Customer Success Story
FD Stonewater is a Washington, D.C. based real estate investment, development, brokerage, and advisory firm. They have six institutional real estate investment funds, and have acquired over five million square feet of assets, both as principal and in conjunction with institutional partners. In addition to providing construction management services, the firm has completed over one million square feet of development projects for federal and commercial tenants.
Historically FD Stonewater worked with just one or up to several large institutional investors per project. As they began to diversify their capital base to include more individual investors - sometimes approaching 100 per investment - it became clear that their existing processes were not going to effectively serve a large investor base. They sought a solution that would scale with their growth, with the ability to manage investor contacts, subscriptions, distributions and investor communications.
Owen Burke, Asset Manager at FD Stonewater, surveyed the market of investment management technology solutions. He initially selected an alternative assets software provider with a lightly customized solution for real estate. The solution delivered some of the functionality he needed, like an investor portal with basic information on investments, but other important features he was promised never materialized.
“There were real usability problems for our investors, and the system was also challenging for us to manage,” said Burke. “When we bought the product we were promised that features were being developed to support the fundraising process, and to manage subscriptions online through the investor portal. After a year, there was no progress on those features, and real estate customizations were never added. We decided we needed to cut our losses and find a replacement.”
Search for a Solution
“Given our disappointment in the first provider, we realized that solving our immediate need wasn’t enough,” said Jeff Toporek, FD Stonewater Principal. “We needed to find a partner who would also scale to meet our future needs. We didn’t want to go through this again.”
The first time he saw Juniper Square, he was immediately struck by the ease of use. Toporek noted, “Everything is very intuitive with Juniper Square. It works exactly how you would expect it to work. It’s night and day compared to other systems in the market.”
He continued, “We were looking for the holy grail of back office support for investor reporting, distribution dissemination and performance tracking. And we wanted a robust front end that could manage our growing prospect list to make fundraising more efficient. We found all that in Juniper Square.”
Given his previous experience, Toporek appreciated the speed and consistency of Juniper Square development. “The pace of enhancements and new feature releases is amazing. The system was already the most comprehensive in the market, and they continue to innovate with genuinely useful tools. Their focus on real estate and attentiveness to their users is unique.”
Advice for Juniper Square vs. Alternatives
Toporek advised his peers to pay close attention to the onboarding process of their software. “With our first provider, they put the entire configuration exercise on us. Given the complexity of their system, it took over six months to get operational.”
“With Juniper Square,” he added, “the configuration was structured in a way that made perfect sense for real estate, and required minimal work from us. It took us two weeks to gather up all of our data, and then another two weeks for Juniper Square to configure our workspace. We were up and running in a month.”
Burke continued, “It’s easy to get caught up in what salespeople promise. Make sure to reference check that the feature really works as advertised for real-world customers. And definitely be wary of promises of future releases for critical functionality.”
Burke concluded, “I can accelerate the diligence process for my peers. I’ve surveyed the market, and Juniper Square is the obvious choice.”
Superior investor experience.
“Investors can see both current investments and their entire investment history with us in a sophisticated, easy to use portal. The response from investors has been overwhelmingly positive,” commented Toporek.
Front and back office efficiency.
“Juniper Square completely integrates with our email system, which has made our investor correspondence much more efficient,” noted Burke. “Data is well organized and follows the life of a deal, from prospecting to subscriptions to distributions. It even helps us manage investor payments via ACH, all of which saves us significant time.”
Time to value.
“The data migration and initial training in Juniper Square was incredibly fast. We were up and running in a month, a fraction of the time and effort required from the other provider. And given the intuitive design of the software, it was very easy to get productive,” concluded Toporek.