Raphael Vallier is the founder and senior partner of Greenwood Syndicates, focusing on asset management and business-to-business relationships for the organization. In his conversation with Juniper Square, he shares how the right software and systems help firms of all sizes appeal to investors by delivering a best-in-class experience.
Tell us about Greenwood and your investment thesis.
Our main focus is affordable housing. The affordable housing sector has always done well, even during downturns, because people always need a place to live. There is high demand for affordable housing in almost every major metro area, but nowhere near enough supply. In Houston, for instance, for every hundred qualified buyers, there are only 19 available homes. We ultimately partnered with the city to develop more affordable housing and are looking to expand our model to more cities.
What does your five-year plan look like?
We’re currently focused on delivering a compelling product for retail investors and growing our AUM. Our model is based on knowing what cash flow your average accredited investor looks for. We want to give them a strong income base and a shorter hold period.
But our long-term goal is to create a fund that appeals to institutional investors as well. To do that, we need to diversify our geographic footprint—I’m already talking with several cities about our affordable housing model—and build a best-in-class platform that will grow with us and give institutional investors the experience they expect.
We already have a great vehicle. Now, we need to build out our network of service providers, systems, and software so that when those institutions start their due diligence, we check all the boxes.
How will the right systems help Greenwood appeal to institutional investors?
Any software we use represents us—which is one of the reasons we switched to Juniper Square. With our old platform, we struggled with some of the reporting and payment features not living up to our expectations. It wasn’t as investor-friendly as we knew it needed to be.
A few months after switching to Juniper Square, we shared the investor portal as part of our presentation to our first preferred investor, and he told us, “I understand you guys are small, but you don't feel small.” That's the difference and goes a long way in building trust.
To attract institutional investors, we need to look and act more like a Fidelity-sized institution. By incorporating the Juniper Square software into our pitches, we can make potential investors more comfortable and add some extra credibility to our offering. And that little bit of credibility goes a long way in raising capital.
What’s next for Greenwood?
We know we’re small right now, but we also know the demand for more affordable housing exists nationwide. Everyone is underserved because it’s not a property type many developers focus on. I'm talking with several mayors interested in taking our Houston model and piloting it in their cities.
I’m also doing as much as possible to ensure we do things the right way as we grow. Whether it’s working with a new law firm or CPA that specializes in funds, expanding our relationship with Juniper Square, or taking ongoing education courses to develop my own knowledge, I’m always looking for ways to grow Greenwood smartly. We won’t ever be too proud to reach out to someone and say, Hey, I want to learn from you.