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This Millennial Investor Made His First $1M At 20—Then Invested In Lyft, SpaceX, Spotify, Eventbrite And Slack. Here’s How He Does It

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When it comes to spotting trends and making deals, Lucas Asher is what you could call a prodigy.

A self-made millionaire, Lucas made his first M, just shy of his 20th birthday coding for other people. Since then, he’s become a real-life skydiver, an indie-rock artist, verified Instagram influencer, and—of course—big-time venture capital investor.

As CEO of Tower Equity, Lucas has invested in a who’s who of tech unicorns, including Slack, Space X, Pinterest, Spotify and Ripple.

“I worked on building games, software, and ultimately I was able to provide a lot of value to other people that gave me a platform to form my own technology venture capital firm,” Lucas told Forbes in a recent feature.

We thought that was pretty interesting. So we decided to have a chat with Lucas about his deals, returning to a post-COVID “new normal,” what industries he’s bullish on and what’s next.

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Youth is an asset. When you are young you can take zero sum risks. . . In game theory, a zero sum risk is something that could wipe you out. . . As people get older they can’t play zero sum games. . The problem is that all of the best positions in life are occupied by people who: . ✅1: Were willing to play zero sum games . ✅2: Did play zero sum games for a long time . Leverage your youth to go zero sum on your crazy dreams. . If you get completely wiped out, it’s not the end. . You will have time to bounce back stronger than ever, (and you don’t have any dependents who rely on you) . When was the last time you really acted “zero sum” on your dreams? . Have you risked your entire life on what you really want? . Your professors, parents, preachers and friends will tell you it’s a bad idea. . . I think it’s the only way to live 💯

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wealthlab: Hey, Lucas!

Lucas Asher: What’s up.

Let’s jump right into it. We’re in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic. What trends are you bullish on?

After investing in over 39 notable technology companies like SpaceX, Pinterest, Spotify, Adaptive Biotechnology and many others, I tend to be bullish based on either a short term or long-term thesis.

In the short term, you will see SaaS software companies in the cloud dominate because of the “work remote” pandemic cycle our economy is in.

Makes sense.

Most notably, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey recently announced that Facebook and Twitter employees can work remote forever. This is quite the reversal of the “open office” trend we witnessed during the last 10 years—and likely to continue, given the move toward the cloud and globalization.

What about on a more long-term basis?

In the long term, you will see general Artificial Intelligence and the advent of private space commercialization that eclipse the GDP of sovereign nation states. If you look at the potential for SpaceX’s Starlink,” specifically, it could spawn the next trillion-dollar communications conglomerate.

Also, you will see enormous companies come from things like asteroid mining that could easily pass the entire GDP of the USA, given the abundance of valuable resources in the new space economy.

Speaking of AI. Where do you see the major first disruption happening?

Although general artificial intelligence is still mainly relegated to academia, it’s likely to enter the medical field first, and rapidly take over financial services next.

What makes you say that? 

There’s no way human computational ability has any chance of competing. And that will usher in the most significant era of efficiency for capital allocation and medical advancement in history. I feel strongly both my short and long-term thesis will materialize in our generation.

What are your thoughts on COVID? How do you feel about how it’s impacting business? 

Pandemics will certainly become much more prevalent in our society. We must collectively, as a civilization, invest preemptively to combat viruses, instead of being reactionary, as we’ve seen.

From a business standpoint, pharmaceutical companies, in general, have occupied enormous margins with near monopoly power. Yet, they haven’t made commensurate investments into pandemic-related research.

Perhaps there will be some form of regulatory mandate that asks big pharma to put a certain amount of profits in a public trust to invest in R&D to better understand these novel virus’. And harnessing the private sector’s investment capability to do so.

