Mr. Firer is an experienced leader and a visionary with the knowledge in international relations, corporate transactions, financial services, wireless technology and logistics. Mr. Firer served as the Executive Chairman of Unified Payments and has led the company from its inception until its acquisition by Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) in April of 2013. Under his leadership, Unified Payments’ revenues grew by 23,646% over 3-year period and Inc. Magazine ranked the company as #1 fastest-growing company in 2012. Prior to Unified Payments, Mr. Firer held senior executive positions in private equity, payment processing, wireless communications and technology companies. Mr. Firer was recognized by Forbes as one of the 5 Incredible Entrepreneurs and by Business Leader Magazine as a Top Entrepreneur in South Florida, named by Poder Magazine as one of the Most Influential People in Miami and recognized by Inc. Magazine as the founder of the fastest-growing private company in 2012. Mr. Firer serves as the Executive Chairman of Net Element and a board/advisory member of various companies including: World Health Organization (WHO), Eastern Caribbean Blockchain Association, E2Exchange, Star Capital, Progressive Care, PharmCo, SarTeleMed and Gainfy Foundation.
Mr. Firer holds a diplomatic rank of the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary.
Mr. Firer supports the initiatives of the Firer Family Charitable Foundation, the charitable family fund focused on helping families and children in need. In addition Mr. Firer serves on various committees of Electronic Transaction Association (ETA).
Specialties: Through his past experience, Mr. Firer embodies an experienced leader with the knowledge and capabilities to lead the growing company into the future with great expectations. The success he has had in the past includes experience as a senior operations manager, building presence and generating profitability in highly competitive markets. He also has proven achievements in new product launch, new market development and establishing market presence.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
Entry into a payments industry came in 2002 after I exited a wireless communications business and was looking for the next venture to get into, a friend of mine introduced me to the world of payments. I was intrigued by the recurring revenues aspect of the business and wanted to create a company that differentiates itself from competition. The mission was to create a technology company with the consultative approach to merchants in an effort to streamline payment acceptance processes and fees associated with accepting cashless payments in a multi-channel environment. Since initially getting into the payments business, I have had several exits and are currently a CEO and Chairman of Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE), which is a financial technology group focused on payments acceptance in a multi-channel environment.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day very early, typically get into the office by 8am and start prioritizing tasks. Prioritizing and staying focused are the main objectives throughout the day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Since early days, I have been a visionary when it comes to business, driving strategies, thinking outside the box and having unorthodox approach helps me bring ideas to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I have a passion for technology and recurring revenues.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
What advice would you give your younger self?
Stay focused and persistent.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Anybody can be successful!
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Continue evolving through personalized research, reading and self-education.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Being entrepreneur means that you will fail. I have failed in a business venture where my biggest vendor went bankrupt, this wiped out the business and my personal finance, making me rethink the spending and streamline my personal life. This experience reminded me to continue to be focused and stay humble. “Failure is the key to success.”
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Service industry is evolving as most recently witnessed by the global pandemic, traditional businesses are failing. I would suggest the readers to look at the Artificial Intelligence and its applications in an online and data environment. Utilizing AI, entrepreneurs could create future-proof business and disrupt many industries.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 I spent was to help someone in need. I am passionate about helping families and children in need, which always reminds me where I came from.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Mac OS for its stability, ease of use and solid-state technology, I also love to play around with publishing software such Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as it gives me an ability to explore my creativity. With respect to web services: linkedin, gmail, various news sites.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The recent book that I read “the Laws of Human Nature” by Robert Greene. In my opinion it addresses the most important subject of all – understanding people’s drives and motivations, even when they are unconscious of them themselves.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.