Left in a Dumpster at Birth, This Young Entrepreneur Is Now Making Millions
The life of Freddie Figgers is a prime example of the saying "It's not how you start but how you finish." Abandoned in a dumpster only two days after his birth, Figgers was placed into foster care.
However, his story, even with its rough beginnings, had quite the happy ending. With his knowledge and business acumen, the young man has gone on to create a multimillion-dollar empire in the telecommunications field.
A Heartbreaking Start
The beginning of Figgers' story was far from a fairytale. A few days after his birth in 1989, the gifted entrepreneur’s biological mother discarded him in a dumpster. The unfortunate choice left the infant without a parent or family member to care for him.
Because of his mother's decision, Figgers also never had the opportunity to meet his biological family. He was completely alone in the first days of his life. Fortunately, it was only a short time before someone who heard his cries discovered him in the dumpster.
A Forever Family
At only two days old, Figgers was placed in the foster care system. Though he was a newborn, the experience very well may have been traumatizing to him. However, he didn't have to wait long to find parents to love and care for him.
Nathan and Betty Figgers from Quincy, Florida, were used to fostering kids. After they heard the baby's story, they stepped right in to help the newborn. The Figgers took him in as a foster child right away, and they officially adopted him just 13 days later.
The Dumpster Baby
Figgers grew up happily with his caring adoptive parents. They made sure that he was well fed and clothed and received the love that his biological mom couldn't give him. However, not every part of his life was happy.
The young entrepreneur was often bullied in elementary school. Because his story was known around town, kids teased him, calling him "dumpster baby." Figgers admitted that it was hard. "I'd have to say it was embarrassing when I was younger," he said in an interview with The Washington Post.
A Love of Computers
To keep his son out of trouble, Nathan Figgers found a cheap but life-changing present for Freddie. The father paid $25 for a broken 1989 Macintosh computer. He figured the young boy could play around with it in his free time.
Freddie quickly fell in love with the old computer. He took it apart and put it back together multiple times, which fostered his love and understanding of how computers worked. Figgers even got it to turn on by installing some parts from an old radio that belonged to his dad.
That strong knowledge of computers at such a young age would prove helpful. In a day when computers were becoming more popular, doors opened for the young man due to his skill set. He began to fix people’s computers around the neighborhood and did pretty well in his new craft.
Figgers still has the old Macintosh that his father gifted him. It's a reminder of where he started and how one piece of equipment changed the trajectory of his life forever. Bigger opportunities were ahead for this young man.
Serving His City
At age 15, Figgers was able to snag his first official job working for the city of Quincy. He served as a computer technician and network administrator. After school, he worked a few hours each day. His main tasks involved repairing computers for the city’s offices.
During his time there, he was also part of a team that helped to build the NetQuincy Telecommunication infrastructure for the city. With this work, the city was then able to provide internet services to local residents and businesses.
Respectful and Hardworking
During his time there, Figgers also supplied computer training to the city's employees and citizens. He gave his all, making sure that his tasks were completed efficiently and with excellence. The young man was willing to go the extra mile and didn't squander his opportunity.
City employees often praised Figgers' work and his demeanor. He was described as being very pleasant and hardworking, and he quickly became a favorite employee around City Hall. "He's a terrific young man. He conducts himself very well," said the city manager, Willie Earl Banks, to the Gadsden County Times.
A Young Entrepreneur
Though Figgers enjoyed his time with Quincy’s city departments, he knew he wanted to be an employer and not an employee. At the age of 16, he decided to step out on his own. He started to repair computers for consumers and local businesses in his free time after school.
That same year, he started his first business: Figgers Computers, Inc. Using his experience coupled with an official name and paperwork, the young man was able to earn the trust of many companies to repair and monitor their networks and computers.
Cloud-based Hosting Network
Figgers ran his company from his parents' home. He often received 20 to 40 computers a week, repairing their hardware or fighting viruses for clients. However, he had bigger ideas on his mind. A year later, Figgers began to research servers and their potential to share data and resources with users from one place.
He eventually built his own data center at his parents' home. It had nine web servers. This cloud-based network stored files and other data for clients in one central spot to save storage on their computers.
Figgers Computers and Networks
The young man's research prompted Figgers to start another company called Figgers Computers and Networks. With this new venture, the budding entrepreneur worked with local businesses in need of website hosting and data storage at low prices.
Within seven months, Figgers had about 150 clients in a wide variety of fields, from law offices to local car dealerships. He was making a great deal of money and also had a patent for his cloud database. Soon after, the entrepreneur created his own computer operating system for clients to use.
With his brain power, creativity and ability to pick things up quickly, Figgers kept building the foundation for his blossoming empire. With his success, he decided that it would be best to skip college. "I wouldn’t recommend my path to everyone," said Figgers said to The Washington Post, "but it worked for me."
Clients also wanted him to create custom software programs for their daily operations. Figgers took the time to learn how to develop his own. By 2008, he had created over 80 custom software programs for different companies to purchase.
Even with all he had accomplished at such a young age, Figgers still had more that he wanted to do. He was astounded by the idea of telecommunications and cell phones and knew that the trend would only become bigger with every passing year. He even studied how voice calls worked.
Figgers had a dream of building his own telecom network. He believed that his knowledge and experience could propel him to that level, allowing him to compete with big names like Verizon and AT&T. Unfortunately, his funding couldn't accommodate that huge goal just yet.
Even though Figgers had achieved great things, he wasn't exempt from experiencing failures. When he developed his operating system and began selling it, he ran into various problems with clients using it. With so many people using Microsoft Windows, the system had many compatibility issues.
In spite of his failures along the way, Figgers dusted himself off and got back up to try again. He refused to stop working towards newer and greater goals for himself. That work eventually paid off in a way that he hadn't anticipated.
The Big Break
In his early twenties, the young businessman developed a huge idea. After his father Nathan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Figgers decided to create a GPS tracker program to keep tabs on his father when he wandered off.
What was unique about this tracker was that it could fit into a person's shoes and allow someone else to talk to the wearer if they were lost. Figgers used the software with his father on multiple occasions. He eventually sold the software to a company in Kansas for $2.2 million.
Figgers struggled to deal with his emotions as his father went through the worsening stages of the disease. "It was difficult to watch him decline — it’s something you never forget," Figgers told The Washington Post. Nathan Figgers passed away in 2014.
Though it was hard to say goodbye, Figgers has noted that he’ll always remember the great impact that his father had on his life from the time he was a baby. "I’ve always been so grateful to him and my mom. They taught me not to let my circumstances define who I was," the rising mogul shared.
While he was grieving the loss of his father, Figgers had started his telecommunications network under the name Figgers Communications. He used the money he’d earned from the sale of his GPS tracking program to get the company off of the ground in 2009.
He applied for a licensed spectrum band from the FCC to provide telecommunications services via the internet and voice. He became the youngest person in history to hold an FCC license. That company is now Figgers Wireless, the only Black-owned telecommunications company in the country with 4G LTE and 5G VOLTE smartphones.
After years of building up a strong clientele and investor portfolio, Figgers Wireless began to offer a variety of products for consumers at an affordable cost. The products range from smartphones and TVs to other top-quality electronics.
The company also has a mobile hotspot that allows customers to go online wherever they are, using a secure connection. They can also buy a charger and speaker that connect with compatible devices wirelessly. Figgers Wireless offers a variety of hardware for digital devices.
America’s First 5G Smartphone
Figgers Wireless developed the first 5G smartphone made in America with the Figgers F3 model. The smartphone has facial recognition and a fingerprint sensor, along with the option for multi-user profiles with two active numbers to separate a person’s business and personal communications.
Another great feature of this phone is that there’s unlimited storage for photos. The Figgers F3 phone has an intelligent battery that optimizes usage based on most-used apps. The device is built with nano-coating technology, making it built to resist hard falls and water.
Another great product that Figgers developed through his company is the wireless F-Buds headphones. Much like Apple AirPods, the F-Buds connect to a phone or another device through Bluetooth technology.
With 50 hours of talk time, voice command, water resistance, intuitive controls and a wireless charging case that gives a full charge in just 30 minutes, the F-Buds can compete with Apple's product.
Though he's been successful, Figgers hasn't forgotten his very humble beginnings and where he grew up. He started the Figgers Foundation to support his community in Florida and other areas. Through the foundation, the entrepreneur regularly donates to a variety of causes.
Over the years, Figgers has used his wealth to provide financial assistance for relief efforts after natural disasters, award college scholarships to high school students and buy school supplies for teachers in need. "The best thing any human being can do is influence another one," Figgers told The Washington Post.
Sarasota Military Academy Donation
One major donation Figgers made through his foundation was to the Sarasota Military Academy, a public charter school in Florida. The foundation donated 20 computers to cadets at the school, providing much-needed replacements for older, outdated models in the language arts classrooms.
The donation was an extension of the Figgers Foundation's back-to-school initiative in August of 2019. The initiative was created to help teachers better meet the needs of students in the classroom. Figgers went to the school in September of 2019 to reveal the computers and inspire the students with an encouraging message.
Donation to Puerto Rico
Another big donation Figgers provided happened after hurricanes Maria and Irma devastated Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Figgers’ company donated 500 satellite phones and SIM cards with unlimited calls, texts and data to impacted families.
The SIM cards for the donated phones were activated for 90 days free of charge so families could still communicate with other loved ones during the difficult time. "We all need to do our part to make sure that Puerto Rico gets back on its feet," Figgers shared in a press release.
Healthy Lifestyle Ideas
Figgers has another business solely focused on helping people improve their quality of life by making healthy choices. Figgers Health is dedicated to creating innovative technologies to facilitate better health for people with chronic diseases. For those with diabetes, the company has created a portable pocket-sized glucose meter that tests blood glucose levels.
The glucose meter kit comes with test strips, a charging cable and a travel case. The company also has an app available that tracks test results for each day, analyzing the data for future treatments to help users manage their health.
In addition to all of these companies and products, Figgers has other successful ventures out there that add to his long resume. He has his own credit and debit card line called FiggCash that issues a premium luxury card for all credit types.
Figgers has also created his own music label, Figgers Music Group, that’s working on developing new music for talented artists. After many years of working hard, learning and taking risks, Figgers has created an empire that’s worth over $60 million.
Even though his story didn’t have a happy beginning, Figgers is at peace and proud of where he ended up in life. He’s also proud of the impact he’s making. He never did meet his biological mom, who he learned was a prostitute and a drug addict. He has no desire to get in contact with her.
Instead, he shows love and appreciation to the parents who loved him, raised him and made him the man he is today. "They taught me not to let my circumstances define who I was," Figgers has said.
Starting a Family
Figgers has used the life lessons that his father and mother taught him over the years with his own family. He’s married to attorney Natalie Figgers, who also plays a big role in his company when it comes to legal matters. The couple has a young daughter, Rose.
The telecommunications mogul loves his work and that his family gets to see him help others. "I believe that if I can have an impact on even one other person, it can multiply. I want my daughter to grow up knowing that," Figgers shared.
Sharing His Story
With his humble beginnings and incredible rise to success, it’s no wonder that many publications wanted to learn more about Figgers. His story has been shared in several print and online publications, including HuffPost, Forbes, Black Enterprise and many others. He’s also been featured on the Tamron Hall Show.
The media coverage has opened the door for more business for Figgers and his companies. More consumers are learning about what Figgers Communications as a whole has to offer, and business is continuing to grow. It has also led to more opportunities to work with big names.
A Celebrity Partnership
Because of Figgers’ work and knowledge, he entered into a partnership with Grammy-nominated rapper Jeezy. The two work together to market high-quality wireless products that rival current competitor standards. However, these products will be available at much more affordable prices.
Jeezy understood Figgers’ humble beginnings all too well, having started at a low place in life himself. "As a businessman and entrepreneur, to be able to partner with Freddie, someone who overcame similar life obstacles, and to give people more access to handhelds at an affordable price, it’s truly a blessing," he shared in a press release.
Advice to Kids
Having started his business as a young kid, Figgers now wants to inspire other young budding entrepreneurs with big dreams. He regularly shares his story with kids to inspire them to dream big and work for what they want in life. His major words of wisdom include having faith in the dream, no matter how dire things seem.
"Believe in what you do," he shared in a video on his YouTube channel. "Don’t let anyone talk down to you. People might not see your vision. People might not believe in you, but believe in yourself and keep thriving."
A Living Inspiration
Figgers continues to develop new products and ideas for his companies, growing income and a wider customer base. His love of learning and natural talent helped get him to where he is today. The mogul is even more dedicated to his work than ever before.
Though he’s focused on his businesses and partnerships, the entrepreneur is also even more committed to giving back to those in need, saying, "I’m at a happy place in my life [and] it’s important to me to pay it forward."