January 17, 1962
|Alma mater||Michigan State University (BA)|
Wayne State University Law School (JD)
|Occupation||Co-founder and chairman, Quicken Loans|
Majority owner, Cleveland Cavaliers
|Relatives||Gary Gilbert (brother)|
|Awards||2016 NBA Champion|
2016 Calder Cup Champion
Daniel Gilbert (born January 17, 1962) is an American businessman, investor and philanthropist. He is the co-founder of Quicken Loans, founder of Rock Ventures, and owner of the National Basketball Association's Cleveland Cavaliers. Gilbert owns several sports franchises, including the American Hockey League's Cleveland Monsters, and the NBA G League's Cleveland Charge. He operates the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse in Cleveland, Ohio, home to the Cavaliers and Monsters. As of March, 19th, 2022 Forbes estimated his net worth at US$51.9 billion, making him the 23rd richest person in the world.
Gilbert was born to a Jewish family in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in Southfield, Michigan, where he attended Southfield-Lathrup High School. He earned his bachelor's degree from Michigan State University and a Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School, and is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. While in college he earned a real estate agent's license and while in law school, he worked part-time at his parents' Century 21 Real Estate agency.
Gilbert founded Rock Financial in 1985 with Lindsay Gross and his younger brother Gary Gilbert. In the late 1990s, the company launched its internet strategy, becoming an early online direct mortgage lender. In the fourth quarter of 2017, the company became the largest retail mortgage lender by volume in the United States.
In 2000, software maker Intuit Inc. purchased Rock Financial and renamed the national web operation Quicken Loans. In 2002, Gilbert and a group of private investors purchased Quicken Loans and its affiliated national title company, Title Source, Inc., from Intuit. As of 2021, Gilbert served as the chairman of Quicken Loans, Inc.
In 2007, Gilbert and the city of Detroit announced an agreement to move the company's headquarters to downtown Detroit. All 3,600 Michigan-based employees moved into Detroit's urban core by the end of 2010.
In August 2020, Quicken Loans went public under the name Rocket Companies and made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “RKT.” As of 2020, Gilbert remained the majority owner, controlling 79% of the company's shares.
Gilbert became majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers in March 2005 and undertook a complete overhaul of the front office, coaching staff, player personnel and game presentation. During Gilbert's tenure, the Cavaliers won six Central Division championships (2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), five Eastern Conference championships (2007, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), and one NBA championship (2016), which ended the 52-year Cleveland sports curse.
In 2007, Gilbert bought the dormant Utah Grizzlies American Hockey League franchise, moved it to Cleveland and renamed it the Cleveland Monsters (previously Lake Erie Monsters). In 2016, the Monsters won the AHL's top prize – the Calder Cup – giving Gilbert two championships within eight days.
In 2011, Gilbert purchased the New Mexico Thunderbirds from what was then the NBA Developmental League (now called the G League), and moved them to Canton, Ohio renaming them the Canton Charge, and making them the Cavaliers' affiliate. In 2022 the team moved to Cleveland are known known as the Cleveland Charge.
In July 2010, Ohio native LeBron James announced that he was leaving the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat on an ESPN television special dubbed The Decision. Following the special, Gilbert published an open letter to Cleveland Cavaliers fans in which he criticized how James made his announcement. Gilbert was later fined by NBA Commissioner David Stern for his remarks. Gilbert later claimed that he regretted the letter, and has since apologized to James.
James later stated, "I've met with Dan, face-to-face, man-to-man. We've talked it out. Everybody makes mistakes. I've made mistakes as well. Who am I to hold a grudge?"
Gilbert is a founding partner in the private equity group Rockbridge Growth Equity LLC (RBE). The partnership invests in growing businesses in the financial services, Internet technology, consumer-direct marketing, and the sports and entertainment industries.
RBE has significant investments in Gas Station TV, Robb Report, and RapidAdvance, among other ventures.
