Angels on Clubhouse

Today’s Highlights: Businesses get tax credits for vaccination PTO. Home builders are disappearing. And an 18-year-old owns and runs the family restaurant (while going to high school).


Jonathan Macedo, an 18-year-old, owns and runs a family restaurant in Chicago: “He got his start at 15, here at Peke’s Pozole, his family’s small restaurant on Pulaski Road in Archer Heights, waiting tables, arranging contracts with vendors, seating customers, filing paperwork, cooking. In November, after his 18th birthday, his parents signed the restaurant ownership over to him. If you met him, you probably would, too. He was already doing everything anyway, his parents said. The kid is committed, organized, thoughtful, smart, ambitious. And so, Peke’s Pozole — ‘Peke’ is his mother’s nickname, and pozole was a specialty in her hometown in Mexico — is now a Jonathan Macedo Production.”

  • “Macedo is slight, slender, about 130 pounds, but he seems even smaller. He has bushy eyebrows and dark hair trimmed into a tidy plateau. He has a guileless smile and the unassuming cheer of the young and ridiculously promising. He is 18 years old but appears 16.”

  • “‘To be frank, when you’re 18, not everyone takes you seriously,’ he confides. ‘They know I’m the boss. But I have to hire and fire, and I am 18 — I have to break bad news to adults. And one could argue that I’ve never worked a real job before. So, I’m learning.”

  • “The place is doing well. On weekends, waits for the half-dozen tables sometimes stretch to an hour. On Sundays, Jonathan has been selling 300 to-go orders of pozole alone. He’s also cooking, and staffing, and ringing orders, and sourcing ingredients, and doing paperwork. Then going to high school.” READ MORE

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Entrepreneurs are finding angel investors on Clubhouse: “Every Wednesday at 3 p.m. PT, a new handful of founders duke it out before a panel of angel investors in a weekly show called Angelhouse. Hundreds more people listen in. The conversations between founders and investors can be educational, but ‘the purpose of hearing pitches is not to give advice,’ says Geoff Cook, one of the angels. ‘It’s to decide: Do you want to invest or not?’ From the start, Clubhouse has had a vibrant startup scene, and many of the app’s top users are venture capitalists. It’s not uncommon to stumble into a room full of entrepreneurs practicing their pitches, or investors discussing the latest startup trends.”

  • “Every week, Angelhouse invites four founders up to the stage. Most of the participants have submitted an application form ahead of time, but the show will occasionally pluck a volunteer from the audience to pitch on the spot.”

  • There are no slide decks or B-roll footage on Clubhouse. Instead, it’s an hourlong exchange between founders and the investors probing their ideas, including the sometimes boring particulars: technical specs, cash flows, distribution models.”

  • Afterward, the angels—who are scattered around the world—retreat to a private backchannel on Slack, where they chat about which, if any, pitches are viable investments.”

  • “They invite their favorites back every fifth week for the Money Show, where they decide which they want to invest in.” READ MORE


The CEO of Mass. Bay Brewing has launched an initiative to diversify the industry: “Dan Kenary used to look around at craft beer events and see the same thing: ‘a bunch of white dudes with beards and flannel,’ as he puts it. Kenary, chief executive of Harpoon beer parent Mass. Bay Brewing, is hoping to change that, once in-person events resume. His company has teamed up with the industry’s statewide trade group, the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, to launch an ambitious effort to diversify the ranks. This month, they unveiled a website, dubbed Hop Forward Equality, to serve as a central clearinghouse for the industry in terms of diversity and inclusion initiatives, book suggestions, job postings, and best practices. They’re also launching a series of training sessions, virtual at first, to help executives diversify their teams.”

  • “‘I would love to walk into all of our places and see our patrons reflect the community better than they do right now,’ Kenary said. ‘We’re heading in the right direction. I’m just impatient.’” READ MORE

When most people think of independent contractors, they think of junior-level talent. But that may be changing: “Fractional leadership allows startups to find highly skilled talent willing to work on a part-time basis. [Michael Saloio, founder of Huddle, which calls itself the home for highly skilled independent workers] uses the example of a chief marketing officer: ‘I want a seasoned CMO, but I can’t afford to hire them full-time. So I’ll hire a fractional CMO for two to three days a week. Bring them on while you are growing.’ Lastly, he says, ‘our freelancers can earn equity in the companies that we plug them into. The most in-demand people want upside in their projects.’”

  • “‘It’s more about a passion economy,’ notes Huddle’s Saloio. ‘Goldman Sachs for eight years? That is not what Gen Z is doing.’” READ MORE


Business can get up to $5,110 in tax credits for giving PTO for vaccinations: “The IRS, also on Wednesday, codified the tax credit, which broadly offsets the cost for employers with fewer than 500 employees to provide full pay for any time their employees need to get a Covid-19 vaccination or recover from that vaccination.”

