The following Q&A was completed as part of our conversational Commercial Real Estate FAQ Interview Series, we hope you find it helpful.
Investing time and effort into the technological side of managing an investment firm is important in a variety of ways in today’s digital age. Portal systems that allow investors to track their investments in real time helps to keep communication lines open while establishing trust in your company. Database systems that allow you to track interested potential investors allow for new communication lines to be opened. While too few investment firms dedicate the energy they should to technological advancement through software, those that do are seeing the success that it brings.
Richard Wilson: What software tools and technology or platforms have been key to your growth or helpful in managing all the details at your size?
Louie Soffner: Yeah, our company we use a wide variety of software and technology that obviously have lead to our success as an investment firm overall, but from an investor relations perspective we’ve really come to realize the importance of having a useful investor portal that our current investors can easily access and use to track their current investments with the Beach Company all in one place. And on the flipside, I think it’s equally important that we now have a platform that our prospective investors can access in order to view our investment offerings and determine if a partnership with our firm would be a good addition to their portfolio. Again, speaking mainly on what we’ve utilized for investor relations, we think that there’s 3 main components in our current investor portal that have lead to our firm’s growth and success. Those 3 things, I think first having an internal CRM component to track our investor communications, status, investor details, has really made our equity raise process much more efficient. At any time we’re able to track current and potential investor status to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to sustain an effective dialogue with our investors. I think that having a CRM component that is used daily allows us to make sure that we’re really connecting with our investors on a timely basis and tracking that communication all in one place, not only for myself but for our entire team to reference as needed.
Secondly, I think that the ability to create databases for our investment offerings has really been extremely beneficial. We’re able to quickly send out links to our databases that contain offering materials, legal documents, and data summaries for quick review by any interested parties, as opposed to mailing them or emailing them like we’ve done in the past. I think through our current investor portal we’re able to track who has logged in and reviewed those offering materials, and who may be seriously interested, and then in turn that allows us to open up new lines of communication to further discuss these opportunities with our company.
And then last I think having a secure portal where all of our investors can easily log in on their own time and track the status of their current investments has been invaluable. Instead of investors having to constantly call or email questions about the status of their investments, they’re able to get real time investment summaries and metrics when they log in to their portal. We have gotten nothing but positive feedback from our investors about how clean and accurate the information in their portal is and how quickly they can find and download documents, reports, and information regarding their investments. I’ll give a small plug here in that we’re fortunate enough to have all these components in one platform through Juniper Square, but I think that any investment manager that has any software that offers these features will find it easier to manage their deals and investor communication overall.
Richard: Right, right. Great, yeah, I think a lot of people are missing that especially at the scale they are practiced at the first 100 million in assets or so, they’re also usually missing you. They usually have not any one person focused on this role and that’s a big downfall, I think. They don’t take it seriously enough, and they may be real estate professionals and that’s why they started their real estate investment firm, which is a good thing, but because of that they love negotiating deals, traveling to walk the deals, and sometimes don’t dedicate enough energy to exactly what you’re doing there every day, so I appreciate that.