Rod D. Martin, founder and CEO of The Martin Organization, is a technology entrepreneur, futurist, hedge fund manager, author and conservative activist from Destin, Florida. Fox Business News calls him a “tech guru”, Britain’s Guardian labeled him a “philosopher-capitalist”, Gawker called him “another of Peter Thiel’s brilliant nonconformists,” and George Washington University’s Graduate School of Political Management introduced him as “America’s foremost [conservative] expert on online politics.”
Rod is an investor, director or officer in numerous ventures, specializing in the Internet and biotech spaces. He is especially noted for his role as a member of the pre-IPO startup team at PayPal.com, a Silicon Valley legend, which is today the dominant payments provider on the Internet. Launched during the dot-com bust by a team whose average age was just 23, PayPal amassed more than 25 million users in just over two years and was the first dot-com to successfully transition its user base to a paying status through use of the “Freemium” model. PayPal successfully drove giant competitors such as Western Union, AOL and Citibank out of its market and conducted the first successful post-bust technology pure-play IPO. In late 2002, PayPal ultimately merged with eBay for more than $1.5 billion. Moreover, PayPal enabled an entrepreneurial revolution, helping to create literally millions of small businesses around the world, and provided a previously impossible level of monetary security for the masses by providing free offshore accounts denominated in the user’s choice of major currencies.
PayPal’s alumni — the so-called “PayPal Mafia” — have launched more successful companies in a shorter time than those of virtually any other company in history. Some of the more famous of these include YouTube, LinkedIn, Facebook, Yelp, Geni, Yammer, Rapleaf, Quantcast, CapLinked, Slide, Powerset, Palantir, Ironport, Xoom, Tesla Motors and SpaceX.
In 2009 Rod and partner Jim Czirr led the takeover and turnaround of Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT), where he currently serves as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. GALT’s lead candidate drug, which has successfully reversed liver and kidney fibrosis in preclinical studies, is now in human clinical trials and has received Fast Track designation from the FDA. The company is also developing a drug which promises to greatly enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy agents while nearly eliminating their side-effects.
Among other ventures, Rod is a Founder and Executive Chairman of Advanced Search Laboratories, which is developing an entire new generation of internet search tools; a Founder and Managing Partner of 10 X Capital Management; an advisor to CapLinked, described as “LinkedIn-meets-Salesforce for private investing”; and a Founder of Agincourt Ventures, “a collaboration of Apple and PayPal alumni making magic”. He is also a Founder and Executive Chairman of Global PET Imaging, which is systematically upgrading patient access to state-of-the-art diagnostics.
In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Rod is one of America’s leading experts on the conjunction of technology and politics. He serves as Advisory Board Chairman for the National Federation of Republican Assemblies, of which he was thrice elected President, and previously served as Policy Director for former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee. He is a member of the Gold Circle and Board of Governors of the Council for National Policy, a group of top conservative leaders from around the United States; and a member of the Arlington Group, a coalition of America’s principal Christian activist leadership, and former chairman of its National Security Committee. Along with several colleagues from PayPal and Apple, he also leads The Vanguard Project, which seeks to develop a state-of-the-art technology platform for driving and empowering large-scale activism.
Rod studied political and economic thought at Cambridge University in Great Britain and is an award-winning civil rights scholar. He was elected student body president at Baylor Law School, where he was also named “Outstanding Oral Advocate” in his first year; he belongs to Phi Delta Phi, the international legal honor society; he has served as faculty for the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Blackstone Fellowship program; he is a longstanding member of the Federalist Society; and he serves on the boards of the Everglades Legal Foundation, a pro-liberty public interest law firm in his home state of Florida. In October 2013 he was elected to the Board of Trustees of Hannibal LaGrange University, where he was previously named Distinguished Visiting Professor of History, Government and Entrepreneurship. He was also an architect of an innovative entrepreneurship curriculum for the Universidad Francisco Marroquín, lauded by Milton Friedman as “one of Latin America’s leading universities” and by Walter Williams as “an island of economic sanity in a sea of socialism.”
He is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution (General Joseph Martin Chapter, named for his fifth great grandfather), chairs the Grace Hall Shakespeare Society, and holds Life Memberships in the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. He is deeply involved in charitable work aimed at alleviating global poverty, has raised significant sums for private K-12 scholarships for disadvantaged children in the United States, and serves on the boards of several charitable foundations, including the Board of Governors of Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership (HOBY) and the Board of Regents at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, as well as the Committee on Order of Business of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination.
A noted futurist, activist, and thought-leader, Rod’s extensive writings have appeared in such publications as FoxNews.com, Human Events, The Daily Caller, WorldNetDaily, The American Spectator, World magazine, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, the Manchester Union-Leader, the San Francisco Examiner and Diario Las Américas, and he has been featured on numerous national radio and television news programs. He has written or edited several books, including Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America (Thomas Graves Edition, 2011), The Federalist Papers (Thomas Graves Edition, 2010), and Thank You, President Bush: Reflections on the War on Terror, Defense of the Family, and Revival of the Economy (2004). He also serves as Series General Editor, Thomas Graves Classics in the History of American Liberty, and his Visions of America and The Imperative of Excellence are forthcoming. He is married to Sherri, proud father of Dolly, Archer and Haley, and grandfather of Annabelle.