Greg is a bootstrap entrepreneur who started a small health insurance compliance and reimbursement newsletter business with $5,000 in 1991 and grew it without any outside equity to $1 million a year in profit by 2001. He and his team then reinvested that cash flow in over 100 acquisitions that have produced a compound annual growth rate of over 35% on equity capital. Today Greg has beneficial economic interests in over 100 companies with 7,000 employees, $1.75 billion in revenue, and $20 billion in proforma assets including pending acquisitions. Greg’s most important strategy has been long-term thinking with a focus on healthcare and “first who then what.” Greg has never sold a company and has never taken a dividend from his insurance operations.
Greg was born in San Mateo, CA in 1970, the youngest of five children. His father was an airline pilot and his mother was a homemaker. He started a high school newspaper the Gryphon’s Tale at Crystal Springs Uplands School in Hillsborough CA and later graduated cum laude. While a freshman at Yale, Greg founded Eli Magazine, a political satire magazine. Later at Yale, Greg started the company that would become the Eli Global group of companies. In 1991 he launched Home Care Week, a reimbursement newsletter for home health agencies that one Eli Global company still publishes today. Greg graduated from Yale magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with an honors economics degree in 1993. By the year 2000, the company he’d bootstrapped from scratch had $5 million in revenue—all with no outside equity capital.
The founding theme of the high school newspaper, the undergraduate college magazine, and Home Care Week newsletter was Greg’s love of the written word. His earliest inspirations were publishers like William Randolph Hearst. He got the idea to start a newsletter company from Howard Ruff who published the Ruff Times, a newsletter that his mother subscribed to.
From Greg’s roots as a publisher, he is a strong believer in the freedom of the press and the freedom of the people in the jurisdictions where Eli Global operates.
Eli Global acquired its first company in 2001. Since then we have closed more than 100 acquisitions in diverse industries such as life insurance, financial services, health care services, physician practices, information technology, market research, publishing, business information, collections, distribution and logistics, utilities, automotive services, niche manufacturing, credit management services and more.
Eli Global acquired its first life insurance company, Southland National, in 2014. We have since acquired and completed over a dozen acquisitions and reinsurance treaties globally and have total life insurance and annuity assets of $9 billion that today operate under the Global Bankers brand. Including publicly announced acquisitions, Global Bankers has proforma assets of $20 billion globally.
From one employee in 1993, the Eli Global federation of independent companies has grown to more than 7,000 employees today with revenues of $1.75 billion. We have companies in Europe, the United States, the United Kingdom, Central America, Hong Kong, Australia and the Middle East. Since our beginnings, we’ve achieved a 35 percent compound annual growth rate on equity capital—through both organic growth and acquisitions.
With a group of talented portfolio and business leaders at the helm, the Eli Global companies have always done things differently. Our leaders keep a low profile, always challenging their teams to learn and grow even as we challenge ourselves to do the same. For Eli Global companies, the customer is always at the forefront. Any leader’s highest and best use is to serve the customer optimally. “We don’t crow about our success: our success speaks for itself,” Lindberg says. As a rule, we don’t do a lot of publicity and prefer to keep the focus on our customers and the people who serve them.
The Eli Global companies are a federation of separate, distinct portfolios, each with vision and expertise in a particular market sector. Each portfolio contains independent, autonomous, and separately managed companies serving a broad range of diverse market sectors globally. The independence, autonomy, and legal separation of each operating company is maximized to drive maximum management autonomy and accountability, as well as to enhance risk management and diversification.
The Eli Global Model
Since its beginnings, Eli Global has embraced a contrarian, decentralized business model. “We partner with great leaders and step out of their way,” says Lindberg. Eli Global companies are autonomous and independent. That way, decisions are made by the experts who are closest to customers—not by some remote bureaucrat in ‘HQ’ who doesn’t understand the business. Eli Global sets high expectations for leaders, and they meet them. Our Eli Global corporate headquarters, under Greg Lindberg’s leadership, is small and will stay that way. “We don’t want our businesses looking to ‘HQ’ for leadership,” says Greg Lindberg. “We want to empower leadership and ownership thinking at all levels: sales person as leader, telemarketer as leader, customer service rep as leader.”
Eli Global invests for the long term. We never sell companies and we will not go public. We will continue to invest capital in growth industries around the world with the proprietary investment origination capacity we’ve built in house. With our life insurance businesses, we invest permanent capital and never take dividends from these insurance businesses in order to maximize financial strength and retain capital for future growth.
We use this buy and hold, long-term permanent capital model to invest a significant percentage of our capital in companies that add to the greater good with an emphasis in health care, technology, life insurance and financial services worldwide.