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One Mic Stand: Investor Solomon RC Ali

Interview by Jonathan Kersting

One Mic Stand

Meet Technology Patent Holder, Private Equity Investor and Investment Consultant, Solomon RC Ali. In addition to licensing out his technology patents to some of the world’s biggest companies, he has helped minority-owned businesses raise $250 Million in structured investment capital.

Find out out what types of deals interest Solomon and how he likes to work with his investments. Plus he has some insights for entrepreneurs trying to raise capital in these current economic conditions.






This is Jonathan Kersting with the Pittsburgh Technology Council and tech five radio hanging out with Huntington bank from the virtual Huntington bank podcast studio and bringing you the tech vibe Radio One mic stand. You know, we're trying to stretch our horizons here. We always talk to everybody in anybody we can't in Pittsburgh, maybe there's people around the world. They're doing great work that we want to bring back to you here in Pittsburgh, for a little inspiration. And one such guy here we have with us today. I'm just really excited for everybody to talk to you. He's the inventor of ring doorbell technology. He's considered one of the top black investors. Really, I think in the country, if not the world. I mean, your background Solomon is impressive. So we're talking to Solomon RC Ali. Hey, thanks for hanging out with me today. I really appreciate it.

Hey, Jonathan, glad to really be here. It's very exciting. You know, I'm one of the exciting things that we did do was that two way audio video communication that we licensed during weed rain actually had their own licenses and okay, but our licenses have actually preceded them. So they had to come to us and license. Wow, I love it. That is so cool. When did you develop this technology? I mean, obviously, like, that's pretty crazy stuff.

Well, you know, I was the investor in it. Our former CEO, actually was the founder and inventor of all the technology and everything. Gotcha. And I think at the end of the day, I just really believed in it, right. And so it was exciting to me, it reminded me of the Jetsons and things so they know, when you're on a long journey.

A lot of people give up on a long journey. So the founder was really exhausted. And that's, you know, that's one of the reasons I found the Solomon RCI, Lee Corporation, okay, was to help small, mid sized companies, especially looking to go into tech nology. So we can help them to develop their IP intellectual properties. Because we have a whole network of attorneys, core engineers and things of that nature that can help them to scale that technology. And one of the spaces that we like, is the 4g 5g, drone technology, robotics, and stuff like that. And so if there's, if any of your listeners know anything about intellectual property, they're what they know, is it's very expensive to get a attorney to come on board, and go ahead and help to help them to scale that out. So we help match that all up and close that gap. So they don't have to worry about because we already have the attorneys on retainer, right. So the whole team ready to go. So you're ready to go. And we just helped them to add the no claims and things of that nature and scale that way.

Excellent. So what's your background? What got you into tech? What got you to investing? Like what got you thinking that like, I think video, doorbells are gonna be a really big thing we'd be taken for granted now. But if you think back 10 years, or however long it's been, it's like, I wasn't thinking about video. You

know, um, we go back to like, Look, I came out of the military. When I got out of the military, I started a maintenance company where we were cleaning up stuff part got ready, turned around. And you know, I didn't know everything. Um, one of my first biggest failures was that I didn't know what accounts receivables were. And I had all these accounts receivables.

Right, and I needed money.

And so that's how I learned like, what counts receivables work. And then I turned around the energy company in the technology company. So it turned into a technology company around and working with the CEO. It was like, Oh, wow. And I was looking at the technology. And so we did our due diligence, and we got really, really, I mean, we just got like, wow, this is mind boggling. We jump right in there. And we say look, this reminds me of the Jetsons I remember my brother, yes, and cartoon. And I was like, it was also futuristic, you know, you go past a certain location, emotion goes off, and it sends it to a smart device a signal. And it was like, oh, wow, then you can talk and see each other was like, Okay, this is it. And so that that was the exciting thing about it. And it's like anything that you do, you have to find something that's exciting to you, that you love to do. So any person that's out there looking for someone to invest in technology, find someone with a common vision, a common dream, because then it's not a hard sale. It's a thing. Oh, I understand where you're going. I believe in that already. And you know, that's again, one of the reasons we invented. Our Solomon rcreee Corporation was to help companies to do that because it's A lot of projects that we just get really passionate and excited. We started on patent far. Okay. We were able to do that, because we work with so many attorneys and engineers and putting this stuff together. So, I mean, there's a lot goes behind.

absolutely believe me very complex. That's for sure. So I'm curious. Like, I mean, we're seeing the pace of technology look at like with 5g, starting to really come online now with obviously that empowering Internet of Things and things like like, like the ring doorbell. I mean, this guy, the other things out there that are super disruptive, that you're probably thinking about what's out there now that you're thinking, Man, this can be huge.

You know, I'm glad you asked me that. We have been doing some research at one of our patent forums. And we're really excited about the security industry. And what I mean by that, you hear about all the people getting shot, specially people of color, who looked like me being shot by police. So if you just imagine a drone, that is able to go out there and see what's going on, relay that information in real time back, right. And then they can make the call from there. And then you couple that with Oh, wow. You know, in Charlotte, we have police officers in one car. But normally when they pull someone over, they bring a second our third car, right? Well, what if you had a partner that was a robot? Uh huh. He's also able to relay all the information back to the station in real estate. And the other partner was a human. Of course, that's where we're going. That's, I love it, man. It's like, this is going to be an awesome society to live in. And then it was so cut back on Oh, okay. You're not killing as many minorities by mistake or because you feel afraid or threat. So that's some of the things that we're working on. And we're looking at. And that's very exciting to us.

Yeah, that's exciting to me as well, too. That's why I love doing what I do. I get to talk to folks like you that are on the leading edge when it comes to this type of stuff. So let's talk about more about like, how can we get more people starting companies, especially like people of color, like we keep seeing, like, like there's opportunity out there, but for some reason, it's just not making it all the time. And so how can what can every region be doing to be supportive?

You know, john, I'm not being paid attention to you right now. Jonathan, we started a company, a podcast called minority access, okay, be a minority business access, I'm sorry, Minority Business access. And that podcast, we give people tips on how to grow their business, how to develop their business. And so we just constantly give them the things that we have found in the past and my 34 years. Yeah, what were challenging, okay, because as a man of color, didn't go to the traditional school. So I learned everything the hard way. And that's definitely in the Bally's than I did on the Hilton. I like the hilltops.

I hear the views much better up there. That's all I can say.

Yes, yes. But you learn a lot in the valleys. So you know, one of the things we look for, that you're asking, is we look for a solid management team. Okay, we look for the company and the people who have a dream and a vision. We look at what scalability Can you scale it? And then we look at what is the exit strategy? And that's one of the things that whether you're a minority company or any company, you have to think about what the exit strategy actually is for those people who may want to put money into your company. Okay.

Absolutely. That's very solid. Lots of people just think they got this idea they want to build it but some marketing behind it and you know, not sure what's gonna happen, but being able to present here's the exit, here's how we plan to make money and get out is always very beneficial. As far as that go. What are some of the like, the craziest things you've seen people like pitching to you, I know, you probably get some some very interesting people coming. Like, here's my idea. Any advice for those who are out there to make sure they don't step in it?

The first thing that they always do, and the biggest mistake is they don't know their numbers. They don't know their numbers. And and then they are pitching something that so outrageous that crazy valuations.

Yes, and you just can't wrap your head around. They're not able to articulate it or wrap their heads around it. And so it makes it extremely difficult. And you know, Someone once told me that I believe it was my attorney. He said some of the best deals that you'll ever do, are the ones you just walk away from.

There's a lot of deals we have to walk away from from, you know, but I talk about a lot of that information and a book that we have coming out that Okay, now. And the book is hidden wisdoms of the wealthy. And so it kind of goes over if you're a person of color looks like me and you want to know a How do you go from zero to a millions of dollars in licensing fees and things of that nature? How do you turn companies around and corner a market? Right? We I just, I put it all in there. So that you know, whatever your industry is, I mean, I don't know if you know, this job. For companies that I was a part of, we fought we cornered the market. And, yeah, what that mean is they had to come through us I had to pay in licensing fees, and things of that nature, because we control that space. And that's a beautiful place to be. And so yeah, hey, if they want more information, read the book, or come call us at Solomon, RCI, Li Corp, and our team actually helpful is this book on Amazon as well, too.

When it comes out in 2021, we're gonna mark our calendars for this because I mean, you've got a ton of wisdom. And you're kind of packing this into like a little playbook, we can kind of start going through I mean, that can be pretty transformative.

Oh, you know, I, I do a lot of reading. And as you know, just our journeys in life is tough. And so if someone can help you to step over a minefield, and show you the path through the minefield, right, that's priceless. That is extremely priceless. And, you know, a lot of times we think we can afford it. But you can't afford not to avoid that minefield. Because we can all learn things by trial by error. But absolutely, yeah. So what's been some of the best advice you've ever received, as you were, you know, cutting your teeth, and getting to the place where you are now, where you when you were down in some of those, some of those valleys? What were some some key things that came your way that helped you make it to some of those hilltops that you've been seeing?

Um, one of the key things that they told me was one go out and help someone else. And don't go figure, huh, yeah.

And so I said, You want me to go help someone and help them for free and not charge them? Yeah, so help someone be of service. And so the other thing was what my attorney had told me, and that was just simply, some of the best deals are going to be the one she just walked away from a console that that was very, very important to.

Yeah, I mean, that was similar to I hung out with many, many entrepreneurs over the years and had some folks learned that sometimes there's certain customers, you just don't want, you know, that customer might give you some short term cash, but in the long term might cause a whole lot of grief. And so yeah, if you walk away from it actually creates a longer term opportunity, as far as that is. So I'm also curious to pick your brain a little bit. I mean, obviously, everyone's been been been navigating the whole COVID-19 crisis. How has that impacted the way you're, you're investing and looking at technology and doing business these days?

Well, you know, COVID-19 is still no, we've been living with it for what about eight months, nine months now. However, it's still new. So it's really hard to predict a business model of what that outcome is going to look like. And so, but I think, everyone, I know, we are at a feverish pace, trying to determine what a business model is going to look like, you know, look, we do a lot of roll ups. Okay. So if you're in the industry, let's say the hospitality industry, Restaurant and Bar industry, we're sitting there, we're gonna come in and pick up all those different leases from the bars and restaurants is going out of business, help you to roll that up under your umbrella. So that's one of the things that we're doing. But again, it's really early to figure out what a business model is going to look like. And truly, how is it impacting everything? Now, all that being said, when you partner with someone like us, so we partner with you, and we got a cigar lounge that we're gonna open up 500 locations across the United States, and people are like, why cigar? And I was like, Well, if you go back and you look at history, it's recession proof. Oh, cigars is recession proof. Oh, and you look at also most of the communities throughout the United States, you can't smoke on property. So they need somewhere to actually to go right. And so we kind of just said, Oh, okay, we had never thought of it but the person who brought it to us we were like, Alright, we did due diligence and my team say it's a recession proof business, you guys to do extremely well. The barriers to entry are low, and it's easy and quick to him scale. So We're looking at that, don't COVID, you're going to find a lot of roll ups, you may lose money in the initial stages, okay? That's where the first and I'm saying initial stage, don't be the first few year, okay? You'll lose a few dollars. But then after that, when everything settles back down, you'll be a head and you would be one of basically, you'll become one of the leaders within that particular industry. So it's a different way of cornering the market.

Very cool, great insight. So glad I got to talk with you today. Like I said, the very opportunity to talk some like us, Don't you've done and just make tremendous amounts of wealth, and tremendous innovation that's benefited so many people. So Solomon rcx. Ali, thank you for being part of our tech five Radio One Mike's day and encourage everyone check out the book in 2021. And this is like a little playbook. With all your wisdom packed in there saw and I think that's pretty fantastic. And once again, thank you for being part of the tech by radio one mic stand, you are the best.

Well, Jonathan, thank you so much. And one of the things I would say is what can Solomon RCI Lee Corp do for your listeners and everything like that? Yeah, we help you to grow and scale your business. We can help you avoid all those minefields, and just tell me go to Solomon RC Lee, that info.

Perfect. That's what we're gonna do. We'll put in the liner notes as well to Solomon, thank you so much for being part of the show. Thank you, John.

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