Mike Jarmuz
IMPACT INVESTING

Mike Jarmuz

#94

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Angel Investor

Learning from small investments – Michael Jarmuz

“You can be the best in anything you choose. It’s just putting the time in to learn and make your mistakes so that you can keep growing.”

ABOUT

I’m a solo Angel Investor and just started building out Lightning ⚡️ Ventures (a syndicate and fund exclusively dedicated to investing in Bitcoin companies with the goal of supporting Lightning Network adoption worldwide. I’m an early Bitcoiner and a jack of all trades sort of fella. I still own a small cafe on the Lower East Side (Flowers Cafe) and still maintain a NY Real Estate Broker’s license. My partner Tone Vays and I have an annual Bitcoin conference (Unconfiscatable) in Las Vegas and that keeps us pretty busy for part of the year. I’m also lucky to be advising and working with an incredible company called Azteco.

I’m a very active investor (1000+ companies) and am creating a dataset and investment strategy I have appropriately titled “Piking.” No royal pedigree or ivy league education for me, ended up on a different path.

I’m a music business veteran with 10+ years in various areas of the industry. Boutique independent concert promoter in multiple southwest US markets. Owned, operated and worked with countless indie record labels over the years developing artists. Partner of Boxcar Music Management (The Format) on Elektra/WEA. Co-Founder of AMJ Concerts. Previous Partner at CAP Concerts (Corey Adams Presents) & The World Famous NILE THEATRE (Mesa, AZ). Former General Manager and Booking Agent for Modified Arts Venue & Gallery (Phoenix, AZ).

I am a lifelong entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in a broad range of industries. Lover of all small businesses! I have personally owned a retail clothing store, flower shop, bar, cafe, and, music venue. I also have related experience in healthcare technology, event management, ticketing, nightlife, venue/theatre operations, talent buying, concert & music production, sound engineering, lighting design, catering, travel, tour management, e-commerce, screen-printing, merchandising, real estate, transportation, grassroots marketing, personal finance, marketing, and business consulting.

REQUEST INTRODUCTION Arrow

THE FULL INTERVIEW

Mike Jarmuz

The full #OPNAskAnAngel talk

Jeffery: welcome to the supporters funD ask an angel. i’m your host Jeffery Potvin and today we’d like to welcome to our show, Mike. I’m going to say it wrong or I’m going to say it right, Omarez?
Mike: not even close but it was good though. I had never heard of that one before.
Jeffery: Well, I was going with the Spanish touch.
Mike: I grew up in Arizona. i was hormoz quite a bit, but my friends call me Muzz.
Jeffery: Muzz, I love it. and Jarmuz is obviously a great name too. so it sounds like you could have a spanish discotheque band behind this. and i’m sure there’s something in there. and then we’re gonna dive into that. But again Mike, thank you very much for joining us today. I’m gonna say that of all of the investors I’ve talked to in my lifetime, you’re the one that I’ve had the most excitement to dive into because you’ve done some crazy amount of investing and done a lot of great things. so i’m excited to explore this today. So maybe the best way for us to start is to learn a little bit more about ourselves. so maybe you can share a little bit about your background. kind of where you’re sitting today, what you’re looking at doing in the future and then one thing about you that nobody would know.
Mike: sure. so i’m from Arizona and i grew up in just a regular middle class family. I was in the music business for a long time. That was my primary focus. I had a record label in high school. We ran a really cool punk rock venue. We did 35 concerts a month in Phoenix, Tucson and Albuquerque. We grew that to be a rather large business. I started managing a band. they were called “The Format.” We got a big major label deal with Elektra when we were in our early 20s and toured with them for many years. I toured with some other bands as well. and when that came to a close, i did some soul searching. I went to Mississippi. I lived on a plantation farm at this mystical place called the Crossroads. It’s a famous place, home of the blues here in the US. and Shortly after that, I moved to New York City where I started all over again, not working in music. and pretty much, i drove a taxi and i made a life for myself there in New York. Basically starting over, I got into real estate. I got very lucky with a healthcare tech company. I was the first employee and watched this one single owner build that company from zero to selling it for 450 million dollars to Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. and then I was an early employee with him again at his next company. He said, i was his rabbit’s foot. i guess because clearly I don’t have the MBA or PhD or clinical knowledge, but I supported him and he just sold that again. So now I’m unemployed and officially focused on angel investing full-time. I started in 2015 on the secondary markets, just participating. I didn’t want to lose all my money. I wasn’t quite as cavalier and skillful as yourself to make those decisions. it was very important to me to not lose all my money and then just put a lot in my own personal education. and eventually started investing in early stage companies. and now that’s really what i’m focused on. And I think one thing that most people don’t know about me that I’m just now starting to embrace is that I did not finish high school. I have an 11th grade education.
Jeffery: Well, you’re crushing it for 11th grade education. so amazing and awesome story. and i know we’ve chatted a few times about all the other great things you’ve done but man, phenomenal story. so let’s go back to a little bit about when you were working with the first startup. Can you share a little bit about what that looked like from where it’s taking you today? So you know, people don’t just jump into investing and decide, hey, I’m going to be an investor. you work through. you learn the elements of what it took to be in a startup. maybe share a little bit about what that experience was like and kind of how much that played into where you are today.
Jeffery: I think one really cool thing to think about in life is, with one phone call your entire life can change. and you often forget that and you get kind of stuck in this. and I was in real estate. I was renting apartments in New York City trying to sell apartments. I got this call from this guy one day and he said to meet me at the Four Seasons, Saturday morning. He called me to a ridiculous apartment. I thought it was one of my friends messing with me. it was like 40,000 a month, some insane apartment nobody ever called me on it. and i met him and i showed him a bunch of apartments. he didn’t rent any of them. and he offered me a job. He said, come work with me. your life is going to change. and it was him and his wife and they were just laughing. He doesn’t even know how much his life is going to change. and I worked for him. I was the first employee. He gave me some equity and just watching, we didn’t even have an office. It was two two guys in a car. I was driving him around to these meetings. and i thought to myself that i gave up. i was just starting to do well in real estate and i’m thinking what the heck am i doing with this guy. and sure enough, next thing, he’s got 200 employees and just the decisions that you come across when to raise money, when to not raise money. Let’s take an attractive line of credit from Goldman Sachs. it’s non-dilutive. and let’s distribute it just all these kind of high-level decisions that i was on the inside circle to the guy. and it was really cool watching him watching him do that.
Jeffery: You got to really learn what it takes to be a startup because, being the first employee of a business as you mentioned, you were able to work in the equity side, which makes sense. you’re the first employee but you were actually on the front line. so you got to see how everything was unfolding and be part of those conversations. and be part of what was going to be that next big thing. and interestingly enough, you took the risk, which in the investing world, risk is number one. This is what we do. we risk everything and you risked a job that you said you were doing well at to get into this business and learn the ropes. so now you’re in this, and you’re learning from these two individuals. How did you find that? Were you at some point, thinking these guys sold me on this? This is a bag of beans. this isn’t what i look for. I was looking for the good stuff. Has there been anything like that ever crossed your mind? I mean, the job that I was hired for was really like Joe Friday. whatever i need, you’re that. and I have a marketing background. so when that opportunity presented itself to build out the clinics and really market it, I was really good in that role. but until then, i’m driving these guys around all day to meetings and getting sandwiches. and he moved from Las Vegas to New York and I’m coordinating, dealing with movers. i’m doing all these things that weren’t really, you know i’m not too good for anything. so i’m hap