Michael Wittmeyer parlayed his technical knowledge into a thriving business in the precious metals market. He’s got one of those amazing wunderkind stories: He built websites while in high school, used SEO to acquire customers, drove those customers to websites in exchange for commission payments, and then realized he could do the same in the precious metals market – owning the process from start to finish.
Born and raised in western New York in Allegany, Michael wasn’t a typical student. He played baseball and did “decently” in school. His parents are highly educated, with his dad being a mechanical engineer and his mom a professor. When Michael started making money by building sites and driving customers to various poker web sites, they were skeptical. He went the expected route of attending college.
While enrolled at Penn State, Michael sold his first business. He then used the same model of driving traffic to sites – but this time the target was precious metal sellers. After a short time, he realized he could buy and sell the gold, silver, copper and platinum himself, while retaining the tech side. He decided to drop out and go for it. “It was tough on my parents,” he said.
With the motivation to prove he could do it, Michael dove in. He had a partner and found investors to launch JM Bullion outside of Philadelphia. “I didn’t know anything about precious metals before. When I first started, we were unknowns. So we were sourcing inventory from another retailer who gave quantity discounts. We’d sell them at a slight markup. Now we are one of the largest, so we can source directly from the U.S. mint, Royal Canadian mint, Perth mint, etc. for government-backed coins. We also sell privately minted products that are usually gold and silver bars.”
In the early days of JM Bullion, Michael worked in Chicago with the customer-facing side of the business. His partner was at the official headquarters in Pennsylvania’s Amish country. When the partnership ended, finding new tech-savvy employees in Amish country was impossible. With 10 employees, Michael and his investors decided to move before they got too big to do it. They were searching for a state with no income tax and had some suppliers in Dallas. The choice was clear. “I’d never even been here and just moved here, sight unseen,” Michael explained. He found and joined EO Dallas in March 2019.
In 2021, the company will start minting and selling its own products. There has been so much demand for products this year that the supply chain was not reliable. They simply couldn’t get enough. Michael and his team decided to have more control and manufacture what they need. As Michael put it, “We have been paying markups to wholesalers and mints. Now we’re working on branding and marketing for us to make our own products in-house. It will be under a new brand that we control. I expect it to be up and running in about four months.”
They also moved in March 2020 to the Campbell Center, a series of buildings at Central Expressway and 635. “Seventy-five percent of our employees have never even seen the place,” Michael said, since COVID shut everything down and people began working remotely.
Every time there is a geopolitical shift or uncertainty, the demand for precious metals increases. It’s also a good hedge against inflation. Michael expects business to increase over the coming year. He sells actual gold and silver products, but will soon also sell digital products where people accumulate precious metals without actually holding the product themselves. They could eventually take the physical investment if they want. Crypto-currency is something Michael feels the younger generation really believes in, so this is a step towards marrying his business with that concept – but with an actual product behind it.
Michael’s motivation in the early days was to prove that he could make the business work. Now he simply enjoys working every day with his team. In his free time, he plays golf whenever he can. He also works out, reads, and travels. His family is still in the New York area, but he has a girlfriend in Dallas who is an orthopedic nurse.
With Michael only being in EO before the big COVID shut down, he’s been most active in his Forum. Ideally, we’ll all get to see Michael and meet in person soon!