence. “
Tomas Gorny’s Spouse and Family
Not much is said about Tomas Gorny’s family life. The closest he comes to talking about his kids is when he is asked whether he misses Poland, to which he responds, “I talk Polish with my 5 kids so that they can be able to talk to my parents.”
Based on this, it is safe to say that he has 5 kids. This isn’t verifiable, though, and there has never been enough said about his wife and siblings (here is another low-key millionaire, Dan Bilzarian).
In an interview with the Business Insider, Gorny says, “my wife had to take an hourly job.” This is the closest Gorny has come to talking about his wife.
Tomas Gorny’s Net Worth, Salary, and Career Earnings
Tomas Gorny’s net worth was last updated on March 11, 2015. At the time, he was estimated to be worth $22.6 million. But even then, he had a significant shareholding at ENDURANCE, most of which he has sold over time.
As of writing his biography, he nets $279,994 as compensation for being a director of ENDURANCE.
Tomas Gorny’s Real Estate Holdings
As of the writing of his biography, there was no verifiable information of the extent or worth of his real estate holdings (this so unlike most millionaires including Paul Pelosi).
Tomas Gorny’s Quotes
“I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur…”
“This is what I want to do with my life. I want to make technology simpler to use for people.”
“I began setting my goals around my net worth, and made investments in various companies to grow it.”
“Failure’s like free tuition. You can reflect and analyze not to repeat mistakes…”
“I firmly believe that as an entrepreneur, you shouldn’t have an exit strategy…”
“I continue to look for new challenges, new gaps in the market..”
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: What is Tomas Gorny’s nationality?
Answer: Tomas Gorny was born in Zabre, Poland, but he immigrated to America in 1996 after securing an American Visa. He has lived in America since then.
Question: What is Tomas Gorny’s net worth?
Answer: Currently, his net worth is unknown, but he is undoubtedly a man of means. The last time his worth was appraised was in March 2015, at which time it was estimated at $22.6 million. He has continuously grown and re-invested it in different ventures, and it therefore much higher than this.