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Published June 16, 2015
Volume 23, Number 6



Tech Entrepreneur Enjoys Family & Business
 

By Zoe Francis
NETWORK Writer



Jason Franco had no idea that his foray as a teen tech entrepreneur would lead him toward his career as a website commerce trailblazer and business owner.
 
Jason FrancoThe young Franco had no idea when he was tinkering with online bulletin board systems that he would eventually forge a career in computer software and management.
 
“I originally started this whole thing when I was 15 years old making shareware software for people,” Franco recalled. “It’s kind of dating me here, but I made bulletin board systems before the Internet was really around for folks. It was in governments and testing. I was making little games and file-sharing applications. You’d connect to somebody else’s modem to get into their network.”
 
The creative entrepreneur even made a few bucks with his dabbles in technology.
 
“It freaked my parents out a little bit,” he said with a laugh. “They’d get $100-a-month phone bills and then people were mailing checks to me. It was so geeky back then, but that’s all we had.”
 
Fast forward and Franco is the president of his own company, JVF Consulting, which he founded in 2004.
 
“We are a web design and marketing firm,” he said. “We pretty much go out there and support anybody looking to do online commerce or just make some money online.”
 
Growing Up in Stockton
The tech entrepreneur was born in Stockton, the middle son of a father who was elementary school teacher and administrator and a mother who worked as a secretary and health aid for the Stockton schools. Franco’s older brother, Joseph, followed in their dad’s footsteps to be an elementary school teacher in Stockton. His younger brother, Jonathan, is an executive chef.
 
Franco grew up and went to school in Stockton, graduating from St. Mary’s High School in 1994. After graduation, “I ended up going to the University of the Pacific in Stockton. It was my dad’s school. That’s where he got his degree. He was the first in our family to go to college.”
 
The younger Franco majored in computer science and along the way, met his future wife, Melissa. They first met in passing at a party when Franco was a sophomore. He tried to impress the sharp young lady, a computer engineering major, by giving her the only thing he had handy – a 50-cent piece he had in his pocket.
 
“I was being a dorky kid trying to impress a girl,” he admitted. “We ran into each other again a couple of years later and started dating. She still had that 50-cent piece. I could not believe she had kept it.”
 
When Franco graduated from college in 1998, he quickly landed a job with the small technology company Agris, based in Lathrop.
 
“Right after I went to work for them, they got purchased by John Deere,” he said. “Since I was the young kid who knew the emerging Internet technology, the first thing I built was software to help with fleet management.”
 
He continued to develop various types of agricultural software, including a program that let farmers assess the health of their crops based on samples taken at truck weigh stations.
 
“Our software would take all that information and throw it into reports to let them know how their season was going,” he said. “It was all really around software for special commodities, like stone fruit, peaches, nectarines and tomatoes. I stood on the shoulder of these giants back then. It was fun, actually.”
 
Move to Bay Area
Franco worked for Agris for two years before relocating to the Bay Area to work for PeopleSoft, which was then based in Hacienda.
 
“It was a very interesting thing,” Franco said of his time with the growing software firm. “It was the dot-com boom. They had all these people in there selling all this software and services that were never created. It was the cart before the horse.”
 
Franco and a handful of energetic colleagues decided to forge ahead with developing some of that promised software. It was a move that would help him keep his job.
 
“They eventually got rid of the whole group, but they kept us,” he said. “We created Integration Broker. It’s the glue we would create at PeopleSoft to allow the apps to communicate with each other. We’d use it to work with other vendors’ software and partners. What’s weird is it’s still around, even though PeopleSoft isn’t’ around. That’s one of Oracle’s best-selling pieces of software. In the grand scheme of things, it’s one little footnote in all of human resources.”
 
He stayed with PeopleSoft until 2004, when the company was taken over by software giant Oracle.
 
Franco launched JVF Consulting in 2004, a company named after his newborn son, Jack Victor. The company was initially started to support online vacation property tax rentals, but it has evolved into a more expansive firm that helps companies build and manage their websites.
 
JVF has two key products – jCommerce and jCollab under the JVF Amass software stack. The former helps companies design secure websites for selling products online. The latter is a behind-the-scenes tool to help companies manage everything that eventually goes out to the public.
 
“We get a lot of folks who come to us who can’t build what they’re doing with off-the-shelf products,” Franco noted. “It’s folks who really need custom software for doing sales online. It’s even complex pieces of software to help integrate and tie all these disparate systems together.”
 
Leisure Time
In his down time, Franco enjoys spending time with his son, now 10, and daughter Olivia Anne, who will be 3 in July. Melissa left engineering and now runs her own successful wedding planning business.
 
“I’m just kind of into my family,” he said. “I don’t do too much crazy stuff. It’s just kind of hanging out with the kids. I love grilling and barbecuing. I’m always outside doing that with my son and loving the sun.”
 
In recent years, Franco has also taken on a fitness regime to keep in shape.
 
“I’m heavily into fitness,” he said. “People in my dad’s family end up dying too young. I’m in my late 30s and realizing if I don’t do something now, I’ll regret it later. I’ve really been trying to get myself healthy with the workout and fitness these days.”
 
The self-admitted serial entrepreneur recently developed two other businesses that he hopes to launch in the near future.
 
“There are a couple we’re working on that are just kind of flying under the radar that haven’t been announced right now,” he said.
 
There have been other ideas he has developed and launched along the way, but none took off like wildfire.
 
“They pretty much didn’t get exactly where I expected them to be,” he admitted. “It wasn’t a true success story, but there was some good learning there. It’s (all about) going out there and having a little bit of risk and reward. I got the bug when I was a younger kid and trying to make my own cash. It’s that whole experience of starting something new and really working hard on it and seeing it hopefully be successful. Ultimately, if I could make something that really helps a bunch of other people, that would be amazing as well.”
 
Franco used to dream of striking it rich one day, but he is now content with the life he has created for his family in their Dublin hills home.
 
“I used to want to have a billion-dollar company I could sell,” he said. “But as time goes by, I love the lifestyle. I don’t have to go crazy. I can make a good income and still see my family.”
 
Learn more about JVF Consulting at jvfconsulting.com.

 



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