  • “The tax credit, worth up to $511 per day of paid sick leave, will be available between April 1 and September 30, 2021, for employees to receive Covid-19 vaccines or recover from shot side effects.”

  • “Employers can receive tax credits for up to 10 days worth of sick leave per employee. Given that most people don't have severe side effects that last more than a day or so, this should cover all time off needed for vaccination.” READ MORE


Existing home price soared in March to the highest level on record: “The median price for existing home sales rose to $329,100 in March, a new high according to the National Association of Realtors. Prices soared 17.2 percent last month from a year earlier, marking the biggest price increase in NAR data going back to 1999. Steepening prices, combined with a scarcity of inventory that has left the U.S. housing market millions of homes short of buyer demand, have taken some steam out of the market at the start of the peak spring selling season.”

  • “The supply constraints are creating a fiercely competitive bidding climate where homes are sitting on the market for shorter periods than ever before.”

  • “‘It’s such a frustrating market right now for buyers,’ said Dan Canfield of Accel Realty Partners. ‘It feels like you have to give up your soul and then some to even compete for a house right now.’” READ MORE

Despite the housing shortage, there are far fewer home builders than there used to be? “Before the housing bubble burst, that demand would have been easier to meet. There were far more home builders then, particularly speculative builders who build homes without a guaranteed buyer. In the tally of U.S. businesses it conducts every five years, the Census Bureau in 2007 counted 32,158 spec builders operating in the country. In 2017, it counted 15,483. Now, big public builders have a much larger footprint, particularly in the suburbs surrounding major metropolitan areas—including ones seen as beneficiaries of any movement away from the biggest cities.”

  • “Banks remain less willing to extend loans to upstart builders than they once were, giving big builders—particularly the large, public ones with access to capital markets—a substantial advantage when it comes to securing land.” READ MORE


Airlines are calling back workers, adding flights, and preparing for a summer they say could be normal: “As the pandemic decimated travel a year ago, a top industry executive predicted that a major U.S. airline would go bankrupt and the carriers themselves warned of painful cuts to come. Now, with demand for tickets rebounding, airlines are predicting the summer will be almost normal, and some companies even say they could turn a profit. It amounts to a stunning turnaround for an industry that many people had written off and that had to go hat in hand to Washington for three bailouts, which provided tens of billions of dollars that helped to prevent painful layoffs.”

  • “The nation’s 11 largest airlines are planning to offer nearly as many seats this July as they did in July 2019, according to Cirium, an aviation data firm, though schedules could still change.”

  • Many countries have not yet lifted travel restrictions and some are even imposing new ones. On Thursday, for example, the United Arab Emirates suspended all flights from India because of a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in that country.”

  • “The State Department escalated travel warnings for dozens of countries this week.” READ MORE

Used car prices are soaring: “The Manheim U.S. Used Vehicle Value Index, a gauge of pricing trends, soared to a fresh record Tuesday as factors ranging from chip shortages to a rebounding economy conspired to keep pressure on automotive inventories. The index, which updates mid-month, rose by 6.8 percent in the first 15 days of April from the final March figure and jumped 52 percent from the same period a year ago to a level of 191.4.” READ MORE

In Hawaii, tourists are driving around in U-Hauls: “As the state reopens and many tourists return, there are not enough rental cars to meet the demand. That’s driving up the price of rentals and leading some visitors to get creative. Some are even turning to U-Hauls to get around the islands. ‘The uptick from tourism, the uptick from companies opening back up, from the economy restarting — everybody seems to need a vehicle,’ said U-Haul Marketing President Kaleo Alau. Alau said Hawaii U-Haul facilities are the busiest they’ve been in years.”

  • “Last month, the cheapest rental car on Maui was a Toyota Camry for $722 a day.” READ MORE

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Episode 58: How the Sausage Is Made: In this week’s conversation with Karen Clark Cole, Jay Goltz, and Stephanie Stuckey, we once again unearth more questions than answers—mostly because there are rarely one-size-fits-all answers to the questions we discuss. This week, those questions include: Can you be friends with your employees? Can you work with your family? How are you coping with price increases in your supply chain? How do you handle shipping—especially given the example set by Amazon? Are refrigerated trucks really called “reefer” trucks? And what happens when employees question whether you should be doing business with a particular person or company? Plus: Jay turns 65 without a succession plan.

If you see a story that business owners should know about, hit reply and send me the link. If you got something out of this email, you can click the heart symbol, you can click the comment icon below, and you can share it with a friend. Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren