IAM1690 – CEO Combines Real State and Digital Technology for the Investors

Podcast Interview with Jake Marmulstein

Why it was selected for “CBNation Architects”: Jake understands the CEO Nugget that you can see much further by standing on the shoulders of giants. We also talked about the journey of entrepreneurship and how you sometimes do a lot to do a little during that journey. He was able to understand a problem and tried to make it easier and simpler for real estate investors to do what they do best and more impactful. The idea of your zone of genius come up multiple times and how they honed in on making sure they provided a tool and team to support their clients.

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Previous Episode: https://iamceo.co/2022/06/26/iam1413-ceo-combines-real-state-and-digital-technology-for-the-investors/


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Jake Marmulstein Teaser 00:00

Groundbreaker has a support team, and that team is like an extension of your team. We'll talk to your investors, we'll make sure that they're taken care of. So you can be a small operator and still get a ton of value out of using something that's gonna make you look professional in more ways than just the technology you get, like this whole team behind you that's gonna make sure that you're successful and be proactive.

Intro 00:26

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO podcast.

Gresham Harkless 00:53

Hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO Podcast and I appreciate you listening to this episode. And if you've been listening this year, we're doing something a little bit different where we're repurposing our favorite episodes under certain categories or topics that we think are gonna be extremely impactful for CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business owners.

This month is going to be about not forgetting about the human part of business. Often we forget about the human part of life. We often forget about the human part of business. So look for self-care, hips, fitness, burnout, purpose, biz and personal, personal branding, motivation, drive, success, understanding your why and of course how important customer service is. But at the heart of it, it's all about remembering the human part of business. So sit back and enjoy this special episode of the I am CEO podcast.

Hello, hello, hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Jake Marmulstein of Groundbreaker. Jake, it's great to have you on the show.

Jake Marmulstein 01:49

Hey, Gresh, good to be here.

Gresham Harkless 01:51

Yes, definitely. Super excited to have you on and before we jumped into the interview, I want to read a little bit more about Jake, so you'd hear about some of those awesome things. And before founding Groundbreaker, Jake held a number of roles involving real estate and technology, supporting the growth of early-stage digital technology ventures.

In 2011, he started his real estate career while underwriting distressed hotel investments for Watermark Capital Partners, a private REIT based out of Chicago. He graduated from The Hotel School at Cornell University with a concentration in Real Estate Finance. And at Groundbreaker, Jake owns the Company's strategic vision in investor relations. Before moving to Chicago, Jake lived abroad in Europe, Brazil, and Puerto Rico, where he became fluent in Spanish and Portuguese.

Jake, excited to have you on the show again. Are you ready to speak to the I am CEO community?

Jake Marmulstein 02:39

Absolutely. Let's do it.

[restrict paid=”true”]

Gresham Harkless 02:41

Let's make it happen then. So to kick everything off, I wanted to rewind the clock a little bit, and hear a little bit more on how you got started, what I call your CEO story.

Jake Marmulstein 02:48

So being a CEO for me wasn't super straightforward as just starting the company and, being that CEO I think first of all it's something that you grow into over time. And as a first-time entrepreneur, that was my case. I started off just basically working in New York, for a company where I was doing institutional capital introductions between pension funds and endowments and Latin America, Latin American hedge fund managers. Super interesting job. I was having a good time doing it, but I wanted to be able to start something in the real estate investment base.

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So I actually joined a team of other entrepreneurs who were working on a real estate crowdfunding play, and I was going into the office on weekends working with them. It was just a team of three people. They were all remote and I latched onto the idea and the concept of democratizing finance for real estate and what was happening at the time with the jobs act. So it was an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of us. I was working directly with the founders. They had an article in Venture Beat that launched the company and made a huge splash, and I was just answering the phones and talking to early people who were figuring out the solution and just trying to iterate on what it is that we could provide them before we actually had a product in the business model.

And so, for me, it started out in sales and then it transitioned over time to being able to get more and more responsibility over the business until finally, I became the CEO. So, I'm gonna stop there. But that's basically how it all started and eventually, I made that transition.

Gresham Harkless 04:35

Nice. That sounds like they synced at the same time and that opportunity presented itself and you stepped into it.

Jake Marmulstein 04:40

Yeah. For a lot of people who are just getting into being a CEO for the first time, it's just a totally new role. Depends on the stage of the company and what you're doing at that point. And because this was a startup for me, it was doing everything, billing, sales and marketing, hiring. And then, with time the job changed and, I got a salesperson and I got a marketing person, and then my job gets whittled down and focused and it actually changes to what a CEO is supposed to do.

And everybody in venture capital says that the CEO's main job is to own the vision of the company. Recruit amazing talent. Make sure that the company has enough cash in the bank.

Gresham Harkless 05:19

Yeah. So I wanted to drill down more. I know you touched on it a little bit, and I did of course when I read your bio, could you take us through a little bit more on what you're doing at Groundbreaker, and how you're making that impact in serving clients?

Jake Marmulstein 05:28

Yeah, so Groundbreaker, which started as a real estate crowdfunding platform, became a way for people who are investors in real estate to make it extremely simple to be able to raise money for their investors. And we had two, a fork in the road. We could have been a platform that gets people access to investors, or we could be the tools that help them be able to structure their workflow and save time so that they can raise money and own their investor base and own the process and automate a lot of the things that take away their time from doing deals and raising money.

And we believe that the future is a hybrid solution of these two things where you can get the software and you can get the capital. But where we've decided to focus is to provide a tool that makes it ridiculously easy for someone who's an investor to pop up their business and be able to raise capital on people that they already know.

Gresham Harkless 06:30

Absolutely. I love that. And I think that so many times there's so much, I'm gonna use the word friction. Sometimes where that in a lot of different ventures, but I imagine it's also this and on both aspects from the investor and looking for investing space that you wanna make sure that it is as easy as possible because you wanna make sure it's something they choose.

And I think it, it sounds like having that don't know if it's autonomy or to empower the people to be able to use the platform, but also have the connections in the same place.

Jake Marmulstein 06:55

Yeah. It's a lot of people who are raising money, who are getting that put together, doing a much, a bunch of different things. They're handling legal, they're doing underwriting, they're looking for deals, they're working with partners, they're doing accounting office work. And if you can just pick a couple of things to focus on, you'll do so much better at those things. So what we try to do by providing Groundbreaker is take all that back office work off of their shoulders. Make the process of being compliant, make it secure, make it professional, make it easy so that all they have to do is bring a deal, and bring investors and the whole rest of the process is done for them.

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The presentation layer looks extremely professional. Investors take them seriously because the process is very secure. It's gated behind a password-protected site, and they don't have to herd. Like investing, raising money is like, gosh, cuz you're having to chase your investors down. We make it so actionable that the investors can like login and just click to sign and fund your deal and it's all hooked up electronically. Just by simplifying that process and giving people a structure on both sides, you just take so much of that mental stress. Out of the process for both parties.

Gresham Harkless 08:12

Yeah, absolutely. And I feel like we all have our zone of genius, the thing that we do better than other things. And a lot of times when we start a venture and we're a startup, sometimes we say, this is the problem that we wanna solve. This is the thing that we wanna do, whether it be investing or anything else, but we often find very quickly that it doesn't include just that.

So I love that ,and this might be part of your secret, you've created something that allows people to spend time in their zone of genius doing the thing that they're ultimately hoping to do. Making it easier and sometimes maybe not even necessary to do all the other things that aren't they're gonna sometimes take away from their zone of genius.

Jake Marmulstein 08:45

Yeah. We structure that process, but we just make it really easy to use. It's a complex process. It's very time intensive and breaking down something highly creative software tool takes a lot of expertise to be able to design and understand how that workflow is gonna work for you and the investor so that it's just effortless. And we've just honed in on that. So the process for an investor and the experience that they have is incredible. It's super duper simple. And I think the thing that really differentiates us as well as you don't just get the tool, you get the whole team behind it.

So, Groundbreaker has a support team, and that team is like an extension of your team. We'll talk to your investors and we'll make sure that they're taken care of so you can be a small operator and still get a ton of value out of using something that's gonna make you look, professional in more ways than just the technology you get, like this whole team behind you that's gonna make sure that you're successful and be proactive.

