Watch full interview on video:
Ronnie Madra is the co-founder of the Butter Group which has an extensive portfolio of brands including legendary nightclubs 1OAK and Up and Down.
They’ve hosted after-parties for events like the Oscars, Met Gala & Cannes Film Festival attracting A-List celebrities along the way. Alongside business partner, Richie Akiva, they’ve developed properties in NYC, LA, Las Vegas, Tokyo, Dubai & Maldives – building one of the leading food & beverage (F&B) brands around.
However, after 25+ years in nightlife – Ronnie developed a severe hearing issue which causes constant ringing in his ears. To address this issue for the 1.1bil people who will develop hearing issues in their lifetime – he created, EAROS
, an in-ear protection system & an acoustical filter.
Ronnie shared stories he has never shared before. He opens up about growing up on a coconut plantation in Guyana, landing in NYC as a minority amongst minorities, personal stories about dealing with bullies as a kid, running into trouble with a gang & landing on his feet into nightlife in NYC.
FIVE THINGS TO LISTEN OUT FOR:
Childhood – growing up with no electricity in Guyana, landing in NYC and how his early experiences shaped his outlook
Fitting in & dealing with a bully – a raw and honest chat about dealing with bullies, trying to fit in and finding the confidence to be yourself.
Building a name – alongside Richie Akiva, Ronnie has built a name for himself in the nightclub space, attracting A-List celebrities like Jay Z, Pharrell, Rihanna, Kate Hudson, Kanye, Gigi Hadid, Virgil and others to their venues. We go into all the details of how they started and built a name for themselves.
Coming up with business ideas & developing a product – scratching his own itch, why he started EAROS, ways you can think about finding inspiration for ideas and knowing how to take action.
Building Brand & Service – learning from his experience in creating a brand, product development, making people feel safe.
- 2:34 – What Ronnie is known for: 1OAK, Butter Group & Earos
- 5:25 – Scale of their nightclubs & restaurants
- 7:42 – Growing up on a coconut plantation in Guyana
- 11:16 – Landing in Queens, NYC
- 13:15 – Teenage Ronnie
- 13:55 – Dealing with bullies
- 19:38 – Early signs of entrepreneurship
- 23:02 – Listening to all types of music and wanting to fit in
- 26:32 – Becoming comfortable not fitting in
- 31:26 – What lead to 1OAK being formed? Finding an A-Team.
- 36:15 – Starting 1OAK with Richie Akiva & early investments
- 38:06 – “Pioneers of the pop-up”
- 41:40 – How to choose partnerships
- 44:24 – What is next for 1Oak?
- 47:40 – Attracting A-list celebrities
- 51:20 – New venture – Earos
- 55:10 – Developing hearing issues – tinnitus
- 58:52 – Idea and need for a new type of ear protection
- 60:50 – Going beyond looking like a hearing aid
- 66:48 – The process of developing a new product
- 69:45 – Sound vs. noise
- 71:35 – The process of reaching out to great people through Linkedin
- 75:58 – Working day vs. night
- 79:44 – Pitching the idea to investors
- 85:16 – When do you know you’re finished?
- 87:06 – 20 years into the future
- 91:10 – Closing remarks