Abandoned is a newborn and called Dumpster baby. A few years later, his life took an incredible turn. Hours after he was born in 1989, Freddie Figures was set down next to a dumpster in a rural area of Florida’s. Panhandle Passerby, found a Malone in distress and called police. The infant was hospitalized with minor injuries for two days, then placed in a foster home. The couple who took him in, Nathan and Betty Figures, lived in nearby Quincy, Florida, and already had a daughter.
Shortly after Freddie began living with them, the Figures, who often took in foster children, decided to adopt him in elementary school. Freddy Figures said. Other children would bully him and call him Dumpster Baby when they learned he’d been vowed in the garbage as a newborn. It’s a rural area, so after it happened, everybody hears about it, said Figures, now 30. My parents told me the truth about what happened as I grew older. I thought about it a lot as a kid, and I have to say it was embarrassing when I was younger.
Now back to the story. His life hit a turning point when he was nine, he said, when his father paid $25 for a broken 1989 Macintosh computer at a thrift shop. Nathan Figures, who was a maintenance worker at Florida State University, brought the computer home and set it on the kitchen table so his son could tinker with it. He thought that a computer might help to keep me out of trouble, said Figures. His father was right. Figures took it apart and put it back together several times.
It was nonfunctional at the time. I tinkered with it for about five or six times at home. Finally got the computer operational, which I still use today.
He figured out that he could get it to power on when he installed some components he found in an old radio that belonged to his father. I still have it, Figures said. It had first computer. It’s what sparked my interest in technology. He’d gotten so good at tinkering with computers that when he was 13, the city of Quincy hired him to help repair its computers, he said. When he was 15, he started his first company, Figures Computers, repairing computers in his parents living room and helping clients store their data on service he created.
Which allowed them to back up all of their information on our remote server in my backyard, not a huge data facility.
He was a self starter and a fast learner. After building his own cloud database, he decided to skip College. I wouldn’t recommend my path to everyone, said Figures, but it worked for me. When I was 17, I had 150 clients that needed websites and storage for their files. I just kept building from there.
His big break came several years later in 2012, he said, when at age 23 he sold a GPS tracker program to an undisclosed company in Kansas for two $2 million. Figure’s father had developed Alzheimer’s disease and would frequently wander off when he was confused.
I saw my father with dementia. It was to the point where he would forget to put on his pants, but he will always remember to put on his shoes. That gave me the idea of building this shoe for him. It would instantly notify me of his location.
Nathan Figures died in 2014, shortly after Freddie started Figures Communications and developed 80 custom software programs. With the money he’d earned from his smart shoe technology, it was difficult to watch him decline. It’s something you never forget, said Freddie Figures. I’ve always been so grateful to him and my mom.
They taught me to not let my circumstances define who I was. Some would say that’s an understatement Figures, who now lives in Parkland, Florida, is the founder of Figures Wireless, a privately held telecommunications company that he said was appraised in 2017 to be worth more than $62 million.
He also runs the Figures Foundation, which donates to a variety of causes, including relief efforts after natural disasters, College scholarships for high school students and assistance with school supplies for cashstrapped teachers. The best thing any human being can do is influence another one, said Figures, who credits his adoptive parents for believing in him and allowing him to channel his energy into creative computer projects at a young age.
Although Figures does a sizable business selling his smartphones and data plans, he said he’s still passionate about combining technology with health care and safety. He sells a wireless blood glucose meter for people with diabetes that allows patients to download and share glucose levels through Bluetooth technology.
And he’s working on a project similar to his smart shoe technology to help families stay in touch with loved ones experiencing homelessness. That could be me on the streets. I could have been homeless or dead if I hadn’t been found by the dumpster after I was born, he was dead. My parents adopted me and gave me love and a future, he said.
They did their best to make the world a better place, and now that’s all I want to do, too. Married to Natley Figures, an attorney, Figur said he’s caught up in the joy of raising his first child, Rose, who is two. I’m at a happy place in my life. It’s important to me to pay it forward, he said. I’m just one person, but I believe that if I can have an impact on even one other person, it can multiply.