Miami, FL

The billionaire photographer who lives in Miami

Ash Jurberg

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Photo by Ben Eaton on Unsplash

This week Forbes released its annual list of billionaires.

There are 2,688 billionaires globally, 785 of them living in the United States. Florida is home to the third-largest amount of billionaires, with 78.

I have been reading up on all the billionaires on this list to find interesting stories to share with readers. Today I wanted to look at the billionaire photographer who lives in Miami.

Miami's billionaire photographer

Miami Beach resident Jon Oringer has a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Oringer grew up in New York and began learning computer programming when he was just five years old. His entrepreneurial journey started in high school when he began fixing computers and then selling software online.

He developed one of the world's first pop-up ad blockers, and it was while trying to sell this product he came across a great idea. Oringer realized that when he sent an email that contained an image, more people would open it. The problem was he couldn't find any cheap suitable images to use in his meals.

And so, an idea was born.

Oringer bought a camera and, over a six-month period in 2003, took over 100,000 photos, using his friends as models. He chose the best 30,000 photos and uploaded them to a website he created, which he called Shutterstock.

He invested $10,000 of his savings and advertised his website via Google. Customers who paid a monthly fee of $49 could download unlimited photos.

From there, the company grew, and in 2012 he took Shutterstock public by listing it on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO made Oringer the first tech billionaire to come out of New York's Silicon Alley.

Oringer still owns 33% of Shutterstock, which had 2021 revenues of $773 million.

Moving to Miami

Like many others from the northern states, Oringer decided to move to Florida, and in October 2020, he bought a $42 million mansion in Miami Beach. The house was previously owned by former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez.

When asked why he moved to Miami, Oringer explained:

Miami is particularly noteworthy—the government is very pro-business, which is amazing; Mayor Suarez is doing great things for the tech world with his platform. It is a big city and an international hub—there is no doubt Miami is going to be a key city for the tech ecosystem. Miami right now reminds me of New York in the early 2000s, when I first started Shutterstock. There were plenty of people who doubted New York’s potential to foster tech innovation, and many were moving from the East Coast to the West Coast.”

Oringer hopes his move to Miami will encourage more tech companies and entrepreneurs to follow suit. Let's hope they do, and more jobs are created in Miami.

Readers, what do you think of Oringer's story? Are you glad he moved to Miami, and do you think more tech companies should also move here?

Please leave your comments in the section below.

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