Sharone Perlstein

The key is to keep going. Even if you fail, keep going.


Sharone Perlstein is an international executive, entrepreneur, and manager of corporations spanning a variety of fields across the globe, including resource management and sustainability, real estate development and management, and finance. He is the founder of a marketplace lending platform which, since 2011, has been a leader in the dynamic digital lending industry.

Born in Israel in 1971, Sharone Perlstein left his native country to pursue his undergraduate education in America. In 1993, he received his B.A. from the Champaign/Urbana campus of the University of Illinois. Following graduation, Perlstein joined a Chinese brokerage firm on Wall Street where he handled trades for the company’s clients. He quickly succeeded in the industry and after one year, Perlstein became employed with Orly Capital Inc. in New York City. He served as Corporate Finance Specialist. Drawing upon his innate strength in corporate finance, Perlstein succeeded in facilitating listings on the European and US stock exchanges for the company’s portfolios. He remained with Orly Capital from 1997 until 2004.

Sharone Perlstein’s entry into real estate development began in 2006, when he co-founded Canadel Group with his partner, Robert Rubinstein. Canadel was a real estate development company engaged in unusual projects located primarily throughout Eastern Europe, including Moldova, Latvia and Ukraine. Canadel was involved in developing and financing real estate projects and Perlstein served as Director from 2006 until 2008. During his tenure, Perlstein was successful in recruiting the high-profile AIG Global Real Estate to join the company as a co-investment partner.

In 2008, Sharone Perlstein expanded his focus to development and management of agricultural lands by founding BSD Ukraine Agro Ltd. which managed 10,000 hectare of agricultural land in Ukraine. BSD Ukraine was the main agricultural investment arm of BrookBank, a private investment company focused on identifying and investing in emerging initiatives. Perlstein was the owner of BrookBank Enterprises from 2004 until 2011. His tenure at BSD Ukraine lasted until 2010, during which time he served as Director, with Erez Meltzer, CEO of Africa Israel Group serving as Chairman.

In 2010, Perlstein joined with David Plattner to launch the Rainforest Trust, thus beginning his foray into natural resource management and preservation. The primary objective of the Rainforest Trust was to secure financing to assist governments in the task of protect their fragile rainforests. An example is the conservation agreement made between the Rainforest Trust and Manaus, Brazil to preserve 800,000 hectares of imperiled rainforest. Other conservation agreements were entered into with the governments of Cambodia, Mexico and Indonesia.

Also in 2010, Perlstein became involved in the biofuels industry as an investor and advisor of Waterland International, the manager of a biofuel plantation in Indonesia. The project consisted of 60,000 hectares of jatropha trees that were producing oil for the export market, particularly to Holland. Waterland International was also experimenting with the viability of using jatropha tree oil to fuel jet engines. The company was working with Airbus and Boeing to run feasibility studies.

Sharone Perlstein is a lover of modern art and makes an effort to carve out personal time to visit art shows to add to his collection of special paintings.

Where did the idea for your company come from?

Lava Finance. I visited Iceland. The country is a geology hotspot. Lots of lava flows… To many, finance is science, but I consider myself an artist. There are so many moving parts in finance, that Lava has a ‘flow’ and can change in any direction; that’s how I came up with the name

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

Wake up at 6:30 am. Read a little. Make food for kid’s lunch. Take kids to school. Sit in front of the computer, read and answer emails. Research businesses of clients that I’m consulting for. Answer and make a few calls to discuss issues that I find in client’s business cases. Fine tune presentations and work on financial models. 7pm join kids for dinner.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m full of ideas all the time. I like to research if the ideas have already been published and if and who is implementing them

What’s one trend that excites you?

Online marketing. Specifically, the meta-search trend.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Focus and finish a thought or a subject. Read and study and gather as much research as possible on the topic I’m working on, from development, marketing, price people are charging etc. I like to learn all about the business from A to Z.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Be more analytical. Business plans need well thought out financial modeling. The real business plan is in the model. Also, when the economy goes south and you think that there is no point in working and now is a good time for a vacation… just the opposite. Work harder, look for opportunities. When the market comes back… be in the game as this is the time when most of the money is made

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

You have to be lucky to succeed. I used to have a quote on my desk… I’m a lucky man, the harder I work, the luckier I am.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Read, read, read, research research, research.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Persistence. Believe in yourself and your idea. Persistence even when everyone tells you otherwise.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

More failures than success. The key is to keep going. Even if you fail, keep going. You have to know when to step away from a business as well.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Funny, but today, everything is very easy to copy. Make a good product, someone will make it for less. Invest a new technology, someone will copy you and develop it and can sell it for cheaper. I’m a big believer in self-help. People need to talk other humans to overcome their anxiety, fear etc. I believe a business that helps others, whether is by writing self-help, offering online counseling or coaching is a business that has legs in the long run. You are the brand and if you have good reviews it is very difficult to copy YOU.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Bought a pair of cool parachute pants and a long sleeve shirt for 50% off. Just some new clothing at a good price and I feel fresh.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Google. I use it for hours on-end in my research. I was recently in Paris for the weekend and started to use google to search for a hotel near me, Thai food near me and it’s unbelievable how customized the search can be.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Don’t want to sound like a cliché but, Eckhart Tolle’s ‘The Power of Now’ is a must read. It’s an interesting view on how our minds work. We are always thinking about the future or past, while we live in the present… As a kid we are always in – awe of things in the present…as an adult we forget to pay attention to the present and to appreciate it

What is your favorite quote?

I’m a lucky man, the harder I work the luckier I am.

Key Learnings:

• When looking at a new idea/business make sure you put in enough days to collect as much information from research reports, statistic web sites, competitors web sites, chat rooms etc. Copy what you think is the important data raw form with the source links. Then spend a few days organizing the raw data into a new document (with all the source references). Now you are ready to organize it in a clean format, where you can put sections together for a complete ‘raw’ market research document.
• Work hard. The world is very, very competitive. Don’t give up because things don’t work out as you planned. If you’ve done your research and believe you have a business case, then do not give up. On the other hand, you must know when to quit and move on.
• Overcome your fears. If you don’t like numbers, unless you invented something totally new, the chances of failure in the business will not be 99% they will be 100%. Being an entrepreneur means that you need to overcome everything you disliked about school as a kid. There is no teacher to tell you that you pass or failed, reality will hit you right in the face