Gelt’s Wasserman: Millennials Moving the Needle
By Dennis Kaiser
Los Angeles-based Gelt Inc. continues to expand its team of Millennial multifamily investment and management pros. The entrepreneurial group is led by partners and cousins Keith Wasserman, and Damian Langere. Recently, Josh Satin joined the firm, following a career in Major League Baseball.
Since Gelt was founded in 2008, it has acquired more 5,600 apartment units valued in excess of $800 million, and is on target to reach $1 billion of investment activity by mid-2017. Connect Media wanted to find out what’s driving this young CRE team to success, their approach and lessons they’ve learned so far.
Here’s what Wasserman shared:
Q: The majority of the Gelt team is made up of Millennials. So how does that play out in your approach to CRE?
A: We strive to use technology to grow our business and stay on top of industry trends. As a very entrepreneurial firm with young leadership, we are always seeking to explore new technologies that will help us run our company smoother and more effectively. To that point, we have addressed technology opportunities in related areas of our business and as a result have launched two sister companies. They include Gelt Venture Capital, a seed stage venture capital firm investing in companies in agricultural technologies, real estate technologies and transportation technologies; and Domuso.com, the first financing-as-a-service resident portal for the $540 billion rental payment industry.
Q: What have been the biggest lessons learned since you started your company eight years ago? How has your investor profile evolved?
A: One of the biggest lessons we have learned is not to sell too soon. Several years ago, we acquired The Colonnade Apartments in Arizona for $16 million and sold it for $25.5 million three years later. It most recently traded again for $43 million. We will never forget that one!
We have a very diverse and growing mix of private investors that is currently at about 300. This investor number continues to increase, and includes family offices and high net worth individuals. We also have a significant amount of foreign investment from Australia, Israel and China. Chinese investment has been a very significant part of our investor base. Over the past three years alone, Gelt has raised more than $70 million from Chinese investors. We only see more of that on the horizon as word of mouth catches on in the country.
Q: What are your investment plans for next year?
A: We are keeping with our criteria for value-add apartment acquisitions valued from $4 million to $75 million in key markets throughout the Western states. We believe that 2017 will continue to see strong demand for rental housing, as Millennials and others seeking quality apartment communities choose to rent versus own.
For comments, questions or concerns, please contact Dennis Kaiser