I watched the second season of Undercover Billionaire, in which three billionaires (or multi-millionaires), each of whom owns hundred million dollar companies, are sent to small depressed cities in the US with only $100, a cell phone with no contacts, an old truck and most importantly with a false name, and has 90 days to build a million dollar business. I assume everything shown was genuine, it certainly seemed to be, because they showed all the things that went wrong, the downs as well as the ups.
In the first season (see “Undercover Billionaire” IsBlog, Feb 15, 2021), Glenn Stearns managed to develop a barbecue-beer restaurant called “Underdog Barbecue” in 90 days in Erie PA., with local micro-breweries supplying the beers, that was assessed at a value of $750,000. Although he did not reach the 1 million dollar mark, in terms of revenue and assets, he added m$1 of his own money to continue to develop the business. He also provided work for over 50 people.
In season two, there were three different billionaires sent to different depressed cities around the US, and the results were equally amazing. You could see immediately that these are driven people, not only wanting to make money, but needing to succeed. In Pueblo, Colorado, Grant Cordone, under a pseudonym, who is a real estate developer and management consultant, tried to buy a multi-million dollar building, but failed because he had no track record under his assumed name. His back-up plan was to develop a company that would provide advertising in social media on the internet for small businesses in depressed areas that were not developing or expanding. To do this he put together a team of young people, and he was lucky to find a local entrepreneur who really believed in him and supported him personally and financially. He went around Pueblo and obtained 7 clients, each paying up to k$10 per month for his company’s services. His company named “Wake Up” was assessed at a value of m$5.5 after 90 days and he intends to take it national.
In Tacoma, Washington, Monique Idlett-Mosley, who owns a multi-million dollar venture capital company based on great success in the music production business, decided to focus on her belief in wellness. Being a black woman, she wanted to be able to bring wellness products to the minority community. She came up with the idea of selling shots of natural drinks from former ice cream trucks around the neighborhoods as well as selling them through coffee shops, markets and home deliveries. She provides an outlet for local farmers who produce the vegetables. After 90 days her company named “Rooted” was deemed worth 1 million dollars. She hopes to take this company national with franchises throughout the US.
In Fresno, California, Elaine Culotti, a multi-million dollar real estate developer and construction expert from LA, happened the first night she was there to stumble across the Shepherd’s Inn in downtown Fresno, that was literally closed. But, since she could not afford a real hotel she rang the bell, and the owner answered and rented her a room for $25 a night. It turned out that because of the Covid-19 crisis, he had been closed down and was now driving a truck for a living. Although Elaine investigated other real estate deals in Fresno, she came back to seeing the Inn as a potential new business. Instead of a bar and restaurant that it had been, she decided to turn it into a sandwich shop, with a grocery, a coffee shop, a small intimate bar, with live music and develop it as a boutique hotel. Each one of these tranches would make money, and there was essentially no competition downtown. The sandwich shop would supply local businesses, including the Federal and local city offices with sandwich deliveries. In essentially reconstructing this old building in 90 days, with the financial support of the owner and with a Small Business Administration loan of k$150, she redeveloped this business, called “Shep’s Club,” that was assessed as worth over m$1.
A self-confessed “bad-ass,” Elaine was the epitome of the driven entrepreneur, determined to turn her business model into reality at all costs. She battled many unforeseen and unbelievable difficulties and succeeded, and in the process pushed many people beyond their limits, but in the end made many friends and provided employment for many people. Grant Cordone, who had been a drug addict and had redeemed himself, was a most driven person whose “take no prisoner’s” philosophy had to succeed. And Monique instilled confidence and support in all who she met. I enjoyed this series, much better than any superhero or supernatural series. This was real life in all its challenging detail and showed that the American dream is still alive.