Gary Hoover began his entrepreneurial journey at an early age. His question about enterprises was, “What separates the losers from the winners?” He began subscribing to Fortune Magazine at the age of 12, and has acquired most of the issues back to 1930.
As part of his education, he studied economics at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and two other Nobel Prize winners, served as a securities analyst for Citibank on Wall Street, worked as a buyer for Federated Department Stores, and headed up acquisitions and strategic planning for the May Department Stores Company.
At the age of 30, after he finally took the plunge and created pioneering book superstore BOOKSTOP, which helped change the nature of book shopping in America. This company was sold to Barnes & Noble for $41.5 million cash when it was 7 years old, and became a cornerstone for their industry-dominating superstore chain.
After he and his partners sold BOOKSTOP, Gary returned to his first love of understanding businesses, and began the company that became Hoover’s, the world’s largest Internet-based provider of information about enterprises. Hoovers.com covers over 40,000 companies around the world. In July of 1999, Hoover’s went public and in March of 2003, the company was purchased by Dun & Bradstreet for $117 million. Like BOOKSTOP, Hoover’s has changed the way we do things and today employs over 300 people.
Gary also ventured into the travel business with TravelFest Superstores, which failed when airlines stopped paying commission to travel agencies, and the museum industry, a work in progress. He continues to keep over 100 ideas for new businesses on his list.
In the 2009-10 academic year, Gary served as Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas in Austin. There he focused on inciting and inspiring entrepreneurial thinking among students of all types, graduates and undergraduates, inside and outside of the business school. He reviewed approximately 400 business plans and ideas in this role, as well as teaching a Foundations of Entrepreneurship course.
In the spring of 2011, Gary began teaching a 10-week course in entrepreneurial thinking through his own Hoover Academy. In the fall of 2011, he added a 4-hour class created especially for high school students.
Gary lives in Austin, Texas, with his 50,000-book library. He has consulted, spoken to conferences, and worked to encourage entrepreneurial thinking on every continent and in every industry, for profit and not for profit. He has also supported the University of Chicago.