She’s not that into you, dude

posted in: Crowdfunding | 1

To the man whose name may or may not be Joe, my inspiration for this article

Me: “You should sign up for GroundBreaker, it’s a great way to connect directly with investors, stay in touch with them, let them know about your deals, and even close financing rounds online directly with them.”

Joe: “That’s great, but I would still need to handle a portion of my closing offline, simultaneously with the online closing at GroundBreaker, because I don’t want to expose my network to competing offers on your site.”

Reminds me of the guy who locked his hot wife in the basement, just to keep her away from other dudes…

Courtesy of Kheel Center, Cornell University. All rights reserved.
Courtesy of Kheel Center, Cornell University. All rights reserved.

I know you work hard at building your Rolodex of investors. However, you should never underestimate (a) the trust that investors have put in you and (b) the ability of investors to find competing offers.

Let’s start with trust. Do you really think that your investors, whose trust you’ve gained over the years, will simply click their way through a website, find another sponsor, and invest with him, just like that? You know very well that’s not the way the world works. If you are worried about this, you should lock your investors in their basements, with no internet or phone service, or perhaps deal only with Mennonites and Quakers.

Investors will always have competing offers. That’s just the way things work. But if you are the better alternative and they trust you, they will still choose you. You should never underestimate an investor’s ability to find another sponsor. It’s not that hard. There are many events and conferences filling this gap and now that general solicitation is allowed, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other networks will make this even easier. And let’s not forget about GroundBreaker: whether or not you invite your investor network, we will eventually get to them and have them join (without mentioning your name).

Just like LinkedIn, GroundBreaker helps you grow your professional network and further your business, although in a much more specific and actionable way. I never hesitated when joining LinkedIn: I invited all my contacts because I wanted to connect with them, follow what they are doing, and eventually do more business with and through them. But I have met more than one person who hasn’t joined LinkedIn because he doesn’t want his network to be “exposed.” Luckily, not everyone thinks this way. Otherwise, LinkedIn would have never taken off. As everyone else knows, the more people there are in a network, the better off everyone is, especially those who excel at something, like Joe. If you are good at what you do and your investors trust you, you only stand to win.

Now, for your added peace of mind: we are not and will never be in the business of sponsoring deals or selling investor leads to sponsors. We are a tech company. We give you a tool you can use to network, promote your business, and close financing rounds efficiently. Also, at GroundBreaker, investors are “invisible,” which means that sponsors cannot see their email addresses or otherwise get in touch with them, unless the investor contacts or starts following them first.

One Response

  1. Hey Stefano, great post, I couldn’t agree more. As a sponsor that has nearly 200 active HNW investors in deals, I wanted to share some insights that I have gained. When raising money for our first couple deals with no track record, we relied heavily on friends and family connections that believed in, trusted, and liked us. The deal metrics were secondary. As we scaled, we begin to get one-off investors who trusted someone who was in our deals. Over time, we’ve gained their trust through our investment philosophy, reporting, and deal performance. We have found that these investors are sticky to us, not sticky to the types of deals we’re doing, just as you state in the post.

    However, as we’ve begun to scale, we’ve acquired investors who we had no previous relationship with. They choose our deals based on our track record, reputation, and institutional approach we take to deal underwriting. These investors are investing in our deals and our brand, not direct relationships with the team.

    To your point, as a sponsor we don’t fear that our investors will be exposed to other opportunities and no longer invest in our deals (that’s crazy). Rather, we want to make things as easy as possible for our repeat investors. If we were to put a deal online through a platform like GroundBreaker, we’d have to force them to sign up for GroundBreaker and move the process through that platform. While in the long-term it’s more efficient, it’s a lot to ask of our investors who’ve put millions of dollars with us over the past few years. Also, many of them (mostly older guys) have said they do want to move the origination and reporting process online. They’re old school. They like to print and sign deal docs and receive reporting via email. This will change, but in the short-term prohibits us from moving the entire process to a 3rd party platform like GroudnBreaker.

    Lastly, many of them just aren’t comfortable using a 3rd party to share personal info. It’s 100% safe and an irrational thought, but with real estate crowdfunding in its infancy, it may just take some older HNW guys some time to get comfortable with the process.

    I think you’re taking the right approach and look forward to testing out the platform.