Ex-Hedge Funder Starts High-End Limo Service

Posted on November 3, 2010 by LCT Staff - Also by this author - About the author

Operator Richard Fertig has created a unique limousine service for high rollers. He pays the chauffeurs of his 10-vehicle fleet $20 per hour plus overtime.

NEW YORK — On Jan. 4, 2009, Richard Fertig ran a $4 billion fund of hedge funds. The next day, he was out of work.

Several months into a brutal job hunt Fertig, then 38, decided to launch BRILLIANT TRANSPORTATION, a limousine service for the likes of his former colleagues and customers in New York City. "I'd traveled the world and had never found the perfect limo to move around in" — that is, he says, one that combines the comfort and intimacy of a family room with the corporate trappings of a private jet.

The vision began with a black, 24-foot-long Mercedes Benz Sprinter van, stripped bare. From there Fertig added hardwood floors, cabinets, desks, refrigerators, Wi-Fi capability, a hands-free intercom, color printers, wireless headphones for two 32-inch LCD-screen televisions and a touch-screen-controlled stereo system with eight speakers. Two sets of two oversize tan leather seats face each other, and two more seats make up a third row. A 6-foot-8 athlete has an inch of standing headroom to spare. Cost per vehicle: $45,000, plus another $55,000 for the renovations. Fertig also bought five six-seater Cadillac Escalades at $75,000 apiece. He financed the fleet with savings and a loan from TCF Bank.



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