Lucas Asher is an entrepreneur on the rise. With a major following on Instagram, he is the founder of Revo, a music sharing app, and part of a band called Faulkner. In a YouTube video Asher says that he is also an investor in Spotify and Palantir. He is also an admirer of Tesla CEO Elon Musk and according to his Instagram bio, he is also an investor in the SpaceX project.
Although Asher has invested in multiple companies, he is also the founder and co-CEO of Metals.com, the other being Simon Batashvili, according to court documents and business associates. The company is based in Beverly Hills, selling overpriced gold and silver to seniors, using sales pitches surrounding imminent economic crisis, as reported by Quartz.
However, the spokesperson of Metals.com, David Rubenstein, believes the company is more than a sales operation center. “We’re not really a gold and silver company, we’re a technology company,” said Rubenstein. He added the company uses complex machine learning algorithms to estimate the best price for the metals.
Before starting Metals.com with Simon Batashvili, Asher worked as a broker at International Bullion Exchange in Malibu California, selling gold. The company sued both men in 2014 for stealing their client list. However, the case was dismissed.
Asher also helped co-found HotSwap.com an e-commerce website for cars, using the name ‘Luke Thomas’. The company was reportedly backed by Steve Wozniak, the Apple co-founder. HotSwap.com was talked about a lot on media but later fell apart and failed to make it big. Web domain registrations for HotSwap.com and other sites obtained from DomainTools Iris Database, show Asher using the same email and mailing address but with different names like Lucas Asher, Luke Erb, and Luke Thomas.
Who Is The Real Lucas Asher?
In the lawsuit between International Bullion Exchange and Asher, there were other names listed that had been used by Asher in the past, including Luke Emmanuel, Luke Francis, Michael Walker, and Henry Davis.
A former business associate of Metals.com said the staff also uses pseudonyms. Customers Stephen Matteo and Richard Craighead spoke to different salesmen, Luke McCain and Deric Scott. But both were the same man, Deric Ned, according to the former business associate and an email that was reviewed by Quartz. Both Luke McCain and Deric Scott were supposedly using Deric Ned’s email address.
David Rubenstein, Metals.com’s spokesperson, said, “Everyone uses their real name”. However, Quartz was not able to confirm that anyone by the name of David Rubenstein worked at the company. When three people who worked for Asher heard the recording, they all said the voice sounded like Asher.
Metals.com’s Environment And Traditions
“There is no shortage of money on this planet; There is a shortage of courage; Let’s crush every obstacle!” wrote Asher in a post with a quote from the real-estate guru, Grant Cardone. According to a telegram acquired by Quartz, Asher was the pep talk guy for the sales team.
One former salesperson talked about how there would be morning meetings about how to approach sales. “Think Wolf of Wall Street. These meetings are just like that except without the coke and hookers.”
The telegram also mentioned ‘cash grabs’ as a way to motivate the sales team. A salesperson who met the special targets set for him would get the chance to grab as many bills from a machine that blew bills. A former salesperson said the machine would blow real money sometimes even $100 bills.
Rubenstein confirmed that there was a machine of sorts but denied the money it contained to be real.
How To Approach Sales
A former salesperson said Asher would tell them to start their calls with a political narrative. This was important to get the customer to connect with them and trust them.
The salesperson also told how sales pitches were written beforehand and given to all the salesmen. One script was shown to Quartz, “I’m part of a conservative team… we help Fox News / Hannity / Limbaugh / Levin”. Fox News denied any association with Metals.com
Another script took a more religious approach: “I don’t know what your religious beliefs are, but I’m Christian. Did you know that there are 700 references to gold and silver in the bible?”.
The sales were structured around frightening their customers. A former salesperson said, “Fear sells”. It was also important that the customers were near retirement. He explained how the idea was to play on the fear of the economy crashing and going into recession again like it did in 2008.
David Rubenstein retains that the company sells to people of all ages. Full report available on Quartz.