Mr. Louis D. Spagnuolo, Founder and President of Illuminati Trust, a diversified monetization company with holdings in more than 41 industry verticals, believes that everything comes down to one simple recipe with five basic ingredients. Whether it's artificial intelligence, insurance, private aviation, yachts, restaurants, cryptocurrencies or Internet media, Spagnuolo and his team focus on creating, purchasing, investing in and selling companies that can best answer the following questions.
Is there a true sustainable competitive advantage? Are there real barriers to entry? Is the business scalable and can the services and/or products be sold worldwide? Is there a clear path for an exit strategy? Is there a management team, with the necessary industry expertise, either in place or can one be put together?
Spagnuolo has worked with professional athletes, entertainers, national business leaders, heads of state and countless numbers of high respected individuals. He's been featured in media publications such as Forbes Magazine, The South Florida Business Journal, The Palm Beach Post, The Sun-Sentinel, South Florida Business Leader Magazine, Fox Business News, BankRate.com, South Florida Opulence and The Associated Press.
Spagnuolo's moves are purposeful and executed with acute intention. His journey from ordinary to one of the most well-rounded and accomplished entrepreneurs in the country is inspirational and if you have a pulse and love business, he will motivate you to make moves and pursue your wildest dreams.
"I was born in Boston," Spagnuolo said. "I came from very humble beginnings. I did well in high school and decided to head south, to beautiful South Florida to attend college at the University of Miami." Spagnuolo studied finance, but was quick to jump into various ventures that would set the foundation for his future entrepreneurial endeavors.
The first significant venture that really catapulted Spagnuolo's career was a cell phone battery and accessories exporting business that he co-founded with a couple of other University of Miami students. This was in the early 1990s, around the time when cell phones first took off. Spagnuolo and his partners teamed up with a Chinese manufacturer to produce inexpensive batteries that would provide a longer charge. His partners had contacts throughout South America so they decided to start exporting their batteries to countries like Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil. Business took off and revenue soared and he began netting over $60,000 per month. Unfortunately for Spagnuolo and his partners, the success was short-lived. Several coup d'état attempts in Venezuela, one in February of 1992 and the other in November of 1992, wreaked havoc and disrupted the central banking system. There was no way to get money out of the country. Spagnuolo and his partners ended up flying down to Venezuela to meet with their banker. They were able to get some of their money, but not all. Nevertheless, each partner walked away with approximately $400,000. That chapter was finished. Spagnuolo returned to Miami, finished school and quickly found a new opportunity.
"I was a young guy, living in Miami with a lot of money, relatively speaking," Spagnuolo said. "My parents came to visit and immediately recognized that the environment wasn't good for me. They put their foot down and told me to move. I ended up in Palm Beach, where I decided to open a restaurant. My parents had restaurants in the past, so there was some familiarity there. The restaurant did well. I made some money, but I needed a bigger challenge. I needed something that was scalable. No matter how many people we served each night, we couldn't get sales over $7,000. There was a cap. I didn't like that."
After about three years of owning and running the restaurant, Spagnuolo sold it and took some time off. Around this time, he received a phone call from a friend that would change his life forever. "My friend called and said, 'There's this thing called the Internet and it's going to be big some day. We're starting a company in Boca Raton, in the old IBM facility.' He told me to come down and check it out. So I did. It was crazy. All these people were happy and smiling. Everyone had stock options. It was basically an incubator for early tech companies. They didn't have an actual position for me, so I joined as an intern. We ended up raising a lot of capital for the tech companies, but unfortunately, most of them failed. The dot com bubble popped and everyone in the company was sad and crying. I was actually happy because I got to learn a lot about running a company and what not to do. I got to see all their mistakes firsthand."
After the dot com crash, Spagnuolo dabbled in real estate for a while, purchasing homes, rehabbing them and then flipping them for a profit. He ended up in Las Vegas for a real estate convention where he encountered his next significant opportunity. Spagnuolo met a gentlemen in the mortgage industry that opened his eyes to the possibilities of doing owner financing and finding ways to get more people into the homes he was flipping. He got his mortgage brokers license and started financing the people buying his homes. He soon realized he could do more mortgages than he could sell homes and got into the mortgage business full time.
This cycle of being in the right place at the right time, being exposed to opportunities, recognizing potential and taking action continued as Spagnuolo moved on to new endeavors. He spent some time working with the Royal Bank of Canada. He was introduced to Internet leads to secure new mortgages and learned the power of leveraging this relatively new technology to generate business throughout the country. This is about when Spagnuolo's recipe for success, expertise and experience on how to build a scalable company really started to gel. He was quick to harness the power of the Internet and before long he had over 30 verticals selling a variety of products and services including, insurance, domain names and distressed assets.
Today, Spagnuolo is a nationally sought after expert in Internet Monetization, with an emphasis on asset acquisitions that can be leveraged to generate liquidity events. Under the umbrella of his holding company, Illuminati Trust, Spagnuolo has verticals in private jets, yachts, restaurants, insurance, tanning clubs, menswear, Internet media and more. Looking ahead, Spagnuolo envisions a future with a heavy emphasis on Artificial Intelligence. He believes this technology will allow him to grow and sell companies at a faster rate.
We asked Spagnuolo what he enjoys most about his current position in life. "The money," he said. "I grew up poor. I now have wealth that allows me to do a lot of things, such as invest in other companies. The more successful you are, the more you can help others. I really enjoy taking someone with an incredible idea, but a lack of knowledge on how to execute or a lack of funding, and integrating their idea with my expertise. That's extremely gratifying."
What advice does Spagnuolo have for aspiring entrepreneurs? "Ideas are worthless," he said. "The shortfall for most people is execution. Also, focus on how you're going to make money. If a guys say, 'Lou let's get into this', I tell him to show me how we can make money doing it. Before you leave a job or ask investors for money, show yourself that you can make a profit of $100/day. Start with just a $100/day. If you can do that, then you can expand from there. Lastly, I have a lot of young kids that work for me. I tell them all to save their money, learn something unique, find their passion and solve a problem."