Jon Flatt Bio
What if there was a Cajun from La, who moved to Los Angeles at 17 to peruse a career/education in music, recorded for Atlantic Records, then moved to Austin, Tx to pursue an internet career one week before the internet bubble burst, then partnered with Media Icon Red McCombs and turned a 1 million dollar initial investment in to over 400 million in internet revenue. Would you like to meet him? Well, meet Jon Flatt.
Jon is the Co-founder of Red McCombs Media and in some circles called the Rock n Roll CEO due to his music back ground and his out of the box thinking. Jon is considered to be a true innovator in not only internet marketing but in the creation of best business practices for the new digital economy.
Jon grew up in Lafayette LA and was adopted as an infant by Earl and Darlene Flatt. His childhood was fairly normal until age 11 when his 13 year older brother, who was also adopted, discovered drugs . From that time on Jon`s family would never be the same. When Jon turned 13, he realized his passion for music and eventually learned to play several different musical instruments. “in many ways I owe much of what I have accomplished to music. It was my outlet for all the negativity I experienced as a kid. It taught me a combination of creatively, discipline and kept me out of trouble. “Playing music kept me from going down the same path as my brother “ Jon’s family situation prompted him to move to Los Angeles when he was 17 years old to peruse a career in music.
Jon lived in Los Angeles for fourteen years. He graduated from Musicians institute of tech at 18 years old. His focus after graduation was to form a group, record and then tour. “From 1987 to 1995 was a very intense time in Los Angeles. I have very vivid memories of fires, floods, earthquakes, riots and OJ. It was a tremendously negative environment but lead to great musical inspiration”. After having success in the clubs of Los Angeles for years, Jon started the indie label Monolith records for the purpose of recording and distributing his group Native Tongue La. In the late 90s Native tongue la released their first full length CD toured to support the CD. The CD and live show caught the attention of Kim Stevens of Atlantic Records who had recently discovered Matchbox 20. After returning to Los Angeles the group received an offer from Atlantic Records. At that time there was much in fighting and dysfunction in the group due the financial structure of the deal and musical direction. The group recorded four songs for Atlantic Records and disbanded shortly after.
In the late 90s Jon started to become intrigued with the power of the internet and the potential to really help an indie band. “At that time we simply had a website that promoted shows and merchandise but I realized early on that the internet would revolutionize the music business and business in general.
After working a few music projects with Jean Marie Horvat (mixer/producer Teddy Riley, Michael Jackson, Ricky Martin) Jon decided to go full force in to the internet
Jon Moved to Austin TX in 2002. He went to work for a company called just4biz.com and was promptly laid off one week in to his new career as the internet bubble burst. So after moving his family to Austin, one week into his new career, Jon had no job, no income and entire dot.com world was in shambles. “Getting laid off in the first week of my new career had a profound effect on my philosophy in context with how to build a great internet company” Soon after getting laid off Jon accepted a Job at Mall.com as a sales person/sales trainer. Jon stayed with Mall.com for 2 frustrating years and left the company to start what would become Red McCombs Media. Jon started Wholesale Clicks in Nov of 2002 under the premise that all online advertising is trackable and quantifiable and that if you could show clients value through technology and metrics, not only could you grow a business very quickly with minimal burn rate.
Jon literally had no money to start his new company. All he had was an Amex and a big Idea. The first 12 month were very difficult and Jon’s family struggles just to pay the bills. The second year the business to take off in a big way. In fact by the end of the second year, Wholesale clicks was generating more revenue with a 3 persons than Mall.com was with 50 plus employees.
During the second year of this new business Jon was approached by many venture capitalists but was simply not interested in VC. He wanted to continue the growth of the business through creative strategic initiatives’. During this period more significant opportunities to run large marketing campaigns arose. WSC at that time did not have the necessary credit terms to increase volume with web publishers. Jon realized that having a partner with connections and capital to help increase credit terms and float account receivable could have an explosive growth effect on current business. In other words WSC needed a strategic partner. Right around this time Jon was contacted by financial consultant James Reid who had inquired about WSC for months. James told Jon “ Red McCombs would like to meet you and talk about your business”. Six month later WSC became Red McCombs Media.
The strategic partnership with McCombs proved to very successful as Red McCombs Media experience explosive growth and was recognized two straight years by INC 500 as one of the fastest growing companies in the U.S.
In 2008 Jon began to think about a strategy to continue the explosive growth of RMM while remaining profitable. The next move was once again a strategic play to gain valuable resources through partnership or acquisition “ I was looking for a traditional media company that had sales/web resources and was looking to make the transition to new media. LIN Media was a great fit “
Lin Media acquired Red McCombs Media in Nov of 2009. The RMM Lin relationship has been very successful as RMM online has continued to grow by over 60% a year far exceeding industry growth. “2012 was an incredible year of technology development, top line and ebitda growth for RMM.
In 2013, Jon parted ways with LIN Media/RMM. He took about 6 months off and then created JforceX. JforceX was a non-revenue generating research and development company that studied internet and mobile trends as they pertain to advertising and audience aggregation.
Jon recently launched his next venture JFlatt Consulting/BluMartian
Quote from Red McCombs:
“Jon Flatt is a true entrepreneur and pioneer in the fast growing world of online advertising. His philosophies on innovation and business operations in the new economy have proven to be very successful. “April 14, 2009
Quote from Rad Weaver partner at McCombs Enterprises:
“Jon Flatt is a visionary who has the unique ability to identify early adopter trends in online advertising and more importantly, develop and execute strategies to capitalize upon those trends.” April 14, 2009
Quote from Bruce Knox VP Circuit of the Americas:
“I have witnessed firsthand Jon`s unique ability to lead and build a company from the ground up. He has the unique ability to create technology, operations and company vision based on identifying early adopter trends in the market place”. June 2013
Quote from Scott Friesen CEO of Verdant Frontiers:
“Jon has a unique ability to quickly understand very complex issues and come up with effective scaleable solutions. His abilities as a problem solver are among the best I have ever experienced. May 12 2015