“Everyone’s path and life journey is different, and there is no right answer.”
Roger DaSilva is the Founder of Realm Startup Advisory, a company that empowers under-represented founders (women, minority, LGBTQ+) of startups & businesses to make sound financial and strategic decisions. Mr. DaSilva has over 15 years of experience scaling and growing businesses from early-stage startups to public Fortune 500 firms in investment management, sales, and operations leadership. He received his B.S. in Economics from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, concentrating in Finance and minoring in Spanish. Today, he joins us to share his journey to founding Realm Startup Advisory and talk about how he is impacting small businesses today.
Can you give our viewers an introduction to yourself?
“After attending Wharton for my undergraduate degree, I started my career in traditional financial services in New York City. I then spent about six years at Goldman Sachs in the equities trading division, focusing on biotech, healthcare, and the Nasdaq division. However, I always wanted to manage money myself and go the hedge fund route. In January 2009, I started my own asset firm, Real Capital Management, with my own capital and some friends’ money. The firm essentially grew from zero to over $10 million of high net worth clients, small institutions, and family offices.”
Why did you choose to have Realm Startup Advisory focus on under-represented entrepreneurs and start-ups?
“I’m Hispanic myself and know what it’s like being in a room full of people who don’t look like you. I want to help minorities in business because a lot of times they face adversity because of the color of their skin or their gender. I wanted to level out the playing field, spread that information out to them, and always create that safe space where no questions are out of bounds. They share their experiences and sometimes I can relate, and this is something that really resonates with people.”
How do you hope to impact the businesses you consult?
“My goal is helping businesses thrive and grow because this enables these people to pay other people and then you get to support so many people in your firm. Regardless of whatever product or service you’re offering, your customers are benefiting as well. It’s like a virtuous cycle to me.
It’s all about seeing successful small businesses because it’s really those small mom-and-pop kinds of places, where these people are able to put food on the table, pay for the education of their children, and then give back to the community. My favorite kinds of calls are those from CEOs or entrepreneurs saying, ‘Roger, that advice you gave me X months ago or even years ago really enabled me to turn around the business, to pivot to do this,’ etc. I really enjoy those conversations.”
What is the worst advice you have ever received?
“That there’s only one right path to follow and it’s a kind of one size fits all thing.
When you live in New York City, this is the thing they tell you: you have to get your kids into that right preschool because it is going to define what grammar school, high school, and college your kid gets into. That’s ridiculous, right? There’s no one straight narrow path that you should follow for success or happiness. Everyone’s path and life journey is different, and there is no right answer. I was kind of on that straight narrow path for a while, but I found genuine joy when I strayed from it. I was on track at Goldman but I wasn’t loving it there – that’s when I decided to do something different and forged my own path.”