10 Things You Didn’t Know About Jon Yarbrough

For decades, Jon Yarbrough topped the list of the wealthiest people in the gaming industry. The entrepreneur is best known as the founder of video games provider, Video Gaming Technologies. Whilst his professional achievements are well-known, there’s more to Yarbrough than meets the eye. Here are ten things you probably didn’t know about him.

1. Jon Yarbrough became a billionaire through a business he started in his garage

Jon Yarbrough started Video Gaming Technologies (VGT) in his garage in 1991 with a simple idea – to create gaming machines for Native American casinos. Over time, his company grew and by the time he sold VGT to Australian gaming conglomerate Aristocrat Technologies in 2014, it was worth $1.3 billion.

What sets his story apart is his refusal to give in to negative circumstances and his relentless pursuit of success. His story serves as a motivational example for aspiring entrepreneurs who start small with only their determination and a dream to back them.

2. He’s a passionate philanthropist

Yarbrough has always believed in giving back to the community. Through the Yarbrough Foundation, he has donated millions to various causes, including education, mental health, and support for veterans.

His foundation’s work isn’t widely reported, but he genuinely believes in making a difference where it’s needed. His philanthropy works range across different sectors, making him a diverse philanthropist who genuinely desires to generate positive change.

3. He’s an alumni of Tennessee Technological University

Jon Yarbrough’s academic roots trace back to Tennessee Technological University (TTU). He graduated from TTU in 1980 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business and Industrial Management.

Returning to his alma mater, he has generously donated to the university multiple times. He’s credited for a $1 million donation towards a new engineering building, showing that he values and supports quality education and understands the critical role that a competent institution plays in shaping future leaders and prosperors.

4. He’s an esteemed member of the Horatio Alger Association

The Horatio Alger Association is known for honoring outstanding individuals who have excelled in their respective fields against all odds and who contribute positively to society. Jon Yarbrough was inducted as a lifetime member in 2016, accrediting his journey from less than favorable circumstances to remarkable success.

As a member of the association, he has participated in its mentoring programs, reaching out and offering guidance to the younger generation. His story is truly inspiring, resonating with the very values that the Horatio Alger Association promotes—perseverance, integrity, and a strong work ethic.

5. He’s an outdoor enthusiast

What’s more surprising about Yarbrough is his love for the outdoors. Despite his demanding career in the corporate world, he’s known as a hunting enthusiast and a passionate fan of wildlife.

While rarely making public appearances in this context, it’s an important part of his life where he indulges in the freedom and serenity offered by the wilderness, a stark contrast to his usually busy lifestyle. This is one secret that reveals a more laid-back side to his otherwise well-known, professional persona.

6. He was a veteran in the National Guard

Before his business ventures, Jon Yarbrough served in the National Guard. His time in the service deeply influenced his view of the world and played a significant part in shaping his character.

It’s probably due to this background that Jon remains an ardent supporter of veterans and provides grants through his foundation that benefit war veterans and their families. His commitment to supporting those who have served their country showcases his respect and appreciation for their sacrifices.

7. He finds inspiration in his roots

Born in rural Tennessee, Jon Yarbrough has never forgotten his humble beginnings. Despite his astonishing success, he remains grounded and carries the lessons he learned in his modest upbringing.

In many of his interviews, he always emphasizes the importance of hard work, determination, and resilience – principles he picked up growing up in rural America. This rootedness continues to be a source of inspiration for his personal and professional life and provides a template for his philanthropic commitments.

8. He’s a real estate investor

Apart from being a gaming tycoon, Jon Yarbrough has dabbled in real estate. He has investments in various properties across the country including commercial properties in Washington, DC and several properties throughout Tennessee.

The ability to successfully venture into another industry speaks volumes of his entrepreneurial skills and his prowess in asset management. Diversifying his interests, he has managed to increase his wealth and secure a further foothold in the world of business.

9. He had an interesting career pre-VGT

Before his magical journey with VGT took off, Yarbrough worked various jobs that gave him an understanding of businesses, like a service station attendant and a tire salesman. It is these early experiences that laid a solid foundation for his later ventures.

His ability to adapt to different roles, workplaces, and industries shows his flexibility and resilience, eventually paving the way for his success in the gaming industry.

10. He was once a professional foosball player

You’d never guess that the billionaire had an impressive sports background! Indeed, during his younger years, Jon Yarbrough was a professional foosball player. It was his love for the sport that led him to the gaming industry and eventually to the idea that made him what he is today – a self-made business tycoon.

From foosball tables to highly sophisticated gaming machines, the businessman has truly come a long way. This strange, yet intriguing fact about Jon Yarbrough’s past, showcases a captivating blend of an adventurous spirit and a business mind.

Now that you’re privy to these interesting facts about Jon Yarbrough, you’d surely agree this billionaire entrepreneur is as multifaceted as they come. From his humble beginnings to his philanthropic pursuits, he is a combination of dedication, resilience, and heart.

Links:
1. Jon Yarbrough’s Philanthropy:
2. Tennessee Technological University:

3. Horatio Alger Association:

4. Professional foosball player: