Benzinga’s founder and CEO Jason Raznick was the Honorary Chair and Keynote Speaker at the 25th annual “Strictly Business” fundraising event on Wednesday, which focuses on the metropolitan Detroit business community.
The event raises funds for the non-profit organization JVS Human Services+Kadima Mental Health Services, which serves vulnerable communities in the metro Detroit area.
Raznick was invited as the keynote speaker to share his story on how Benzinga was created and built, and the core values which drive the company's growth:
We do what we say
It’s the what, not the who
Urgency is the ante to play
We find a better way
We create raving fans
“I struggled in school. I saw that I was separated from my peers, and I didn’t like being separated, so I had to do things differently,” Raznick said, choking back proud tears after being introduced on stage by his son, Josh.
"Don’t accept what people tell you. My dad would always say the last four letters in American is ‘I CAN’ – don’t listen to the naysayers, and that’s where this begins," Jason said.
He was alluding to Benzinga’s humble beginnings and all the scrappy work done to position the company and its employees to succeed.
Founded in 2010, Raznick started Benzinga in the basement of a metro Detroit home that he rented at the time.
With just $3,000 in his bank account and a child on the way, Raznick aimed to deliver the same financial content to the average investor that hedge funds receive, making the path to financial prosperity more accessible and more consumable.
“I wanted to start this company, and I didn’t have money for an office space and didn’t want to commit to an office space,” Raznick said.
With a bit of luck and a lot of do-archy, TD Ameritrade (thinkorswim platform) would become Benzinga’s first client — the only problem, Raznick mentioned, is that it was just him in the basement.
“Well, to get a client like that, I had to be three people. I was Jason Raznick, I was Todd Rosen, and I was Adam Lewis. I had to ‘fake it til I make it.’”
This is where the do-archy comes into play, he said. At its core, do-archy is the belief that anyone can impact the outcome by being empowered to take action and make decisions — in Raznick’s case, by being three people, he tripled Benzinga’s value in a do-archy fashion that trickles down to Benzinga staff.
“Instead of a hierarchy or a monarchy, Benzinga is a place of do-ers. If you’re a do-er, I believe you can achieve anything — we don’t say we’re going to work today, we say we’re going to build.”
Raznick went on to tell a story about a cold email he sent to Groupon co-founder Brad Keywell that turned into a $1.8 million investment from Keywell's VC fund.
“Just recently, we have sent them a big check where they’ve made at least 20x their money. And, it’s kind of crazy to think about, this came from a cold email,” he said.
After many years of joys, struggles, and sleepless nights staring at payroll data wondering how he’d pay his employees — in 2021, Beringer Capital acquired a majority stake in Benzinga, to accelerate the company’s mission of empowering the individual investor, to the tune of $300 million.
“Benzinga is a place of do-archy and execution. We have people that lead these businesses, and we couldn’t do it without creating a culture of execution and follow through.”
If you are interested in building with Benzinga, email email@example.com.
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