Joel Gandara came on a small boat to the U.S. during the Mariel Boatlifts in 1980 when over 120,000 Cubans fled the communist island in search of freedom. Joel was 4 and a half years old and came with his older brother and parents on that journey. After spending a few days in Miami the family went to the San Francisco Bay Area to join family and start their new life in the new country.
Growing up was rough for Joel and his family because the parents didn’t know the language and despite working very hard in full time jobs and small entrepreneurial ventures after work and on the weekends, money was not easy to come by. In the 4th grade, Joel realized that he would need to make his own money if he wanted to buy the toys he dreamed about so he began selling collectible stamps, trading cards, figurines and by high school he was selling candy bars as well as buying stuff in garage sales and selling them at flea markets.
Joel’s success has not come from a bloodline or a silver spoon, but rather from straight GRIT. Necessity is the mother of invention and Joel’s needs made him invent a living wherever possible.
Today, Joel owns and is the CEO of Morro Capital, a company that he recently formed to invest in up and coming companies. While Morro Capital is able to invest or acquire many types of businesses, their experience is strongest in apparel companies and ecommerce.