How Fred Schebesta went from Pizza Hut to castle-owning millionaire

Home Economy How Fred Schebesta went from Pizza Hut to castle-owning millionaire How Fred Schebesta went from Pizza Hut to castle-owning millionaire

The founder of an Aussie tech giant has talked through his road to success, transforming from a Pizza Hut call centre operator into a multi-millionaire.

The multi-millionaire founder of tech giant Finder has opened up about his road to success and how he went from a Pizza Hut call centre operator to one of Australia’s most successful business owners.

In an in-depth interview with The Australian, Schebesta revealed he had sacrificed “health, family time, friendships” while amassing his empire and spoke about hitting rock bottom during a messy divorce with the mother of his two daughters.

The 39-year-old chief executive last year made The Australian Financial Review‘s Young Rich List, ranking 26.

Schebesta now has a personal net worth of over $210 million after transitioning into the online world, launching into the stratosphere by offering Aussies a go-to website for comparing everything from loans to televisions.

But Schebesta admitted he did some “dumb things” while navigating through his relationship breakdown and paying $30,000 per month in lawyer’s fees over a difficult two and a half year period.

The quirky CEO said it took him almost three years of recovery, including some advice from divisive Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, to finally give up on alcohol.

“I have enough energy, I don’t need to add more to the tank. You already have a firework, you don’t have to make it bigger. Alcohol was something I could just remove. It has saved me money, given me more time and made me healthier,” he told The Australian.

“I remember after giving it up I went to this charity dinner, I was dressed pretty flamboyantly. A guy said to me, ‘I was watching you all night and you didn’t have a single drink’. People are watching. I want to be my authentic self and I just don’t think it helps.”

He now lives in a $15 million Sydney oceanfront “fortress”, after making it big on bitcoin before its astronomical surge in 2017.

The cliffside mansion — noted for its glass, stone and galvanised steel features — has breathtaking views of the ocean and was formerly owned by ad guru John Singleton in 2005.

Finder has now branched out into the crypto-sphere, launching its first crypto product called Finder Earn. The product acts as a crypto-based competitor to bank deposits, offering users a 4 per cent return to exchange Australian dollars for “stablecoins” linked to the currency.

“You can imagine we are going to leverage cryptocurrency and bring it to the everyday person. Making it simpler in terms of borrowing money. So not having to do a credit check, because you’re already collateralised from your crypto or your folio,” he said.

“We see ourselves as that bridge between the web 2.0 and the web 3.0 world. Bringing the everyday consumer on that journey. It is quite difficult and we want to make it more accessible, easy and simple. To be able to get the benefits that crypto can bring.”

Schebesta says Australia has a once in a century opportunity to become a cryptocurrency hub that attracts investment from across the globe.

“I think high level, like really zooming out on a macro scale, not betting on crypto will be like not betting on the internet in 96-97. Our yield product, it’s exploding, going so well. People are taking risk off. They want to find yield,” he said.

“In terms of market size, its still pretty small. I think it’s still just beginning.”

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