Atlas Real Estate Partners is a private, New York-based real estate investment firm focused on multifamily, student-housing, retail, and office assets throughout the United States, with local partnerships and satellite offices in each of their target markets. Atlas raises capital on a deal-by-deal basis from a large pool of high net worth investors, and has executed over 45 investments since being founded in 2009, with over $1B in assets under management.
By 2016, the Atlas investor base had grown to over 400 investors, with Atlas managing 1,200+ investor positions across 30+ investments. Atlas attributes part of this growth to their detailed investment memos and personalized quarterly reporting. However, as the investor base grew, the company found the administrative burden of delivering personalized reporting increasingly difficult to manage.
The fundraising process involved emails, PDFs, printing and scanning documents, and list after list tracked in an Excel spreadsheet. Similarly, investments were managed through a combination of email, spreadsheets and Word mail-merge documents. Quarterly reporting would typically take three full days per quarter, and investors in multiple projects would receive an individual report – and corresponding email – for each position they held.
Chris Sweeney, Controller for Atlas, stated, “It was cumbersome for us and a poor experience for investors. It was crazy that in 2016 this is how we, and most of the private real estate world, operated.”
Joe Stampone, VP of Investments, added, “If you were an investor in 10 deals, you would get 20 emails from us each quarter! Investors would inevitably respond with questions on the deal or requests for previous quarterly letters. This back and forth would take up a significant amount of time.”
Search for a Solution
Realizing the need for a solution to make their back-office and investor relations activities more efficient, Atlas evaluated various software products with three main criteria in mind:
1. Create a great experience for investors
2. Make the reporting and capital raising process more efficient and scalable
3. Find a software vendor they were comfortable partnering with for the long-term
Over a period of 24 months, Atlas tested every software provider they could find that claimed to have an offering for real estate, private equity, or hedge funds, but nothing met their criteria. Either the software wasn’t built for real estate, or didn’t have the features that would truly save Atlas time, or they worried that some software systems might degrade rather than enhance their investors’ experience. At one point Atlas attempted to even build their own software solution.
In early 2017, Atlas was introduced to Juniper Square through a trusted referral. From the first demo Atlas recognized the quality of the software and the depth to the features. After several more demos and reference calls, Atlas was confident Juniper Square could meet their needs.
“The other competitors looked good on paper, but when we saw demos we saw the clunkiness of the software. We saw a lot of repetition of tasks or the need to run parallel processes due to a lack of initial confidence in their system,” mentioned Sweeney. “Many competitors wanted us to onboard ourselves. The further down the road we went with a vendor, the less solid they seemed. With Juniper Square, it was the exact opposite.”
Atlas was able to work with the Juniper Square team to go live in less than 30 days, just in time to distribute K-1s to over 1,200 investor positions across 30 investments. This rapid pace of deployment far exceeded Atlas’ expectations, as they had informally thought the timeline was going to be 6-12 months, based on industry averages.
When Atlas made the K-1 forms available in their new investor portal, they received highly positive feedback from their investors. Stampone mentions, “We have heard from many investors that this is the best investment reporting software that they have ever seen, from any of the deals they have ever invested in. It’s simple, informative, and easy for them to use.”
In addition to using the system for reporting, Atlas has since completed five capital raises on Juniper Square, leveraging the system’s CRM, online subscriptions, and integrated data rooms to better interact with their current and prospective investors. As their business has scaled, the firm not only maintained, but further improved the quality of their services – all without adding headcount.
Stampone concludes, “Juniper Square has completely changed our view of the real estate syndication business. Being able to access flexible capital from a pool of HNW investors is our competitive advantage. Knowing we have the tools to do it efficiently provides us with the comfort we need to keep scaling our deal flow and investor base without the burden of scaling headcount to meet our evolving needs.”
Automate manual processes.
“The accounting and quarterly reporting process is much quicker. Now we rely on system generated reports within Juniper Square,” mentioned Sweeney. “Loading in the data and generating systemwide reports can be completed in just a few hours, not days.”
Fundraise more productively.
“Prior to Juniper Square, reaching investors in a systematic way for a raise was overly burdensome. Now we can easily segment our investor base to more intelligently target them for a new offering. It’s great to be able to efficiently get our offering into the hands of our prospective investors, and to get insight on who’s viewed what,” commented Stampone.
Sweeney added, “It’s great having a really clean offering page for a deal with photos, maps, presentations and documents available in one place.”
Protect sensitive data.
“We handle a lot of sensitive data related to the subscription, banking and tax and are always looking for better ways to securely transfer that information. We never want to trade convenience for security, and Juniper Square helped solve that for us,” said Stampone.
Joe Stampone shares his passion for real estate through his personal blog site, A Student of the Real Estate Game, where he shares his thoughts on real estate investing, entrepreneurship, and technology (read his review of Juniper Square).
For more information on how Juniper Square can help you scale your business, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.