The fighter pilot who is the youngest billionaire in Pennsylvania

Ash Jurberg

Each year, Forbes releases a list of billionaires.

This year 2,668 people around the world made the list. I love to read the list and try to find interesting stories to share with readers.

Today I wanted to look at the story of the youngest billionaire in Pennsylvania- a man who became a billionaire before he turned 40 years old.

The youngest billionaire in Pennsylvania

39-year-old Jared Isaacman is the founder and CEO of payment processing firm Shift4 Payments, which is based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He has a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Isaacman started his entrepreneurial journey when he was in ninth grade. Together with a friend, he started a computer repair business in his parents' basement called Deco Systems.

In 1999, at the age of 16, he launched his second business, a retail payment processing company named United Bank Card, which was later renamed Harbortouch. In 2020 it was renamed again to Shift4.

By this stage, the company was handling over "$200 billion in payments every year for a third of the country’s restaurants and hotels, including giants like Hilton, Four Seasons, KFC, and Arby."

He took the company public in June 2020.

Having one successful business is impressive, but Isaacman is more than impressive. When he was 28, he started his own private air force, Draken International. Draken trains Air Force pilots and owns the world's largest private fleet of military aircraft. In 2019 he sold a stake in the business to Blackstone for a "nine-figure sum."

Isaacman is also a fighter pilot himself.

Philanthropy

With so much financial success, let's look at how Isaacman gives back to the community.

Last year, Isaacman donated $125 million to St Jude's Children's Research Hospital to accelerate medical research on pediatric diseases.

"Sometimes it's just an unfortunate hand that you get dealt - I find that very, very unfair. My initial exposure was of people living in horrible circumstances. But there are other examples of that - such as getting a bad cancer diagnosis. So I want to support the treatment of that cancer, or, if that's not possible, give children a memory through Make-a-Wish."

Other donations meant he placed in the No. 20 spot on the Philanthropy 50, an annual ranking of America's biggest donors. It seems he intends to give away large parts of his fortune.

"You're not fulfilling your purpose in life if you're not maximizing the various opportunities that come your way. But it would be selfish to do that if you were not also trying to make the world a better place." Jarred Isaacman

Readers, what do you think of Isaacman's story? Are there any organizations in Pennsylvania you think he should support?

Please leave your comments below.

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