Jeff Stibel knocks lightly on the thick conference room table inside the expansive, 25,000-square-foot offices of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. “This thing is wood we pulled from a barn in Iowa from the same decade that [Dun & Bradstreet] was founded,” he says. His words resonate inside the modern, glass-encased conference room perched above Pacific Coast Highway, overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Malibu.
When the 41-year-old chairman and CEO founded Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. (D&B Credibility Corp.) in 2010, he shared a brand with one of the oldest and most respected names in the financial sector—Dun & Bradstreet, Inc. (D&B), founded in 1841—giving his company the unique distinction of being a startup with more than “170 years of history.” Operating independently of D&B, however, D&B Credibility Corp. is specifically geared to help businesses impact their credit and credibility to gain the trust of the others.
In today’s rapidly advancing technology age, the business model has special significance. Businesses and customers who look to the Internet and social networks for fast and easy access to business information. That’s where D&B Credibility Corp. comes in.
“Businesses start offline and will always start offline,” Stibel says. “It will start with people, the human element and connections, real estate, and ultimately … with finance and credit.
“We wanted partnerships with Google, Yahoo, Bing, Facebook, LinkedIn … but we had to own the offline piece,” he says. “And there really was only one company that had done that in the last 140 to 150 years and that was Dun & Bradstreet.”
D&B Credibility Corp.’s presence has since expanded nationwide with satellite offices in Bethlehem, Penn., Greensboro, NC, New York, NY, Phoenix, Ariz., and Tucson, Ariz. But Malibu is a sweet home to the corporate headquarters; the company has made LA Business Journal’s list of Best Places to Work in Los Angeles three years running.
As part of the company’s values and incentives Stibel implements for his workers, hard work goes highly recognized. A three-to-four-day annual group trip has been offered to top performing employees and a guest of their choice. Past visits include Iceland, Bora Bora, and Sicily.
Stibel not only heads D&B Credibility Corp. nationwide, but has created its EdAhead program which donates to school districts where they have offices through matching funds. Since 2013, they’ve donated a total of $530,000 to seven public school districts across the country.
He is also a published author; a brain scientist who has studied at Tufts University, Brown University, and MIT Sloan School of Management; and owner of 20 patents. He co-founded Zeo, Inc., and BrainGate—the latter of which spearheaded an FDA pre-clinical trial run by clinicians and professors that implants a computer chip onto the motor cortex of one’s brain to enable the control of electrical devices with thought. Stibel penned an op-ed on the subject, “The Ultimate Innovation: Convergence of Mind and Machine,” which appeared in CSQ’s winter 2011-12 edition.
“It’s now been implanted in 11 patients,” Stibel says. “These are quadriplegics, paraplegics, and locked-in patients; patients who can’t use their limbs, have never been able to communicate before, and with their thoughts they are able to type ‘I love you’ in an email for the first time ever.
“For me it’s all about the brain,” Stibel adds. “Having a background in brain science means when I innovate, I look to how the brain works and … apply that to the Internet.”
Leveraging the principles of the Internet and technology seems to be a linear theme in both his study of the human brain and his responsibilities at D&B Credibility Corp. Both the Internet and technology give him the opportunity to merge mind and machine in innovation and in work.
“If we can help businesses thrive,” Stibel says, “that will pay us back in spades—and it’s worked.”