Steigman was born in Orlando, Florida, but grew up in Coral Springs, Florida. Steigman, a childhood prodigy, was an international chess champion, and one of the best chess players in the United States. He attended University School of Nova Southeastern University for high school. In high school, Steigman contracted Lyme Disease and almost died. He had to take a year off from school. He credits chess in helping his mind recover from the disease. Steigman went on to win in the 2002 US Junior Open one year after being diagnosed.
Steigman attended Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. He was awarded the Goodrich C. White academic scholarship and was involved in student government as well as the development of Emory’s award-winning chess program. He was known for playing simultaneous exhibitions involving as many as 40 individuals.
Steigman has been an advocate of chess. He was a donor to the World Chess Hall of Fame and Sidney Samole Museum in Miami, Florida. He was also involved in a community service program where he played inmates in high security prisons.
A.J. Steigman learned chess at the age of 4, and played in his first tournament at age 5. He was coached by Bill Cornwall, a nationally known chess teacher and award-winning columnist. Steigman has numerous chess accomplishments such as: being ranked #1 in the U.S. for his age group for 8 years in a row (1993–2001), being awarded the title of Chess Master at age 13 (the same age as when Bobby Fischer became a master), being the first Floridian ever to make the All-America Chess Team of which he was a member for 8 years. Steigman was one of the best professional Quickchess players in the United States for years.Steigman won the 2002 U.S. Junior Open Championship and turned down a full scholarship to The University of Texas to attend Emory University.
Steigman was selected by the United States Chess Federation to represent the U.S. in international competitions. He represented the U.S. in the World Youth Championships in Sao Lourenco, Brazil (1995); Cannes, France (1997); and Oropesa del Mar, Spain (1999). Steigman's highest international performance was tying for 12th in the world in Cannes, France. He and Irina Krush of New York were the highest-scoring members of the 11-person U.S. team. Several years later, he traveled to the Pan-American Championships in Argentina (2001). Steigman, though currently inactive, is ranked in the top 1% of all chess players in the U.S.
After college, Steigman became an investment banker for Merrill Lynch in New York City before deciding to become an entrepreneur. He opened up one of the top Nike Tier 0 accounts in the country at the Hard Rock Casino. Steigman came up with the concept for Soletron when he realized that accessory designers attempting to match out exclusive sneakers had difficulty in getting distribution in brick and mortar stores due to the retailers' limited square footage. He created the business plan and brought in his partner Shane Robinson. They co-founded Soletron at the end of 2010.
Soletron is a social networking and ecommerce platform in lifestyle retail verticals. The Soletron platform is designed to facilitate the interaction between consumers and independent brands. They cater mainly to sneakerheads and streetwear consumers.
Investors of Soletron include New York Angels, Easton Capital, and super angel Jim Estill of Canrock Ventures. Soletron is in the top 99.7% of all sites worldwide on internet traffic. Advisors consist of: Bruce Chizen (Former CEO of Adobe Systems), Santonio Holmes (Super Bowl MVP and current member of the New York Jets),Tom Austin (Founder of AND1), John Friedman (Founder of Easton Capital), Bob Rice (Founder of Tangent Capital and Bloomberg Contributor).
In July, 2012, Steigman challenged Billionaire Peter Thiel to a $1mm chess match for an investment in Soletron. Steigman wanted to convey to fellow entrepreneurs to look for unconventional fundraising tactics in tough economic climates. Steigman proposed that if he won, Thiel would invest in Soletron's Series A financing, while if he lost, then Thiel would win a stake in Soletron. Steigman wished that all sponsorship capital raised for the match, would go to charities highlighting chess & entrepreneurship. Both Thiel and Steigman are lifetime chess masters. The proposed event by Steigman received international syndication.
Soletron was acquired in July 2014, by its industry leader and the world's largest global streetwear retailer Karmaloop, for an undisclosed amount.
Steigman has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg TV, The Huffington Post, Reuters, CNBC, Sun Sentinel, NBC, USA Today, LA Times, Orlando Sentinel, Miami Herald, Business Insider, NewsWorks VentureBeat, ABC Spain, The United States Chess Federation, ChessBase, and Chess Life Magazine.
Steigman is a frequent writer for The Huffington Post's Business & Entrepreneurship sections.
Steigman has been honored by the mayor of Coral Springs, Florida, twice. He received the key to the City of Parkland, and a day was named in his honor. He received the Governor’s seal in 2003 and was honored by Gov. Jeb Bush.