For the vast majority of real estate investment management firms, growth is a top priority year after year. It’s imperative not only because of the obvious benefits to the business and the bottom line, but because growth enables other opportunities, like attracting and retaining top talent and reaching a broader group of investors. That’s why many of the nearly 90% of managers planning to raise more capital in 2021 say they would like to accelerate their growth via faster and more efficient fundraising.
Fix your fundraising
Unfortunately, while many managers strive to achieve growth by delivering the seamless fundraising experience that investors expect, things don’t always go as planned. Oftentimes, there is lots of paper going back and forth, which leads to missing documents, delays, and other roadblocks along the way.
In today’s competitive CRE landscape, those types of missteps are unacceptable. CRE firms are vying for the same investors, so investors have plenty of choice and they are demanding more. They expect detailed investment information, proactive communications, transparent reporting, and seamless exchanges with their real estate investment managers.
If you want to compete for investors’ mindshare and dollars, you need to do things differently. Successful fundraising will be highly dependent on your firm’s ability to differentiate and deliver.
Focus on investors first
The key to both standing out and fundraising faster and more efficiently is to develop stronger investor relationships. These relationships take time to build and can be fragile or fleeting so it’s important to get things right. One surefire way to do this is to create an outstanding investor experience.
Joe Stampone, VP of Investments at Atlas Real Estate, says that “reaching investors used to be overly burdensome.” Technology allowed them to get a better understanding of their investors. “Prior to Juniper Square, we didn’t have a systematic way to go out for a raise,” Joe says. “Now we can easily segment our investor base to more intelligently target them for a new offering. It’s great to market an offering, and to get insight on who’s viewed it.”
Creating a better investor experience helped Atlas to fundraise more productively. Stampone concludes, “Juniper Square completely changed our business. Being able to access flexible capital from a pool of high-net-worth 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.” In spite of the obvious benefits technology offers, a majority of CRE investment managers rely on inefficient tools and processes. A recent Altus CRE Innovation Report found that 60% still use spreadsheets to manage investor communication, and they spend an estimated quarter of their time managing and organizing data for investors. When data is siloed across spreadsheets, it’s harder to maximize efficiencies, the risk of human error increases, it’s more difficult to see and leverage data-driven insights, and there’s less time to focus on your investors’ experience.
What is an outstanding investor experience?
It’s less about the what than the how. How are your systems connected? How do your investors receive your information? Is the experience seamless? Can you easily address questions or requests for information? Do you proactively send insightful investment updates? To achieve fundraising success, firms need to optimize outreach efforts and how investors receive documents and agreements, how they manage communications around deal announcements, and how they make performance data available to investors.
It’s all about providing the best experience possible so investors want to do more deals. Firms that are as transparent as possible, tailor communications, and use every chance to engage investors and provide added value will attract more clients and build more successful relationships. Engaged investors are satisfied investors. Satisfied investors drive more productive partnerships. Over time, this leads to more repeat investments, more referrals, and more effective fundraising overall.
Technology is the key to faster, more efficient fundraising
The best way to achieve operational efficiencies and keep investors satisfied is to adopt technology-enabled services and solutions. It automates manual processes and gives Investor Relations and Fundraising teams more time to focus on what matters — investors.
Best-in-class firms rely on technology solutions like an industry-specific CRM platform to stay on top of relationships and manage them proactively and a secure investor portal to share reports, investment information, and data.
Thanks to Juniper Square technology services and solutions, there are ways to address the inefficiencies in the fundraising process and make it a better experience for real estate managers and investors alike. Our modern, digital infrastructure allows CRE firms to scale more quickly and free up time spent on tedious administrative tasks so they can focus on the things that matter, like acquiring more real estate, maintaining properties, managing investments, and building deeper relationships with new and existing investors. Our best-in-class investor portal allows sponsors to provide on-demand access to investors and timely, tailored communications, making it easier for investors to learn about potential investments and sign and securely send required subscription documents. Our platform also offers other features that can streamline the document-signing process and eliminate paper, so working with your investors is simple, easy, and efficient.
Chris Powers, Founder & CEO at Fort Capital, summed up how using Juniper Square’s technology reduced the burden of raising and managing capital for his firm, “It’s allowed us to automate a number of formerly manual and tedious processes when it comes to fundraising and subscriptions. It’s been a remarkable time saver for our team during a period of rapid growth. We’ve increased productivity around 50%.”
What does that productivity increase look like? Well, Chris recently tweeted that “the first time I raised $1 million (12 years ago), it took two months and a lot of “no’s” before completing the raise.” This year, his firm raised $4.2 million in two hours.
Turn to trusted partners
ACRE Management took things a step further and made Juniper Square a seamless extension of their team, outsourcing subscription-related tasks to our experienced and dedicated Administration Services group so they could focus on what they do best — raising more capital.
Jeff Goldstein, ACRE’s Director of Finance, explained why they made the move, “Raising money is hard. It takes countless phone calls, emails back and forth, reference checks, and the very last step — where someone fills out the subscription doc correctly and sends it back along with all their KYC — is often the most difficult and takes the longest. So, for us, having an integrated system was key. The combined software and service experience is just more effective.”
Get results, fast
Technology enables seamless investor relations. It shows investors that you are paying attention to their needs. It allows you to provide better communications and proactively deliver value. It drives satisfaction. And our 2020 Commercial Real Estate Investor Sentiment research shows that firms that provided a superior investor experience through technology over the past year have outperformed their peers.
But, most importantly for those who are looking to improve their fundraising, it positions your firm to be more likely to get a “yes” to that next fundraising opportunity.
Tyson Hammer Strandberg, Director of Client Relations at Bell Partners Inc., summed up what faster fundraising meant to their firm, “Juniper Square helped us raise $100 million in 30 days, transforming what used to take us six months into a stress-free, efficient process.”
Get started on your journey to fundraising success
We’re here to help you transition to a modern, digital fundraising process. Like any journey, you’ll need to prepare. We can evaluate your needs and your current use of technology to lay out a digital plan so you can operate your business more efficiently and deliver a fundraising strategy that works. The Juniper Square team is here to help, so take the first step and let the journey to faster, more efficient fundraising begin.