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As kids, we were told many things, by well intentioned people, that turned out to be wrong… . . These well intentioned people, are parents, teachers, spiritual leaders, and various authority figures. . . . . It’s completely possible to be well intentioned, and wrong at the same time . . That is exactly what happened…. . . Your parents, teachers, and everyone who gave you advice, ( about how to live a great life) were wrong, but they meant well. . . . . The simulation has changed since your parents generation… . . Their ideas and ways are outdated software being inserted into our modern operating system . . . Software gets updated all the time, it’s not their fault that they adhere to their older version… . . For example: . . . The software version of having a “secure job” was outdated a long time ago. (It doesn’t even exist anymore) . . The software version of having one condensed religious doctrine, (curated by old men) and irreproachable by science is outdated. . . The software version of not extending equal human rights to the LGBT 🏳️‍🌈 community for all regions international is LONG GONE! ✊🏾 . . The software version of scarcity and lack of resources for our species is outdated. . . The software version of ‘knowledge gods,’ holding the keys to wisdom, through institutional debt education is outdated… . . The main problem with society, is, well intentioned people, who mean well, but are advocating wrong information . . Sometimes a bridge is good to cross… . . Sometimes a bridge is good to burn… . Sometimes a bridge is good to build… . . #omertacortex 🍄👽💨🎮

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What industries and/or technologies are you bullish on now and what do you see emerging on the other side of this pandemic?

Fintech appears to be the most disruptive. There is an API revolution happening right now that will far surpass the application revolution that happened in the early era of the Internet.

I believe the trillions in wealth that we have seen go toward the application sector of the internet will gradually go to APIs and protocols. One of my favorite thinkers I have been reading a lot from is Venture Capitalist Fred Wilson at Union Square Ventures.

Switching gears a bit. You’ve done a ton of deals. What’s your best and worst investment?

My best investment up to this point has been SpaceX. My worst investment remains to be seen since I primarily fund private companies as an accredited VC, which takes years to realize.

That said, I’m not incredibly happy with SoFi right now and would like to see them pivot.

Investment you never made that you wish you did?

UiPath and Boston Dynamics [UiPath is valued at $7B while Boston Dynamics was acquired by SoftBank]. I am very interested in robotic process automation and the potential it has to alleviate a lot of suffering in the manufacturing economies.

Entrepreneurs

Gary Vee’s ‘$1.80’ Instagram Strategy To Hack Your Follower Count

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Entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk—aka Gary Vee!— is one of the biggest business on social media today.

His IG currently boasts 4M followers while his YouTube has near 1.6M subscribers.

The CEO of Vayner Media, Gary uses (and absolutely loves) social media to propel the growth of his business, now valued at a whopping $125 million, which even includes a media franchise.

(And no, WealthLAB’s not for sale, G.)

Obviously, if you’re someone just starting out in business, you’re looking for ways to get your business out there. How to get more followers.

For 90%+, you pick a couple of platforms, you post. More often than not, you end up with dwindling traffic, or no shares or comments.

So how do you get around that?

According to Gary Vee, you can get more followers and more engagement through a $1.80 strategy. (Well, sorta.)

Here’s how you do it.

Make a list of every hashtag that fit the work your business does. Apart from this, check out the other tags people use when generating content similar to yours.

With this in hand, check out any hashtag for the top posts surrounding that description—and then share your two cents about it as a comment.

If you were to do this ten times over, your work would equal $0.02*9 posts*the hashtags= $1.80. (Yeah, kinda corny, but you get the logic.)

Check it out here, in his own words.

Over time, this can help you snag followers, and you will continuously learn about what matters to many of your followers.

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Entrepreneurs

Exclusive Q&A: How These 4 College Roommates Built One Of The Top Black Wealth Channels On Instagram

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It’s one of the more shocking stats that exist in America: Despite trillions in spending power, minorities are at the bottom when it comes to wealth. As of today, there’s a wealth gap that will take 228 years to close.

That said. There’s currently a movement on social media where a handful of Instagram channels provide real financial and wealth-building advice, particularly in the black community.

We spoke to the founders of one of our favorite channels, @BlackWealthRenaissance.

Ex-roommates in college, Jalen Clark, David Bellard, Jared Spiller and Kelly Rhodes started this as a passion project; they’ve since grown this 209K+ followers in about a year, with one of the most engaging audience on the ‘Gram.

In this two-part Q&A, they break down the importance of wealth building, their mission and why it’s important to make your own table.

(Editor’s note: This interview was done by WealthLAB editor-in-chief/real estate developer Philip Michael.)

Congrats on all your success. In such a short time. So tell people. What is Black Wealth Renaissance?

