I wanted to cry.

I lost my entire business.

Ratner’s Deli, LLC was one of the hottest restaurants and bars in New York City.

And I was about to open one in Los Angeles.

And then, we were sued.

A group of residents known for their unfair legal settlements wanted to discuss the project.

I missed our meeting.

This led to a bloodthirsty battle.

The weapons: money, lawyers, and higher courts.

This war cost my investor hundreds of thousands of dollars.

After five years of fighting, we were on the brink of giving up.

And then, an angel came to the rescue: Victor De La Cruz.

He was tired of small business owners getting beat up by bullies in court.

And took on our case pro bono.

With his help, I got the permits and liquor license to open Ratner’s Deli, LLC.

But because of the lawsuit, I no longer had the money to open.

I sold my permits.

As an entrepreneur, I know that losses are devastating.

But I also know that each one holds a lesson.

My losses gave me a better education than a Yale Law degree.

Losing the restaurant led me into to tech where I am a CEO of three companies.

One day you’ll look back and realize:

The most painful moments got you to exactly where you needed to be.

Enjoy the highs.

Ride the lows.

And no matter what – keep grinding.


CEO and Co-founder of Neon Roots Ben Lee is the co-founder and CEO of Neon Roots, a digital development agency with a mission to destroy the development model and rebuild it from the ground up. After a brief correspondence with Fidel Castro at age nine, Ben decided to start doing things his own way, going from busboy to club manager at a world-class nightclub before he turned 18. Since then, Ben has founded or taken a leading role in 5 businesses in everything from software development to food and entertainment.