Justus Parmar, CEO of Fortuna Investments, on creating your own destiny
In this weekly series, we profile entrepreneurs approaching the top of their game, and ask them how they got there. From role models to work—life balance, we asked Justus Parmar, CEO of Fortuna Investments, a few quick questions.
Always looking to invest in the technologies of tomorrow, Justus Parmar has been one of the first to invest in everything from medicinal cannabis and Bitcoin to clean energy and lithium.
Born and raised in a small town in British Columbia, Parmar now splits his time between Vancouver and Los Angeles, and occasionally Toronto; all cities with offices of his firm.
Since starting his career as an investment advisor about 14 years ago, Parmar worked for three established firms before eventually founding his own company, Fortuna Investments in 2015.
While working for other companies, Parmar saw the negative effects of bureaucratic environments, and wanted to create a company that fosters growth, where everyone can thrive.
Fortuna Investments is a private investment firm specializing in venture capital investments and advisory services. Parmar has helped over 100 companies raise over $300 million, and helped take over two dozen companies public.
The 36-year-old CEO believes in investing three ways; in talented people, financially in companies, and philanthropically in his surrounding community.
Through the Parmar Group Scholarship Foundation, he donated over $250,000 in scholarships to the University of British Columbia.
Naturally, the investment landscape is rich with of client dinners, events, and fundraising initiatives. Through this Parmar found a natural transition into his most recent investment venture, the restaurant industry.
Leveraging his prominent connections between investors and restaurateurs, he has recently facilitated the openings of Mademoiselle Champagne Lounge, Toronto’s first champagne bar and MARBL, an upscale american-modern restaurant.
Here are 9 quick Q’s with the entrepreneur.
What do you enjoy most about the industry you’re in?
Creating something from scratch, and watching it grow is my greatest pleasure and I think such is the life of an entrepreneur.
How do you define success?
Success is having freedom and the ability to control your own destiny.
What is your personal mission statement?
I want to build great companies, and great personnel. I want the people around me to make more money than I do by default, because that means we’re doing well.
What did you find most appealing about the restaurant space?
In the investment business, you have drinks and dinner frequently with clients. I’m really looking for people to find success with the endeavor. I’ve been a big aficionado of wine, nightlife and restaurants. It’s very encompassing to my profession and my career.
What is one trait you have, that you find has attributed to your success?
I spend a tremendous amount of time, energy and resources to be one of the most knowledge investors in the space we invest in. One of my most effective habits is to double down on the winners. If you’re performing well, we want to help you grow and will invest more capital to feed that fire. To be successful you have to see something, act quickly, and master the space.
What lessons have you learned?
People often make the mistake of continuing to invest in something, even when it’s not working. I don’t think there’s any solace in being a contrarian, being wrong over and over until you’re right. This cripples people. They miss out on opportunities in other sectors because they stick to their own investment thesis when it isn’t working. You have to be adaptable.
Who are your role models?
I love winners, people who think big and execute. People like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Wayne Gretzky. No matter what their environment or circumstance, they always rise to the occasion. From a capital markets standpoint, Pat DiCapo is a good friend and mentor to me. He built a great firm, PowerOne Capital Market in Toronto.
What advice do you have for the next gen of entrepreneurs?
I’m old school in the sense that nothing replaces hard work. Respect the dollar, work hard, be a person of your word and have integrity. We notice people take short cuts, or now with social media people end up chasing money. My answer to that is the money will come. Money is the by-product of doing something that you’re passionate about. Whatever your craft is, if you’re passionate about it, and you work harder than you’re competition, you are guaranteed to be successful.
What is one thing, non-work related, that helps you stay balanced each day?
I travel a lot for both business and leisure. I find comfort in indoor cycling, like SoulCycle. It’s therapeutic, it helps keep me in shape both physically and mentally. It’s 50 minutes where you can clear your head and you can’t use your phone. There’s one in almost every major city so it works well when I’m on the road.