Jared: Black Wealth Renaissance is a movement. Our goal is to normalize the topics and conversations around wealth growth and educate African American people through education and awareness through social media.

We will educate as many people as we can reach on ways to achieve financial freedom and positive examples of people who have or are on their way to financial freedom. 

David: Like Jared said, it’s a movement. We want to encourage those in our community to take action, educate themselves on finances and personal development, learn how to invest, understand the abundance of opportunity out there, and exhibit unity through practicing self love and group economics.

It’s really about embracing an abundance mindset and understanding that we can change our realities if we change our thinking.

So that’s the mission tied to the brand?

Kelly: Black Wealth Renaissance is more than just a brand; it’s part of a change in culture. We wanted to continue this movement on African Americans learning financial literacy because it’s not taught in schools.

And most parents don’t even understand some financial literacy concepts to be able to teach to their children. So we created this brand to generate a space where everyone can learn how to build generational wealth. 

It’s a really cool name, too.

Jalen: Black Wealth Renaissance is more than just a catchy name or an Instagram account. We are seeing a time of enlightenment in our community—as well as culture—so we decided to highlight the positive energy and impact that is currently happening around us.

What are some of the core messages you guys are trying to push?

Jalen: We want to take away the stigma of money being the root of all evil within our community and show people how it can be a tool of empowerment and ever-lasting change.

That’s dope. 

Jalen: To sum it up BWR is a shift from asking for what we want to going out and grabbing life by the horns and taking control of your own destiny. 

How did the mission come about; why did you start it?

David: The mission began really more-so as a passion project. Jared, Kelly, and I were roommates in college and this is the type of stuff we were always talking about at home.

So how did it become an actual idea?

David: The idea of creating an IG page had been something that we floated around because it was a lot of knowledge that we were gaining that we wish we had known earlier—and wanted to share it with others.

One day while having one of our many conversations on the topics of culture and finance, I told Jared, “Man, let’s just go ahead and make the page” and here we are seven months later.

Jared: The mission came about after myself and my roommates, Kelly and David, read Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

A classic!

Jared: Yes. We began researching different avenues to create passive income and experimented with many different projects that we never knew would lead up to Black Wealth Renaissance. 

One day, David and I were talking about different ideas and concepts we had heard from our favorite podcast and were talking about how we wanted to spread the word about financial freedom. And he told me to go ahead and start the page.

What happened next?

Jared: From there, we’ve grown as a team and continue to push towards our goal of educating as many people as possible and exposing them to various pathways to financial freedom. 

Kelly: I noticed that Jared and David created a page that had some good inspirational quotes on it, but I did not fully understand what their goals were in the page.

I called them one night after I got an idea about creating a financial literacy page to help build a brand so we can start a podcast we always talked about.

They told me that was the plan of the page they already created and that they wanted me to be part of this movement.

I think the biggest thing for us growing like we did is from the beginning we focused on helping and teaching to better their financial situations that has always been—and will be—the goal. 

What was your role in all this, Jalen?

Jalen: I was in the background when the page got started, but I was always there since David and I are such good friends; we’re constantly around each other, so I would hear him talking to Jared, discussing certain things and would give my input on the topics.

So it wasn’t your plan to join right away? 

Eventually I couldn’t fight it because I was just as passionate about the things they were talking about and doing. Once the page started to really growing, I jumped on board and haven’t looked back. 

I’ve said this publicly, my goal is to help create 100K new investors create generational wealth through real estate. What’s the goal behind your mission?

David: Short term goal is to encourage the conversation of building wealth, while providing tools and resources that can help people take actionable steps to achieve that wealth.

Long term goal is creating an education system to teach financial literacy to the black masses, providing a platform where we can come together to invest in each other’s companies.

To create economic independence in our community so that we can begin to implement the changes our people have long sought.

Instead of continually asking for it, because obviously that ain’t working. We want this to go down in history as the movement that changed the narrative of Black people in America.

Incredible. Love it.

Jared: To help people. We truly believe that through education we can change the narrative around a lot of problems and hurdles in the African American community.

Once we can change these types of conversations into everyday topics, a lot of things will change for our communities.

