Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert is investing $500 million over the next 10 years in revitalizing Detroit’s neighborhoods.

With a net worth of roughly $47 billion, Gilbert is one of the 30 wealthiest people in the world, according to Forbes.

Investors and sports fans likely know Gilbert as the owner of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and the co-founder of mortgage giant Quicken Loans.

Gilbert is far from an overnight success. Here’s a look back at how Gilbert became the $50 billion-dollar-man trying to rejuvenate the city of Detroit.

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Rock Financial: Gilbert was born in Detroit in 1962. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Michigan State and his Juris Doctor from Wayne State University Law School.

While in college, Gilbert also obtained a real estate agent’s license and worked for his parent’s real estate business.

In 1985, at the age of 23, Gilbert founded Rock Financial along with his younger brother Gary. The mortgage lending company was a tremendous success, but its business really caught fire when the company embraced the internet in the late 1990s and became the fastest-growing direct mortgage lender in the world.

In 2000, Intuit Inc. (NASDAQ: INTU) acquired Rock Financial for $532 million and renamed it Quicken Loans. After the dot-com bubble burst, Gilbert led a small group of private investors in buying back Quicken from Intuit for $64 million in 2002.

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Gilbert’s Other Ventures: In March 2005, Gilbert became the majority owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

In 2007, Gilbert and the city of Detroit announced Quicken would be moving its headquarters to downtown Detroit, creating about 1,700 new jobs in the city.

In 2009, Gilbert launched Rock Gaming via his Rock Ventures holding company. From 2006 to 2020, Rock Gaming, which was later renamed Jack Entertainment, owned and operated several casinos, including the Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland and the Greektown Casino in Detroit.

In 2020, Gilbert sold his majority stake in Jack to the company’s management. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

In August 2020, Quicken Loans went public under the name Rocket Companies Inc (NYSE: RKT). The company priced at an IPO valuation of around $36 billion.

Today, Rocket’s market capitalization stands at around $43.8 billion, and Gilbert controls about 79% of the company’s shares.

Quicken Loans Chairman Dan Gilbert at the Thursday announcement of a $500-million philanthropic effort in Detroit. Photo by Dustin Blitchok.

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