ViralGains’ Founder and CEO, Jay Singh is many things. I’m tempted to label him the office enigma, our very own Steve Jobs character even, but trying to fit his kaleidoscopic persona into an eloquent catch phrase or a list of adjectives is pretty much impossible. Especially when his response to being asked to describe himself in three words is, “I don’t do that; I don’t like labeling or categorizing myself.”
But just when you think he’s a closed book, you get a most profound glimpse at the man behind the magic. I asked him to name his role models and he threw a few names at me; Marc Andreessen, Marc Beniof, Brian Halligan, Deepak Chopra and Lil Wayne. The funny thing is that if you throw ‘em all together, the result is him—three parts tech-preneur, one part zen, new-age guru and one part swag-tastic gangster. He ZBoards around the office alternating between talking deals and putting VG on the map, fist-bumping the team as he delivers his signature “whadduppp” and dispensing sage advice to all who seek it.
Jay’s personal journey runs parallel to the growth of VG. And that’s the point. To separate the man from his mission would be a disservice to both. Jay grew up and went to high school in Randolph, MA. It was there that a physics class project on Einstein led him to cross paths with co-founder Dan Levin. While working on the project, the two budding entrepreneurs decided to discuss business models. They worked on a series of mini-ventures through school and later through college at UMass. Their first big break came in 2008 when they co-founded Viral Media Solutions (ViralMS). Clearing six figures a year and working with clients like Sears, Coke and P&G by the age of nineteen—they were living the dream.
Still, they dreamt bigger.
“A lot of our clients at the time were coming to us with a video and asking us to “create virality” for them,” he says of his and Dan’s time running ViralMS. “We knew there was a billion dollar opportunity here and we knew it was only a matter of time before we manifested that opportunity.”
They decided to shift their attention from social media to online video. They finally took the plunge and founded ViralGains in 2012 with third co-founder Kate Willett.
Since then, the company has skyrocketed to success. “We’ve always attracted the right people, the kind who are going to help us get to the next level. We have an amazing company culture, the best team, the biggest ideas and that’s what it’s about,” said Singh.
Jay’s the kind of CEO who doesn’t distinguish between ‘I’ and ‘us’. Whether it’s glancing over a blog post or sitting in on every department meeting he can, he’s always present and part of the action.
An ardent believer in the power of good vibes, he can be found jamming along to happy 8tracks playlists and reading when he isn’t at work. “Work is a dirty word. It has so many negative connotations—drudgery, people punching copy machines in frustration—that’s what people associate with work. I feel like we’ve brought the good emotion and passion back to the work environment. Work and fun aren’t mutually exclusive things for me, personally.”
Jay could write a book. In fact, he probably will.
“Sup VG babies”
One of the many eloquent ways Jay begins his company-wide emails
“Let me check this real quick”
His phone is an extension of his palm; whether it’s a call from an investor, a Tweet about Facebook’s latest acquisition, a business meeting reminder, or a hilarious viral video, he’s always tuned in (often whilst stretched across MassChallenge’s bright blue couch).
Jay is the eternal optimist of the group. Ask him if we will sign a big client or get an investor and he always responds with a “yes,” “we’ll get them,” or “I mean I don’t see why not”.
“He has all the confidence in the world in our company, and it’s inspiring to see as an employee,” says Chelsea Ogozaly, VG’s Sales & Marketing Strategist.
“I’m just going to go Kanye West on this thing”
This guy’s a G.
“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just the take first step” -MLK…and know what’s on the final landing.
He has a profound line for every situation, but he doesn’t just deliver it as is, that would be too cliché. He puts the Singh spin on it.
Finally, we’re putting our money where our mouth is; we’re telling the Jay story using our favored medium. Because hey, if “a picture is worth 1,000 words, an online video is worth 1.8 million.”
Check out this hilarious video of the boys of VG doing their best Jay impressions, featuring a special appearance from the man himself!