leveraging-technology-to-create-a-seamless-investor-experience

Leveraging Technology to Create a Seamless Investor Experience

“You know me, I can be a bit cantankerous. I always have something to complain about. I don’t think I can do this with this investor platform. It is the best interface I’ve ever experienced. It has all the bells and whistles and contains every piece of information an investor could ever want. Kudos to you and your team.”

Leveraging Technology to Create a Seamless Investor Experience

“You know me, I can be a bit cantankerous. I always have something to complain about. I don’t think I can do this with this investor platform. It is the best interface I’ve ever experienced. It has all the bells and whistles and contains every piece of information an investor could ever want. Kudos to you and your team.”

This was sent to our Founder, Brian Adams, right after launching our investor portal with Juniper Square. And it’s exactly what we continue to strive for – a simple and efficient investment process.

Since then, we’ve had investors mention the ease of the process; So easy that they’ve been able to review a new investment opportunity, mid-flight, and decide to participate in the deal.

leveraging-technology-to-create-a-seamless-investor-experience-2
Below you’ll learn more about how we’re leveraging new technology, like Juniper Square, to create a seamless investor experience.

The Start of our Process

When we first got our start, we raised blind pool commingled funds. A few years later, we transitioned to doing purely deal-by-deal syndication, working with accredited but non-institutional investors. Becoming a pure play syndication platform started our search for a more efficient way to streamline the investment process.

“It was one of the biggest hindrances in terms of running the company—and one of the most important in terms of driving its success,” Adams says. “It wasn’t until I sat down and really listened to what my investor base wanted that I was able to grow the company. For a long time, I was just doing what I thought was interesting or what I thought the right thing to do with the company was. Once I started hearing my investors and understanding what they wanted their experience to look and feel like—down to the smallest minutiae—that’s what really allowed us to scale.”

Once we identified the need to amp up our investor experience, one of the first things we did was send out an RFP looking for the best investor relations platform out there. And that’s how we connected with Juniper Square.

Evaluating Solutions

To take that next step forward, Adams knew he needed to find a solution that would allow us to deepen relationships with existing investors, but also broaden the investor network.

“We’re focused on the experience from the moment an investor initially connects with us—whether that’s on LinkedIn, or they hear one of us on a podcast, or visit our website, or sign up for our newsletter—until they come in on a specific opportunity and as long as they invest with us. We want to make sure that we’re being empathetic to their needs, their requirements, and, quite frankly, their time every step of the way.”

Echoing Adams, COO Jarrod Arnold said, “We’re on a mission to continually improve the investor experience. We want to ensure that the information we’re putting out is top notch. To do that, we’re focused on easing common investor pain points, including making it easier to communicate with us, execute documents, access reporting, and interact with and understand the investment information that we’re providing.”

“We talked to every GP and sponsor in our networks and everyone came back with the same recommendation: Juniper Square was best in class,” Brian says. “We did our homework and realized that Juniper Square was the way to go.”

The Results

“Before Juniper Square, we had 1,500 total contacts, and that was really the maximum we could handle from a deal standpoint because we were sending out materials manually,” Arnold explains. “Today, we have more than 5,000 people on our distribution list, and we have the ability to serve many more while still keeping the quality consistent and representative of our brand.”

Efficiency

“Juniper Square allows us to tell our story efficiently and effectively to more investors,” Adams says. “At this point, we can easily send out and track thousands of emails on any given opportunity, which has helped us to better understand what investors want to know most. With a single email, we can address common questions, outline a deal’s pros and cons, include a multimedia experience with drone footage, and provide necessary diligence materials. We’ve had investors on a transatlantic flight receive an email about one of our opportunities, spend a few minutes researching it, and decide mid-flight to participate in a deal. How efficient is that, right? Our investors’ time is valuable, so it’s imperative in this day and age that they’re able to understand the investment, underwrite it on their own time, and reserve the allocation they want. Juniper Square allows us to consistently create an experience that makes it easier for our investors to do that, whenever and wherever they are.”

Investor-focused

In addition to aiding in the decision-making process, Juniper Square has also helped us meet and exceed investor expectations.

“Investors consume information differently today,” Adams explains. “Some people want an in-depth report, others just want to look at the monthly financials, and some want to see and experience an opportunity before they invest. Providing a multi-pronged experience and having it in one place is key. We use multimedia to engage our investors and create better reporting, which just wouldn’t have been possible without Juniper Square. We can provide insightful video content that includes commentary from local third-party property managers and leasing brokers as well as our in-house asset managers to provide details on what’s happening at an asset. We also can present everything on one dashboard so an investor with five or 10 opportunities with us can easily understand how their portfolio or a specific asset has performed month over month or quarter over quarter.Increasingly, we’re seeing investors share this information with financial advisors, tax professionals, and family office executives to establish documentation about what’s happening with their investments.

Before, compiling this sort of information was a huge drag on us and we could only provide it for quarterly board meetings or when an investor was doing an in-house assessment. Now we can direct them to Juniper Square, they can download the information they need, and consume it any way they want. That helps our investors feel more informed and takes a lot off our plate as well.”

Simple and Secure Reporting

Juniper Square has not only helped us create a more modern investor experience, it’s helped make day-to-day operations easier, too.

“Distributions are a very painstaking process,” Arnold says. Or at least they were. “Before, we were doing quarterly distributions because that’s all our internal team could handle—and even that was a lot. Juniper Square has allowed us to streamline operations so we can make distributions monthly and we’re able to knock them out in less than a day—sometimes within a couple of hours. It’s sped up our processes quite considerably in terms of our ability to provide reporting and regular communications. And it’s allowed us to be more transparent, too—everything looks the same and can be found in the same place. I think investors appreciate that.”

“I think another thing that has surprised us all is how much more efficient Juniper Square has made our subscription process,” Arnold says. “We were focused on reporting and communications, not necessarily speeding up the subscription process. But Juniper Square has allowed us to do that, too. New investors are able to fill out documents and provide pertinent information in less than five minutes. Current investors can check information to make sure it is correct in less than a minute. Before we were spending much of our time tracking down forms. With Juniper Square, we’ve been able to exponentially speed up the time it takes to process subscriptions.”

It’s not just subscriptions, Arnold says Juniper Square has also improved the security and deliverability of K1s. “One of the first things Brian mentioned to me when I joined Excelsior is that, if you want to hear from your investors, be late with K1s. It’s very important information that needs to be done securely, and a lot of information goes out the door at one time. Before Juniper Square, we sent out K1s on a manual basis. It was a very painstaking process that took three weeks or more. Now, we’re able to upload all the information to the correct portal, review it, and send it in less than 30 minutes. And that’s important for us.”

“When I think about the impact that Juniper Square has had on Excelsior’s business, I think about one investor in particular,” Adams says. “He’s an older gentleman, a very savvy investor who has participated in countless real estate investments. As I’ve mentioned before, our prior processes were not best in class, and they left a lot to be desired in terms of communication, timely reporting, and transparency. When we implemented Juniper Square, he was one of the first people to log in and look at his account. Afterwards, he wrote a note saying: ‘You know me, I can be a bit cantankerous. I always have something to complain about. I don’t think I can do this with this investor platform. It is the best interface I’ve ever experienced. It has all the bells and whistles and contains every piece of information an investor could ever want. Kudos to you and your team.’ We have Juniper Square to thank for satisfied investors like that.”

To read the full case study we did with Juniper Square, visit their website here.

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