Sixth in a series on this year’s 20 Under 40 winners.
WATERLOO — Greg Jass makes launching companies look easy.
While he was a marketing student in 2011 at the University of Northern Iowa, Jass launched SEO Solutions, a comprehensive internet marketing firm specializing in search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, email marketing, social media management and web design.
He credits much of his success to the Innovation Incubator at UNI’s Center for Business Growth and Innovation and the R.J. McElroy Student Business Incubator program, and the help of his colleague Therese Stevens.
“I can’t even put into words how instrumental they were,” he said. “We were young college students at the time, and they did a great job of letting us make mistakes at the time and coach us into making the right decisions.”
One year after graduation, he merged SEO Solutions to co-found TargetClick Marketing Solutions, which was purchased by Mudd Advertising in Cedar Falls 2012.
“The first time someone expressed interest, it was humbling and overwhelming,” he said. He was 21 years old at the time. “I didn’t really know how to take it; it was exciting.”
Jass then worked at Mudd for 2 1/2 years and helped grow their digital marketing team.
“There’s some things you can’t learn in a book. You have to be able to experience them,” he said.
Jass then co-founded Red Lab Technologies in Cedar Falls, which now boasts a nationwide client base. The company works extensively across the country, spending a lot of time in New York City and Denver, Colo.
“We’ve been fortunate in the fact that 90 percent of our business has been referral based,” he said. “They really appreciate the Iowa values that we bring.”
Jass now has eight full-time employees and two student interns.
While his former company titles were more industry based, Red Lab is a nod to his 5-year-old pup named Rex.
Originally from Garner, Jass said perseverance, hard work and making difficult decisions have helped him along the way.
He said sales are important, but people are more important.
“Surround yourself with high-quality people that have the same values in life and appreciate success and really want to be high achievers,” he said.
Jass’s awards include:
- First place in the Pappajohn New Venture Business Plan Competition for SEO in 2011.
- Annual Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute Pappajohn Award for entrepreneurship and academic achievement in 2011.
- Recognized as the UNI John Pappajohn Entrepreneurial Center’s College of Business Administration Student Entrepreneur of the Year in 2011.
Jass is married to his wife, Gwen, and they have a 2-year-old daughter, Gabby.
‘Surround yourself with high-quality people that have the same values in life and appreciate success and really want to be high achievers.’ - Greg Jass
'Surround yourself with high-quality people that have the same values in life and appreciate success and really want to be high achievers.'
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