Ardy Khavari: The Young and Relentless Achiever

The age might just be a number, but it is a key factor in how someone perceives you. More often than not young people are considered naïve and inexperienced when it comes to matters of business, money, and taking key decisions of life. What is not considered in the first place is the kind of environment that person grew up in or the kind of life he/she has spent till then. Because it is our life experiences and not just age that determines how well we have understood life.


When Ardy Khavari showed interest in starting his venture at the age of 18, people were reluctant to take him seriously. After all, he was very young. What they didn’t know, is that he grew up in a generational entrepreneurial family in which business trade secrets and insights accumulated over decades and centuries were passed on to him at that tender age. He was ahead of his age in terms of business knowledge but had to constantly overcome the idea that he was too young to be a leader.


Defying the Norms


Keeping speculations aside, Mr. Khavari began his business career in the travel industry in 2005. Within three years he grew the business into one of the largest wholesale and retail travel agencies in Canada, serving 11 retail locations and supplying wholesale tickets to more than 25 agencies across Canada. With its clientele made up of prominent high-net-worth individuals and corporations, the agency earned the notable achievement of becoming one of the first western travel agencies to offer fully accommodated tours to Dubai.


Mr. Khavari’s frequent travels and interactions with UAE businesses and contacts led him to his next venture in 2007, a successful Dubai-based trading company specializing in construction materials. Under his leadership, the business achieved approximately USD$250 million in recurring annual turnover.


In 2009, Mr. Khavari began facilitating financings for several large real estate developments targeting the luxury condominium market in Toronto. The enterprise has evolved into an operation generating tens of millions of dollars in equity financing for such projects. He continues to move the needle in the real estate business with several projects currently underway.


A New Beginning


In 2018, Mr. Khavari established the 8608 Capital Group as a foremost family investment office. Its primary business is managing its own principal capital, and in doing so, it provides funding solutions for mid-market businesses and landowners globally, such as private loans and equity capital, similar to a traditional merchant bank. The Group also provides ancillary services to their extended family, friends, and business associates in the areas of financial management and capital structuring. “In a sense, we are our own clients, we focus on diversification from an investment perspective and a structuring perspective. We ensure we first set guardrails that protect capital – focus on hard assets and businesses associated with hard assets. We then focus on how best to structure financial affairs to achieve the highest possible efficiency,” explains Mr. Khavari.


In our life, it is important to have patience. We don’t want everything on a fast track, we don’t want to build an empire in one day, or become a millionaire overnight. A solid, credible operation, and lifestyle, takes time to build


8608 Capital Group employs complex holding structures that mitigate certain risks as well as tax overlays to ensure they are not only thinking about investment returns but also after-tax returns. It is this holistic approach that the family office clients benefit from. The Group also provides complex financial consulting services to its family office clients. This may range from financial and tax planning to capital structuring and governance. Through its connected companies, the Group provides other services as well. These include securities investment advisory, real estate development, real estate asset management, and site-level property management to name a few.


Staying Ahead of Competition


For business success, Mr. Khavari believes that it’s always important to hear out clients and their needs, their future and short-term goals, and help to drive them to what they are looking to achieve. In one sentence, the focus should be on a personal touch and deep relationships. 8608 Capital Group takes on only a very small number of clients in order to really give them the attention they need. The clients come from successful entrepreneurial backgrounds themselves. They are sophisticated in their own right. And their needs are complex as a result of their often generational wealth. For that reason, Mr. Khavari and the team identify with themselves because they are also in the same boat as the clients. “We understand their needs and concerns, we live it ourselves, and we take the time to build real deep lifelong relationships,” adds Mr. Khavari.


Living the Entrepreneur Life


While he had a natural flair for business and entrepreneurial ventures, Mr. Khavari had his own shares of hiccups in the initial years. He learned the hard way that loyalty and trust are extremely important. People don’t always have your best interests at heart. Sometimes they have ulterior motives. As a result of those past experiences, he keeps the Capital Group tightly knit and works only with those the team truly trusts. Those experiences are also reflected in many of the group’s governance policies. “We ‘close doors’ so to speak, doors that if left open, allow for risk and potentially bad things to happen,” explains Mr. Khavari.


Time management was also critical. Naturally, Mr. Khavari has always been a very hands-on person. He would take on so much, at times he felt he wish he could clone himself because there just weren’t enough hours in the day. “To be honest, this one is still challenging,” jokes Ardy. Over the years, he has learned to appreciate the value of proper scheduling, making sure he is also taking care of himself through exercise, family time, and meditation.


Patience, he thinks is one key virtue an entrepreneur must possess. “In our life, it is important to have patience. We don’t want everything on a fast track, we don’t want to build an empire in one day, or become a millionaire overnight. A solid, credible operation, and lifestyle, takes time to build,” says Ardy. In this view, life is a marathon rather than a sprint. It requires dedication, discipline, and a long-term view. Taking a step back to think about the big picture is good. One doesn’t need to rush. Focus, plan, have patience and discipline and the world will be your oyster.


Looking Forward to Expansion


Mr. Khavari’s business goals are to continue to build his integrated platform. 8608 Capital Group owns several businesses that together serve its family office and clients. They are vertically integrated with certain areas but want to expand the number of verticals over time.

They also do a lot of philanthropy. They work relentlessly to help certain causes such as the fight against hunger, fight against hate towards certain ethnic groups, and others. For example, they worked closely in an organization called “Full Table Project” where they place free canned foods and nonperishable foods at tables in less affluent neighborhoods across Toronto. With that project, the goal is to be able to provide a “full dinner table” to those who need it.


“No matter how busy we have been, we always make time for Neo’s Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization, proudly working with various groups across the globe to support numerous charitable causes. The Foundation works by locating credible, well-managed charities and charitable causes/endeavors throughout the world which possess ideals in line with our own, then sponsoring and arranging donations for them through our extensive network of large companies and high net-worth clients,” concludes Mr. Khavari.

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