Jason Wolfe is an American businessman and entrepreneur who is the founder of Wolfe, LLC, Pittsburgh’s leading technology incubator and investor. Jason is also the Chairman of the Board of the Pittsburgh Technology Council – which has over 1,000 technology related member companies employing over 30% of Pittsburgh’s work force.
Wolfe has appeared on the MSNBC program, Morning Joe and has been profiled in Entrepreneur and Fortune (among other publications). In 2015, Wolfe was awarded a Diamond Award from the Pittsburgh Business Times and named Tech CEO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Technology Council.
The Shamrock Story
The shamrock is a symbol that holds a special place in Jason's heart. The Shamrock Story is a heartwarming true story of how a simple newspaper article helped Jason Wolfe become the successful entrepreneur that he is today.
EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION
Wolfe grew up in a family of three children. His father left the family when Wolfe was six years old, leaving his mother to raise him and his siblings alone. Wolfe's mother was disabled and on welfare. In 1980 when Wolfe was 10 years old, his mother sent him to the Milton Hershey School, a boarding school for disadvantaged children in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Wolfe graduated from the school in 1987. He attributes much of his later business success to the principles he learned at the Hershey School.
After graduating from the Hershey School, Wolfe attended Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with a B.S. in Marketing in 1992. Wolfe spent two years as a whitewater rafting guide in West Virginia before deciding to move to Pittsburgh. Soon after his move in 1994, he was involved in an accident that required him to undergo two spinal surgeries. While recovering, he wound up living out of his car. He taught himself how to code by using books at the local library and CompUSA's Building the Perfect Web among others.
In 1995, Wolfe founded the first online coupon site, known initially as CouponsDirect.com. The site would eventually be renamed MyCoupons.com. The business provided coupons for companies. In the first year of operation, MyCoupons only earned around $1,000. By 1999, however, the business was garnering over $1 million in annual sales and 20 million page views per month. The company also had around 3 million registered members. The company was sold to a competitor, Save.com, for roughly $23 million in 2000. Because this occurred around the time of the dot-com bust, Wolfe only received about $2 million total from the sale. He reacquired MyCoupons.com in 2002.
After selling and reacquiring MyCoupons, Wolfe began to build Direct Response Technologies. Its flagship product was DirectTrack, an affiliate tracking technology and platform. By 2006, DirectTrack had tracked billions of impressions and tens of millions of clicks per month. Wolfe sold Direct Response Technologies and DirectTrack to Digital River in 2006. He repurchased the GiftCards.com domain and rebranded and relaunched the site in 2008. He also relaunched MyCoupons.com in 2007. Both companies became subsidiaries of Wolfe, LLC, a holding company that Wolfe founded in 2007. Other subsidiaries that are part of Wolfe, LLC include Omni Prepaid and Swapagift.com.
In 2009, GiftCards.com recorded $44 million in sales. In 2011, MyCoupons was earning 2 million page views per month and maintained a network of 6,000 to 8,000 retailers across the United States. In 2013, Wolfe purchased the website Gift Card Granny and after GiftCards.com was acquired in early 2016 by Blackhawk Network Holdings, Wolfe became Gift Card Granny's CEO. In December 2016, Wolfe moved the company to Green Tree, Pennsylvania (a Pittsburgh suburb) to the same facility that had earlier housed GiftCards.com.
RECOGNITION & AWARDS
Wolfe has been nominated for and won numerous awards throughout his career. Ernst & Young named him the 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year for the Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia region. In 2013, he was given the Pennsylvania Governor's ImPAct Award in the Entrepreneur category. In 2014, he was named the Milton Hershey School's "Alumnus of the Year." In 2015, the Pittsburgh Business Times honored Wolfe with a Diamond award. In 2015, Wolfe was named Tech CEO of the Year by the Pittsburgh Tech Council.