Michael W. Ferro, Jr is an inventor, investor and philanthropist. He is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Merrick Ventures LLC, a Chicago-based venture capital and private equity firm focused on big data, deep learning, and content aggregation and distribution technologies. From 2008-2015, Ferro served as the chairman of NASDAQ company Merge Healthcare, turning the organization into a billion-dollar enterprise, which was acquired by IBM in October. From 2011 until early 2016, Ferro served as the Chairman of Wrapports LLC, which owns media properties like the Sun-Times Network, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Reader, Chicago.com, Aggrego, Thecube.com and Higi LLC.
On Thursday, February 4, 2016, it was announced that Ferro became the largest shareholder and non-executive chairman of Tribune Publishing after driving home a $44-million deal via his investment firm Merrick Media. As of June 20, the company has been rebranded as Tronc (standing for Tribune Online Content) and has begun trading on the NASDAQ. As chairman of Tronc, Ferro is determined to usher the historic company into the digital age, focusing on big data and artificial intelligence technology.
An inventor of a number of proprietary products and processes, Ferro holds multiple patents issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Most recently, Ferro was issued a patent for his innovations in medical imaging for Merge healthcare, and several of Ferro’s developments are currently patent pending.
Best known for founding the Internet software company Click Commerce at the age of 28, Ferro’s success in his early career made him one of the youngest people named to the Forbes “Tech’s 100 Highest Rollers” list and earned Ferro numerous business honors. During this time, Ferro was named Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Collegiate Entrepreneurs Organization, and won the KPMG Illinois High Tech award as well as the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Technology award.