Gilbert is also an investor in Courtside Ventures, a venture capital fund investing across early-stage technology and media companies with a focus on sports and is a founding partner of Detroit Venture Partners (DVP), a venture capital firm that funds start-up and early-stage technology companies based primarily in Detroit. Some of the companies DVP has invested in includes LevelEleven, iRule and Marxent Labs.
Gilbert cofounded StockX, a stock market of things for high-demand, limited edition products such as sneakers. Gilbert is also invested and involved in the operation of several consumer-based technology-centered businesses, including Fathead, Veritix, Xenith, StyleCaster and Quizzle.
Gilbert launched nonprofit Bizdom in 2007, which promotes both tech and brick-and-mortar entrepreneurship in Detroit and Cleveland by supporting on-the-ground service providers.
In November 2009, Gilbert and a group of partners successfully backed a statewide referendum to bring casino gaming to Ohio's four largest cities. Through a joint venture with Caesars Entertainment Corporation, the groups operate urban-based casinos in both Cleveland and Cincinnati. The first of the casinos, Jack Cleveland Casino, opened in May 2012.
In 2013, Rock Ventures, the umbrella entity for Gilbert's investments and real estate holdings, announced it had formed Athens Acquisition LLC, an affiliate of Rock Gaming, and acquired the majority interest in Greektown Superholdings Inc., owner of the Greektown Casino-Hotel located in downtown Detroit. In late 2018, Gilbert bought the online dictionaries, Dictionary.com and Thesaurus.com.
In November 2017, professional Call of Duty player Matthew "Nadeshot" Haag announced that Gilbert had made a multimillion-dollar investment into Nadeshot's eSports team called 100Thieves.
Quicken Loans moved its headquarters and 1,700 of its employees to downtown Detroit in August 2010, where Gilbert and the company are helping lead a revitalization of Detroit's urban core.
Gilbert's Bedrock Detroit has purchased several buildings in downtown Detroit, including the historic Madison Theatre Building, Chase Tower and Two Detroit Center, Dime Building, the First National Building and the former Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Detroit Branch Building. Bedrock Detroit has also purchased several buildings on the city's Woodward Avenue, including One Woodward Avenue and the 1001 Woodward office tower.
In September 2013, Gilbert was named co-chair of the Blight Removal Task Force. The group published a detailed plan in May 2014 to remove all blighted structures and lots in the City of Detroit.
In 2015, he purchased Book Tower in Detroit.
A 2017 Politico Magazine article named Gilbert one of "America's 11 Most Interesting Mayors", listing him as though he were Mayor of Detroit due to his role in the city's development.
In September 2017, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan appointed Gilbert to lead a committee to make a bid for online retail giant Amazon to bring its second North American headquarters to Detroit. In 2018, Amazon narrowed its list of potential headquarters locations, removing Detroit from its list of contenders.
In September 2012, Gilbert and his wife Jennifer joined The Giving Pledge, committing to give half of their wealth to philanthropy throughout their lifetimes.
Gilbert's eldest son was born with neurofibromatosis. Gilbert established two Neurofibromatosis research clinics at the Children's National Medical Center (CNMC) in Washington, D.C., and at the Dana Children's Hospital at the Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv, Israel. Gilbert also serves on the boards of the Children's Tumor Foundation, the Cleveland Clinic, and the Children's Hospital Foundation (an affiliate of CNMC); and is the vice-chairman of the not-for-profit M-1 RAIL initiative which is dedicated to promoting light-rail transportation in downtown Detroit.
In 2015, Gilbert donated $750,000 to the presidential candidacy of Chris Christie.
In September 2016, Gilbert donated $5 million to Wayne State University Law School. In October of that year, Gilbert also donated $15 million toward the planned $50-million Breslin Center renovation project at Michigan State University.
In 2020, Gilbert made a $1.2 million donation to help COVID-19 relief efforts in the city of Detroit.
Gilbert resides in Michigan with his wife Jennifer Gilbert and their five children. His wife serves on the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and also serves on the boards of ORT America and the Israeli and Overseas Committee of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit. On May 26, 2019, Gilbert was taken to the hospital and treated for a stroke at the age of 57.
Gilbert's companies have achieved the following accolades under his watch: