Today we’d like to introduce you to Asi Cymbal.
Hi Asi, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I always thought that I would get into real estate because that’s how I saw my mother finding a way to provide for my sister and me. She was a bookkeeper at a tie factory, and one day she managed to buy a one-bedroom apartment that she was renting that was being converted to a co-op and flipped it for more money than she made all year as a bookkeeper. She kept reinvesting.
I thought I would also buy and sell real estate. But since I had a Jewish mother, she pushed me to become either a doctor or a lawyer. Since I hated blood, I went to law school. When I was in law school in Los Angeles, I was introduced to a real estate developer. I didn’t know what a real estate developer did at the time. That developer told me, “you could always buy and sell real estate, but if you build and develop, you’ll have a lot more fun and make a lot more money.” I ran around his construction site for a year and then I was hooked.
I decided to move to NYC to build skyscrapers, but I had no money and no contacts. I ended up unemployed for a while, desperate for a job, and pretty much at my lowest point. I ended up taking a position as a real estate attorney, something I thought that I would never do. I really wanted to develop real estate.
After a couple of years, I answered a classified ad for a real estate developer position. That developer took a chance on me, and because he was growing so rapidly, he ended up giving me his largest projects to develop. I developed $700 million in NYC with him. I then moved to Miami to start my own real estate development business and partnered up with a Miami businessman. When the 2009 financial crisis hit, that partnership broke up.
With a tremendous amount of luck, I used the financial crisis to go off on my own entirely. I did my first deal where I raised $2 million. I had never raised money prior to that time. Eighteen months later, I was able to turn that $2 million into $11 million. I rolled that into an investment that has since multiplied many times over.
I plan to take that initial $2 million investment and turn that into a $700 million transformational project that will make a huge and positive impact on the neighborhood and the community, with an emphasis on design, culture, art, technology, wellness, and nature.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not, what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not smooth at all. I would call it the opposite of smooth. I never liked law and or wanted to be a lawyer. Academically, law school was not particularly enjoyable. In hindsight, I now get it, and it has given me a strong competitive advantage that I very much appreciate. But back then, all I wanted to do was to have fun.
Then I had to figure out how to make money. When you don’t come from money, and it has been ingrained in you that you don’t have any, there is lots of uncertainly and struggle. Breaking into this business was tough. I was unemployed for a while, and there were many times that I was ready to give up because I wasn’t making progress. But I will tell you that having struggled so deeply after so many years, I am so, so grateful to be doing what I am doing.
I am so appreciative of this opportunity, I know how hard it is to come by, and I want to use this opportunity to make a huge impact on the communities that we create. I also am so appreciative of the people who have invested their monies with me and are allowing me to do the things that I love to do and achieve my dream. My goal for them is to make them more money than they have ever made before while using their investment to make a big and positive impact on the people who experience our development projects.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Cymbal Development envisions and creates design-driven communities. We are real estate developers, builders, and restauranteurs. We work with the best designers and teams in the world to create compelling environments. We seek to inspire, innovate, and transform.
Before we let you go, we’ve got to ask if you have any advice for those who are just starting out?
Follow your heart. Be clear about what you want and don’t waver. Burn your bridges. Don’t turn back. Be patient. Never give up. Don’t chase the money. If you love what you are doing, are focused on getting there, are patient, the money will come.