Gresham Harkless 09:50

Absolutely appreciate that. And so I wanted to switch gears a little bit and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

Jake Marmulstein 10:03

So, this might be controversial to some of the people listening. I don't know, it's on the rise. But micro-dosing is a big thing that I was hesitant about doing. And I think mental health and wellness is something that is super important as a CEO. You don't realize how hard it is to be able to be the one who's responsible for the business running. And I think that taking care of your mental health is key. There are a lot of ways to do that, but I did discover micro-dosing to be a really effective way to get some additional, like a mental boost.

It rewires the neurons in your brain so you can have more creativity and detachment from other experiences that might be weighing you down. And a more positive and optimistic outlook on things that you might have already experienced in your life, but you'll get to see a new way. And that unlocks you and actually makes you learn mentally free. So, that's my hack.

Gresham Harkless 11:00

Yeah, that makes sense. So would you consider that to be like part of your, what I like to call CEO nugget, a little bit more of a word of wisdom or piece of advice? I like to say it might be something you would tell your favorite client, or if you hopped into a time machine, you might tell your younger business self.

Jake Marmulstein 11:13

Yeah, that's a really good question. Part of it is absolutely building a network around you internally and externally, but advisors can only really see so much in your business. And I think, early on, I relied on advisors a lot, but my own team and the people inside my company are extremely valuable and extremely useful in helping to get clarity around decisions that you need to make as the CEO ultimately. So it's a tough one.

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Practice humility and vulnerability in the right moments so that you don't have the answer to everything and you don't have the answer. But at the same time, you're able to ask questions and be confident and explore with other people around you, your team externally. So that you can get answers to questions and be approachable and coachable and give yourself time and forgive yourself for making mistakes. And not knowing the answer all the time, because I believe that there's a tremendous amount of pressure on a CEO and there's a lot of pride that comes with that position. And actually, the more open and flexible, and vulnerable you can be, it works conversely for you to be able to find those folks that are going to help you get to where you need to be and fill in your blind spots.

Gresham Harkless 12:34

Awesome. So you might have already touched on this, but I wanted to ask you now for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO and we're hoping to have different quote CEOs on the show. So Jake, what does being a CEO mean to you?

Jake Marmulstein 12:46

The CEO is, aside from those three things I mentioned earlier, on the responsibilities, the CEO has to be a really visionary leader in the company. Your job is to really support your team and support your market, your customers, and your industry. So a CEO to me is somebody, who is really more looking out into the future and supports the organization, and the team under them to be successful by being a really good sounding board.

Building consensus, setting direction based on, what they're learning in the market combined with what other people are giving them. And filtering that information in and out by just asking really good questions. And being a supportive leader in the team, it doesn't mean you have to be ones who are the ones who are making all the decisions. You're supporting people to be able to get there. So that, we can make the right decisions and move the organization forward.

Gresham Harkless 13:49

Awesome. Well, Jake, truly appreciate that definition. Of course, I appreciate your time even more. So what I want to do now is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional that you can let our readers and listeners know, and of course, how best people can get ahold of you, find about all of the awesome things you and team are working on.

Jake Marmulstein 14:05

Yeah. Well, Groundbreaker is here to support anyone who is raising capital for their deals. So I'd love to hear from you also as a CEO and founder. I love meeting other founders or people who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs and founders of companies. And I'm also open to mentorship and folks that like my business and wanna reach out and possibly invest in the company.

I'm totally open to the opportunity. That is from a conversation like this. So I'd love to hear from you and my email is jake@groundbreaker.co. You can also find me on LinkedIn. There's no other Marmulstein out there. So at least I think it's a unique name. So please find me and connect.

Gresham Harkless 14:50

Absolutely. Yeah and to make it even easier, we'll have the links and information and the show notes as well, so you can make sure that you connect with the right Jake Marmulstein as well, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

Jake Marmulstein 15:01

I will, man. And you too. Thanks so much for the interview.

Outro 15:04

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast, powered by CB Nation and Blue 16 media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Check out the latest and greatest apps, books, and habits to level up your business at ceohacks.co.

This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless, Jr. Thank you for listening.


Dave Bonachita - CBNation Writer

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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