I always believed the number one difference between wealth in cultures is what’s discussed around the dinner table, those everyday conversions. 

Jared: We just want to get the conversations around financial freedom normalized amongst the African American community.  

Kelly: The goal behind Black Wealth Renaissance is to help—and teach—others how to create generational wealth. Most people would read that and think we want just everyone to have a ton of money—which is nice—but is not our specific goal.

It’s about understanding money. So many things that aren’t being taught.

Kelly: We want to have African Americans learn financial literacy so they can teach the next generation; so the learning curve for them won’t be as steep.

We also want people to be able to pass on businesses, land, real estate, etc. to the next generation, ultimately changing the financial status of not only them but their heritage. 

Jalen: When I think on the mission, I think of it as “to normalize black wealth and share helpful resources and tips we believe will be useful in attaining and maintaining generational wealth.”

That’s it exactly.

Jalen: It creates an image in my head of more couples and families that look like the Carters and the Obamas.

I think instead of hearing this person is the “first black person to do such-and-such,” you’re going to hear more of this person was “the first person to ever do this.”

I always thought it was so limiting to say that.

Jalen: Right. We won’t have to compete for a spot at the table; we are creating our own table. And a spot at other tables will become an open invitation that we have the right to accept or refuse.

That’s true freedom right there.

Jalen: We want the topic of personal finance and financial education to be held and taught to the youth and elderly so it is no longer a taboo or sore subject within our community.

We want to break the social molding of “looking like money,” while struggling to pay the bills.

The mission is also deeper than creating wealth through money this mission is to become wealthy in all walks of life personal, mentality, collectively, and spiritual. 

 

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Entrepreneurs

4 Types Of People To Be Around That Will Make The Hustle More Fun

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(Editor’s Note: The following article is a guest post by superstar entrepreneur and tech investor Jonathan Schultz.) 

We all know that hard work and dedication are keys to success. The more you’re willing to sacrifice and go the extra mile, the greater your chances are of reaching your personal goals and passions.

While there’s no denying that hard work does play a major role in reaching success, surrounding yourself with the right people will always help. We’ve all heard the saying, “it’s not what you know, but who you know” … In my career, whenever I push myself to be around the positive thinkers and go-getters, it’s always up-leveled me and gave me more confidence to in turn fulfill my own dreams and ambitions.

Finding your network through all the different stages of your life and career is not only helpful in progressing your career, but it also creates amazing relationships and opportunities.

So, what type of people should you be surrounding yourself with?

THE PUZZLE PIECES

Find the network that is your perfect complement —the people that have the skills and abilities you strive for. Not only will this give you more confidence, it will help you learn the skills and abilities you may be lacking.

THE POSITIVE PEOPLE

Who doesn’t want to be around someone who’s happy and optimistic? Even though that doesn’t have to be all the time.

Surrounding yourself with positive and grateful people can have an incredible impact on your life, making you feel happier and more confident. Also, positive people are more likely to encourage you to take smart risks or move up the business ladder.

THE INNOVATORS

Dreamers and innovators are the people pushing society forward. They are the people interested in coming up with new and improved ways to solve problems and achieve success. Regardless of what field they’re working in, it’s never a bad idea to have a few outside-the-box thinkers in your social circle to help you look at things from a different perspective.

THE ANSWER SEEKERS

Just like innovators, people who constantly ask questions are the reason why we challenge old ways and come up with new ideas. When you’re surrounded by people who constantly ask questions, you’re more likely to come across the answers that you never knew you needed.

Ultimately, the people you keep in your inner circle can influence you in a number of different ways, including how you approach problems or whether you’re motivated to achieve greater things or not. Of course, this isn’t to say that everyone around you needs to be someone who’s working those extra-long hours to get to the next phase in life.

However, when you have a few business-minded people in your life, you’re more likely to inherit some of their drive, benefit from their knowledge, and even network in some of the same circles. For that reason, it’s always important to make friends who have the same goals and aspirations as yourself. It might just help you get to the top quicker.

Jonathan Schultz is an entrepreneur, real estate tech investor and influencer. He’s the co-founder of Onyx Equities, a leading private equity real estate firm, and has been voted one of the most powerful people in real estate. Follow Jon’s blog here

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