Billionaire Profile: Peter Sperling

By | September 27, 2010

According to the August 2010 calculations of Forbes 400 Richest Americans, Peter Sperling ranks #356 on the list. He is also placed at #828 in the category of World Billionaires with a net worth of $1.15B. Mr. Sperling is a 50-year-old married father of two and currently residing in Phoenix, Arizona. He also resides part-time in California, and it is reported he owns more than thirty homes throughout the world.

Peter serves as vice-president chairman of the world-renowned Apollo Group, of which about 95% of its sales are attributed to the University of Phoenix, the country’s largest private university. Apollo went public in 1994 and now boasts over 53,000 employees and 400,000 students enrolled in various degree programs ranging from associates to doctoral. The for-profit organization provides services and educational venues through various subsidiaries, the University of Phoenix being the largest. Physical campuses occupy Europe and North America. Western International University (graduate and undergraduate programs) and Insights Schools are also a part of the Apollo Group. Insights Schools provides online high school courses for pupils being home-schooled.

Peter inherited some of his wealth from his father, John Sperling, the founder of the University of Phoenix. However, over the years, he has escalated his wealth with wise judgment and knowledge of buying and selling stock and investing money into companies dealing with the future and its technology.. In July 2010, he sold 100,000 shares of his holdings in the Apollo Group at an average of $47.67 each.

He has also recently invested money into Jelli, a company that offers services that allow their users to have a voice as to what songs are aired on traditional radio stations. With Jelli, the paying audience can cast their votes online to determine the songs of their choice. Backers, Sperling being one of them, hope their investment will raise Jelli sales and develop the service process.

Besides being vice-chairman of the Apollo Group since 2008, Mr. Sperling is also the chairman and co-founder of CallWave, Inc. Founded in 1998, the company is based in San Francisco, California with offices in Santa Barbara and Bulgaria. Competing with AOL, the company is a provider of mobile and internet communications products and services. Allowing mobile phones and personal computers to communicate with each other is a major CallWave innovation.

From Peter Sperling, we can learn the art of observance and learn when to buy, when to sell, and when to invest. In observing the drop in stock and student enrollment, he was able to sell a large share of his holdings before the price fell further. A watchful eye is imperative in business, as Mr. Sperling demonstrated. Keeping up with today’s technological innovations is key. Peter got in on the ground floor with CallWave, and time will tell if this was a wise investment. Mr. Sperling has shown us that a keen eye on developments occurring around us can be beneficial to us financially.

His expertise is not only beneficial in business undertakings, but also in everyday life. For example, being aware of what is happening in the world (trucking situation, weather) can predict a rise in food products. What can now be done via internet is eliminating many in-person transactions, thus eliminating jobs and taken-for-granted services. As Peter is awre of his surroundings, so should we be also.