Gary Vaynerchuk, more commonly known as Gary Vee, is a dynamic and multifaceted American entrepreneur, author, speaker, and internet personality. Born Gennady Alexandrovich Vaynerchuk on November 14, 1975, in Babruysk, Soviet Union (now Belarus), he immigrated to the United States in 1978, settling in New York City. Growing up in Queens and later Edison, New Jersey, Gary joined his family's retail-wine business at the age of 14, marking the beginning of his entrepreneurial journey.
After graduating with a bachelor's degree in management science from Mount Ida College in Newton, Massachusetts, in 1998, Gary took over his father's liquor store, Shopper's Discount Liquors. He rebranded it as Wine Library, launched online sales, and in 2006 started Wine Library TV, a daily webcast on YouTube covering wine. This innovative approach helped grow the business from $3 million to $60 million a year.
In 2011, Vaynerchuk shifted his focus to build VaynerMedia, a digital ad agency. As the chairman of VaynerX, a communications company holding media properties and technology companies, and CEO of VaynerX subsidiary VaynerMedia, he has become a leading figure in digital marketing and social media. VaynerMedia provides social media and strategy services to Fortune 500 companies and was named one of Ad Age's A-List agencies in 2015.
Gary Vaynerchuk's entrepreneurial spirit extends beyond VaynerMedia. He co-founded the restaurant reservation software company Resy, which American Express acquired in 2019, and Empathy Wines, acquired by Constellation Brands in 2020. He is also the creator and founder behind the VeeFriends1 and VeeFriends2 non-fungible token series.
A prolific content creator, Vaynerchuk hosted the video blog Wine Library TV from 2006 to 2011, followed by The Daily Grape. He launched The #AskGaryVee Show on YouTube in 2014, where he responds to questions on entrepreneurship, family, and business. This show inspired his fourth book, "AskGaryVee," which reached The New York Times Best Seller list.
Gary Vaynerchuk's influence extends to television, where he was a participant in "Planet of the Apps," a reality TV series with will.i.am and Gwyneth Paltrow. His social media mentorship has earned him a significant following, though he has faced criticism as well.
Recognized for his impact, Vaynerchuk was named to Crain's New York Business 40 Under 40 and listed as one of Forbes' Top Social Influencers. His journey from a Soviet immigrant to a renowned entrepreneur and social media guru is a testament to his relentless work ethic, innovative thinking, and ability to adapt and thrive in the ever-changing digital landscape.