About Me

Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Greg Pierson is a serial entrepreneur who embodies the qualities of leadership, innovation, and unwavering determination. Credited with inventing device-based reputation systems, he is best known for revolutionizing their application in online fraud management and consumer authentication.

Humble Beginnings

He grew up in North Portland with his parents and younger brother. At the age of 8, the family relocated to a modest home in Northeast Portland, which remained his parent’s residence for over forty years. It was in this environment that parents modelled hard work and dedication. His father served as a facilities manager, while his mother, an English teacher, instilled in him a love for language and learning.

A Love Story Spanning Three Decades

High school sweethearts, He and his wife have been married for an impressive 35 years. Together, they’ve nurtured a family, with their eldest daughter currently pursuing higher education and their youngest son navigating high school. Pierson credits his success to a supportive life-long partner and has said many times that he couldn’t have done any of it without her.

Venturing into Business: Laying the Foundations

His career journey began during his tenure as a consultant with Accenture, where he demonstrated an extraordinary ability to find solutions to complex business problems. He made valuable contributions to distinguished organizations such as Nordstrom, Bridgestone Firestone, and Land’s End, leading teams in the implementation of large-scale business systems and associated process changes.

Pioneering Innovations

An unyielding spirit of innovation characterizes him. Over the years, Greg Pierson has co-authored and been granted multiple patents in the fields of fraud management, end-user authentication, and secure transaction processing.

Building Prosperous Enterprises: A Testament to Vision and Teamwork

While he possesses an exceptional aptitude for problem-solving, his true gift lies in building robust teams capable of turning vision into reality. A clear vision, a positive shared culture, and effective conflict resolution are recognized as keys to the success of his company.

As co-founder and CEO, he has twice transformed sketches on the back of a napkin into rapidly growing, profitable, high-margin global businesses with hundreds of employees. Although the services offered by these companies were distinct, they both boasted exceptional teams, strong cultures, and exceedingly satisfied customers. Every team member held equity in both companies, which ultimately achieved successful exits north of $650 million.

Awards and Accolades

While being recognized as an Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist by Ernst and Young for driving growth, innovation, and community involvement is noteworthy, Pierson takes greater pride in the awards earned by his teams. Over the years, his last company received numerous awards from industry and professional organizations, including distinctions such as the InfoSecurity Products Guide: Fraud Prevention Winner, IDnext: Identity Innovation Winner, and Fortress Cyber Security: Authentication & Identity Winner.

iovation and TransUnion

In 2018, he led innovation as CEO for fourteen years. At that juncture, 35,000 brands globally relied on innovation for device-based intelligence to support authentication and fraud management. Innovation screened billions of transactions and prevented over 500,000 fraud attempts daily.

In June of 2018, TransUnion acquired innovation, heralding an exciting promise of merging device and identity-based consumer intelligence. Both entities recognized seemingly boundless opportunities to create innovative services to dramatically improve consumer experiences and security.

The success of innovation was largely attributed to its people and culture. At the time of acquisition, 20% of employees had tenures exceeding five years, with 10% surpassing the 10-year milestone. Equally telling of the positive atmosphere was the fact that 10% of the team was affectionately referred to as ‘retreads,’ individuals who had left to pursue other opportunities but were irresistibly drawn back to the company’s magnetic culture. Innovation was also renowned for its exceptionally generous personalized ‘bucket-list’ tenth-anniversary gifts. One employee fulfilled a life-long dream of swimming with great white sharks off the coast of South Africa.

After continuing as CEO for the first year, Greg Pierson assisted TransUnion in finding a new leader. He continued to support the transition in a global strategy role until finally stepping away at the close of 2020.

Coaching and Advising

After two decades as CEO, he has directed his focus towards mentoring other CEOs, providing advisory services and investing in startups. Whether supporting large organizations, private equity firms, government agencies, or startups, the common thread is Internet services and big data analytics. He revels in connecting with ambitious people, taking on complex challenges, and infusing the same energy and determination that he used to run his own companies.

Examples of his investments include ChemDirect, Qlash, and OpenContext.

Racing and Adventure: A Shared Passion with His Son

A considerable portion of Pierson’s time is now dedicated to nurturing his son’s racing career. In 2020, his 16-year-old son was signed by a world-class team to race a 200mph prototype race car in the FIA World Endurance Championship. This journey across continents has deepened his love for travel, blending the joy of witnessing his son’s growth with the thrill of exploring new places, cuisines, and cultures.

Aligned With Noble Causes

He acknowledges his success with profound gratitude and actively seeks meaningful ways to give back. He proudly supports organizations like Self Enhancement, Inc., which empowers young adults facing challenging circumstances. In addition to direct giving, he has provided college scholarships to at-risk youth in his community. He remains accessible for speaking engagements, mentoring, and any form of support he can provide.

The Future

While Greg Pierson is clearly relishing his semi-retirement, a glint in his eye and a subtle ‘for now’ suggests that there may be more on the horizon. It might only be a matter of time until the perfect opportunity arises. He remains receptive to leading another venture at some point, with a long queue of investors and colleagues eager to collaborate with him once more. For now, he finds contentment in coaching and advising. And why not? He is savouring the fruits of his labour and relishing the chance to explore the world with his family. His journey is one of persistence, deserving of both admiration and emulation.

Greg Pierson