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The bizarre phone call that made $35 million

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the second episode of the season. Watch the full episode here

If you scroll down on mining magnate Tolga Kumova’s Instagram account you’ll see a simple quote:

“You’re always one decision away from a totally different life.”

Now go back a decade. In another lifetime, mining magnate Tolga Kumova, who now boasts a net worth of roughly $95 million, cut his teeth as an assistant stockbroker with fire in his belly and the world in his palm.

“Nothing or no one was going to stop me. I was going to make [my clients] a lot of money,” Kumova told Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Sarah O’Carroll. [Watch the full show here]

But there was one decision – one deal – that nearly broke him. As a 30-year-old assistant stock broker, Kumova had no idea what he was walking into and the money he would land.

“I had a client of mine call me up and tell me that apparently I was doing a deal. I was going to raise money for a junior exploration company based in WA, and we’re going to look for gold.”

But Kumova was nonplussed and thought:  “What’s this guy on? I don’t know what he’s talking about. I don’t know what this company is.’”

With no idea what his client was talking about, Kumova rang his CEO at the time, someone that Kumova still attributes as one of the most influential people in his life.

“‘Tolga, you’re going to Perth tomorrow…‘You’re going to do this deal,” Kumova recalled his CEO saying. “So I was like, ‘All right, okay.’”

But the deal almost didn’t happen. The day that Kumova was due to fly to Perth, it was raining “cats and dogs”, the traffic was a nightmare and he missed his flight.

He decided not to bother flying to Perth as he was already doing really well, “trading like hell for clients” and making great commissions. So he rang his CEO (Alan) and told him he’d missed the flight and was heading back to the office to keep making him money.

It didn’t go down well.

“He screams down the phone to my ear, ‘Get out and get on the next plane.’ And he’s South African, and I’ll keep the profanities out,” Kumova jokes. “He has a real thick accent and it scared me. I was 30 years old.”

It was the phone call that would be worth $35 million. Kumova got out of the taxi, walked back up the ramp in the rain, bought another ticket, and hopped on a plane.

(Source: Instagram/@tolga_kumova)

He made it to Perth and did the initial public offering (IPO) for the company, Doray Minerals, which would go on to be the number one performing IPO in 2009-10.

“It was listed at 20 cents, went to $1.60 I think we raised them $35 million in the process.”

It was the turnaround of the decade. “I went from not going to do it, not gonna get on the plane, not knowing when this transaction was happening, to then being behind the number one IPO in that year.”

It would be the first transaction of many more to come – but the first is always the most special.

“That transaction, the one I was talking about, that felt like a fortune. That was amazing. I was sitting there thinking, ‘This is incredible. Wow.’ And we got very lucky and we found gold.”

And the rest, as they say, is history.

The New Investors video series brought to you by Yahoo Finance reveals the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and business people in Australia today. This is the second episode of the season.