Meet Jamie, Co-Founder and CEO at HAVIUM. HAVIUM is a tech-enabled real estate investing firm using large scale data analytics, hyper-local market knowledge and a team of real estate investment experts to help investors benefit from single family rental property. Get to know Jamie and his journey in building HAVIUM!
What moments in your life led to where you are now?
I have always admired entrepreneurs. In my previous life in banking and finance, I met people who had started and run companies and I always found myself energized by hearing their stories.
What problem are you solving?
Our company, Havium, was born out of a combination of my passion for investing in single family real estate, frustration with the piecemeal process of finding, buying and owning rental properties, and my hyper-conservative investment approach. At Havium, our software runs an incredibly accurate projection forecast on every single-family property that comes onto the market, and our team white-gloves the acquisition and operation of the right properties for our clients. We’ve made the process incredibly simple.
What inspired you?
My family has been investing in property since I was a child, and as soon as I had enough money, I started investing as well. I was shocked that many part-time real estate investors don’t do much financial forecasting when looking for a property, but rather just go with a hunch. While working in finance, I’d meet people who’d built considerable wealth in real estate doing it as a side-hobby, but they had no help in the process and had to figure it all out on their own. The infrastructure wasn’t there, but the rewards were obvious. So I started building a system for myself, modeling out properties, learning where the pain points were throughout the process from identification through to ownership, and solving them.
Who are your customers and how did you get your first one?
Our customers range from first-time real estate investors to seasoned investors that have been investing for decades and large family offices. Entertainingly, we worked with our first client very reluctantly. He met us as he was in the process of selling an existing investment property he owned that had appreciated considerably. He was trying to navigate a 1031 exchange (the legal process of deferring capital gains tax that applies to investment real estate) when he met us. After seeing a demonstration of our incredible software and our conservative approach to investing, he really wanted to work with us. For several weeks he repeatedly asked if we’d take him on as an alpha client. We were still building tools within the software, but agreed to work with him as our first client. He loved working with us, and has since generated ~90%+ on his investment in less than 2 years.
Why should customers use your product over alternatives?
Fortunately for us, there aren’t really any true alternative in our markets. I guess the alternative is to build a financial model, learn about various areas, find a trusted real estate professional in that market, find a trusted property manager in that market, etc… Or, you could work with us. Either way, it will cost you the same in dollars but significantly less in terms of your time. As far as why customers should consider investing in single family rental property with us, the top reasons in our (humble) opinion: our investments can generate positive net cash flow (they pay all their operating, management, maintenance, tax and insurance costs), while benefiting from appreciation, and are incredibly tax-efficient (if set up correctly the cash flow they generate is not subject to tax). As anyone who has sat down with me will tell you, that is the tip of the iceberg though. I love chatting with anyone about all the ways these investments are incredible and have very unique benefits in comparison to other investment options.
What stage is your company at now?
We are early stage, revenue-generating, and are thrilled to be growing our headcount. We haven’t taken outside funding yet, but are beginning to speak with investors and VC’s to better understand our options.
Can you share a really hard moment you faced?
My copout answer… With starting a company, it’s just one big amalgamation of hard moments, big wins, building things people love, and listening to feedback to continue to grow. My advice regarding hard moments comes from a close friend that started and ran another startup. He said, “No matter how big or small, make sure to recognize and celebrate the wins. You’ll need to in order to balance out the hard days.” It was, and still is great advice for any entrepreneur.
What about a huge win?
One huge win came when we had the opportunity to work with a very experienced investor that had been investing in real estate for decades. He met us and after seeing a demo, immediately decided to work with us. The day after his first Havium property was acquired and operating, he sent us an unsolicited email saying that he had been investing for a long time and had never seen a process like ours. He has become a repeat client, has referred other people to us, and remains a fantastic supporter of ours.
What does success look like to you?
On a company level, we’d like to be the brand people think of when they consider investing in single family rental property. There are a tremendous amount of rewards to investing in the asset class. On a personal level – I guess I’d define success as having enough money in the bank to be able to take care of family/friends if they ever needed a helping hand, maintaining perspective, and enjoying a fun trip every once in a while.
What are some of your short term goals?
I’d like to have our 100th Havium property operating in 2020.
How can people help you achieve these goals?
If there is an individual that is interested in investing in property that will generate profits while being totally hands-off, send them our way.
Any advice you’d like to share with people on starting a company?
I’m paraphrasing the words of Howard Schultz here, but “it’ll take longer, cost more, and be harder than you think”… That said, if you really believe in what you’re trying to do, and are passionate about sharing your solution with others, you’ll always have energy to keep building your company and it will all be worth it.