Jud Bergman

Jud Bergman

Founder, chairman and CEO, Envestnet Inc.

Describing his launch of the first web-based wealth management platform in 1999, Judson “Jud” Bergman, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Envestnet Inc., called it “bleeding edge, not leading edge.”

It was the early days of the internet and the concept of “online” was new.

“For the first couple of years, we had interest from a few early adopters who said they wanted a fee-based wealth platform,” he said. “Potential customers would say, ‘It looks good — how soon can you install it?’ We said, ‘We don’t install, we host.’”

It took several long years for the industry to start catching up to Mr. Bergman’s idea of internet-based services.

What kept him holding on?

“I was meshuganah [crazy],” he said. “At some point the business runs you and not the other way around. You have to have the courage of your convictions.”

Envestnet, which now services more than 5.8 million investor accounts and over $1 trillion in total platform assets, has evolved to provide a wide range of specialized financial technology to advisers and enterprises.

Mr. Bergman, 59, who originally pitched his business idea unsuccessfully to his employer, credits his courage to launch the company on his own to his parents’ influence.

His father ran a small business and his mother was a nurse and a history instructor at a local college. They both valued independent thinking.

“They told me it doesn’t matter what other people are doing; it matters what you’re going to do,” Mr. Bergman said. “I realized that even if my employer didn’t want to pursue my business idea, it didn’t mean it wasn’t a good idea.”

– Deborah Nason