Episode 143 – August Biniaz – Empowering Investors through Values & Vision

“Another very major milestone was the moment I realized that the limitations that I have for being a developer, being a builder, the limitations that I have because of my access to equity could be alleviated by private equity, by private capital, by investors. We require investors throughout our whole life because an investment is not only a monetary amount, a lot of times people give their time, give a lot of different things to us. They’re investors in us.” – August Biniaz  


 
  • [02:08] Patrick introduces his next TEDM guest, August Biniaz.
  • [03:27] August and Patrick get the show started first with mutual appreciation! August shares a bit about the business of what he does and the business strategy of his company CPI Capital.
  • [07:20] Taking us back 15 years, August follows his Mom’s advice to get his realtor’s license (a bit more than a weekend course!) and his love of real estate begins. With an interest in managing renovation projects, and building his own portfolio, August started to explore other pockets of real estate like fix and flips, and ground-up development.
  • [13:55] It was a quick realization for August that brokering deals was not for him, it felt far too much like a job which had never held any interest for him. The fuel that lit his entrepreneurial fire was observing his Dad’s experience first-hand in following the conventional path of education, a degree, a good job and the lack of a good job despite best efforts. This route appeared to August to be neither fruitful nor enjoyable.
  • [19:30] August speaks to the life-changing, trail-blazing experience of immigration and why his parents wanted to leave Iran to come to Canada.
  • [24:24] Reflecting on his experience of living in Iran and coming to Canada at 13 years of age, August acknowledges the foundation it created that allowed him to build upon who he is today.
  • [26:06] Mom’s approval still comes first! August describes what ignites his passion for what he does, what gets him out of bed in the morning and drives him to achieve the extraordinary even in the face of adversity.
  • [28:35] August talks about vision, the incredible opportunity he has in the real estate private equity space, and what sets them apart from others who are doing similar work. A large component of it is communication, education, and transparency with their investors.
  • [32:24] Going back to the entrepreneurial mindset, August explains how even at a young age, he saw that the businessmen who were in his environment seemed to be having more fun and more fulfilling life experiences. Feeling constricted by the idea of a “job” he naturally gravitated to a life that for him, felt freer.
  • [35:41] Mentorship. Without hesitation, August stresses mentorship as the first thing a businessperson and entrepreneur can seek, to learn, build skills, and build confidence. It is something he stepped over early on but would have saved a lot of hardship if he hadn’t. The second point of guidance he offers, is to get completely immersed in the business you are pursuing. Join clubs, meet people, read the books; make it the centre point around which you build your life.
  • [39:22] August highlights the many milestones he has met along his journey, not the least of which is discovering the power and opportunity that private equity provides.
  • [42:32] Values and integrity are foundational in how August and CPI operate for their investors. With a firm understanding of the trust their investors have in them to be good stewards of their capital, they lead with an investor-first approach.
  • [47:07] What is August’s superpower?!
  • [47:53] How does leadership occur for August – nature or nurture? What’s cool is that beyond leadership, August explains what he studies and wants to become a MASTER of as a businessman.
  • [50:02] No need to be the smartest in the room. August illustrates the importance of resourcing and assembling the best vs. trying to be the best at everything.
  • [52:32] August shares how he and his significant other Ava Benesocky, have aligned in such an impactful way both as life partners and business partners. It was an intentional choice. He also offers some advice around working together with your significant other [spoiler: don’t do it!]
  • [59:01] The process of building a great team for CPI Capital came about in slightly different way for August and Ava. It started with their brand. By first building a strong and magnetic brand, they found people drawn to them, and excited to be a part of the environment they were creating.
  • [63:04] Let’s get into self-care. August describes his philosophy around physical and mental health in overall wellbeing and what decisions he makes to support his own. August and Patrick discuss meditation and yoga.
  • [68:16] Rapid-fire: iPhone or Android; book recommendations; favourite inspirational quote; a spirited message at the pearly gates; room-desk-car; favourite music genre; favourite recent movie; favourite swear word and a little story behind it.
  • [73:33] August’s exuberant gratitude.

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