Greg Gianforte is the Republican candidate for tomororow’s Montana special election. Over the last few hours, he has become an international story for allegedly body slamming a reporter.
However, Greg Gianforte is also an extremely successful businessman. How successful is he? What is Greg Gianforte net worth?
Greg Gianforte is a Republican from the state of Montana. He is running in the special election to take the seat of Ryan Zinke, who was asked by President Trump to be Secretary of the Interior.
The Montana special election is a major story because it is a referendum on Trump; however, it has become an even bigger story today because Gianforte allegedly assaulted a reporter.
Greg Gianforte made his money as a software executive and entrepreneur. Back in the 1980s, he was one of the very early computer software entrepreneurs.
In the mid 80s, Gianforte started a company called Brightwork Development, which produced software to manage Novell Netware computer networks (very early pre-Internet networking).
The company built up sales from nothing, and eventually sold to McAfee (the antivirus company, which is still around) for $10 million. Although Gianforte had partners, $10 million was quite a lot at the time, and Gianforte was able to essentially retire in Montana.
But he decided he didn’t want to retire, according to Forbes, and he went on to start an incubator and then start a company called RightNow.
RightNow was actually vaporware at the time — Gianforte had no product when he started selling, but he was able to bootstrap the business. After talking to a lot of businesses, he decided to build an email-autoresponding software product.
He built it in weeks, but couldn’t sell it, so he gave it away free. He cornered the market, and then rose prices, until he was making tens of thousands of dollars per month.
RightNow grew relatively quickly, and it went IPO, and the IPO netted the company $40 million at the time. At the time of its IPO it was losing money. It acquired several companies, and was eventually sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion.
Since Greg Gianforte hadn’t used VC money in starting the company, he retained a major share when it was sold. Nevertheless, he’s not as rich as you may think.
According to disclosures, Greg Gianforte earned between $2 and $15 million last year. We estimate Greg Gianforte net worth at $300 million. Gianforte also has a charitable trust worth over $100 million.
Photo credit: Jim Winstead