Soren Godbersen, Chief Growth Officer - Equity Multiple
Crowdfunding insights for real estate developers
I am frequently asked who are the top crowdfunding platforms and my guest today, Soren Godbersen, is Chief Growth Officer at one of the top ten companies in the world, Equity Multiple.
Soren and his team look at a lot of sponsors, at a lot of deals, and manage a lot of investors and the insights he shares today are an aggregation of the intel he gains on a daily basis. You'll learn from Soren what makes for a good real estate developer, why education is the key to success, and a lot more.
Tune in to hear from one of the top pros in the real estate crowdfunding industry today.
What You're Going to Learn
- What Makes A Good Real Estate Developer
- Showcase Your Track Record With A Good Online Presence
- Educational Content For Real Estate Investors
- Create Content To Maximize SEO Opportunities
- Attracting And Building A Network Of Accredited Investors
- Bringing Value To Investors In The Crowdfunding Industry
- And much more!
Listen To or Watch the Full Podcast Here
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What Makes A Good Real Estate Developer
Adam Gower: What characteristics do investors like to see in the developers on your platform? What are the most important things that they want to see?
Soren Godbersen: We find, with our business and also with respect to the developers and sponsors that we partner with, is simply that the communication is the most important thing. Communication and transparency. So, you know, we find that investors, our network of accredited individuals, would so much rather hear bad news than no news whatsoever. So, I think it's just being forthright. It's communicating at a regular cadence and, you know, even if it's construction delays or challenges with permitting or whatever, investors simply want to know that you're there and that you're working on their behalf. So, that's the number one piece of advice I would give. You know, aside from that, I think that investors really want to know who you are. So, if you can ensure that your reputation online is sparkling, to the extent that you can, and that you have a track record that's well presented, that's all to the good as well.
Showcase Your Track Record With A Good Online Presence
Adam Gower: Is there a difference between sponsors that have a really "killer" online presence with tons of education on their website, good social media presence, and ones who have a business card, for a website. Here's a nice picture and a contact phone. Do you notice, as a platform, a difference in the way that you're able to raise money, in the way that investors react, in the process of converting them?
Soren Godbersen: Part and parcel of having a strong site and a strong narrative around your firm is displaying your track record and some of the relevant work that you've done in the past and in a highly visible way. So, I think some of the ways that we've done that within our platform, on behalf of developers, is to do a webinar, either live or we'll pre-record something and maybe include some video collateral around the project. But basically, we'll showcase what your track record is. And I think that, if you're thinking about developing a site to showcase your firm, that's the place to start. So, having a solid portfolio of past work that you've done and assuming that you have achieved strong returns on behalf of investors in the past, then make sure that any prospective investors can find that.
Educational Content For Real Estate Investors
Adam Gower: Your educational content really is first class. So how have you found the best methods for delivering that? How are you getting your educational content out? How are you how communicating that to your prospects and to your investors?
Soren Godbersen: So, you take your Nerd Wallets or Motley Fool or Investopedia. More and more educational platforms like that are becoming aware of the real estate crowdfunding space or more than that, they're becoming aware that their readers are becoming aware of the real estate crowdfunding space. So, it becomes, sort of, a natural fit for us to get in touch with folks at those platforms and to pick content that we've usually already put together and put through our review process and that aligns well with their readership and then syndicated through those channels. To your question as to how we devise the content and decide what gets put in front of different investors or prospective investors, you know, this is really the aspirational. I wouldn't say that we do a perfect job of this today, but we really just try to listen to our investors and try to take the data-driven approach to finding the right piece of content for the right investor. So, you know, I mentioned the persona, if you will, of that of that cardiologist who might need an article on debt service coverage ratio. Whereas, you know, a different profile of investor might need something a little bit more in-depth or maybe specific to a region or to a specific submarket. So, it's really taking the cues that we can to try to figure out what's going to be most relevant to a given investor at a given point in time.
Create Content To Maximize SEO Opportunities
Adam Gower: For the uninitiated, I'm going to just interrupt and say Soren, he's talking about SEO, by the way. He's talking about search volume. Just explain that concept, a little bit, because obviously you know a lot about it. So just explain to the one guy out there who's got no idea.
Soren Godbersen: Search engine optimization is essentially analyzing what volumes of searches are present for certain concepts, certain topics, and then doing your best to identify opportunities and create content that aligns well with those with those searches and the intent of those searches and then ultimately trying to rank, you know, mostly on Google. Trying to get into the top three spots that you see a meaningful volume of traffic. And I think that we, in the SEO world, we talk about long-tail opportunities. And so, if you try to draw up a piece of educational content with a target of multifamily real estate investing, you're not going to have any luck because, you know, many thousands of online content owners have put out content around multifamily investing. However, as a developer, say, if your bread and butter is multifamily value-add development, ground up development in Tucson, then maybe you've got something. Maybe there are only 50 or 75 people searching for that every month but those 50 to 75 people, given the specificity of that term, are probably going to be very interested.
Adam Gower: That's a very strong idea, isn't it, yes.
Attracting And Building A Network Of Accredited Investors
Soren Godbersen: EquityMultiple has been around for about five years. I was employee number four, so been through all the trials and tribulations of a growing company, in a new industry to boot. And really, I am tasked with growing demand for the product. So, you know, attracting and building that network of accredited investors. So, you know, in effect, I guess you could call me the CMO, the Chief Marketing Officer too but, I've eschewed that term because, you know, to be honest, I wouldn't say the term marketing is tainted necessarily, but I really don't view our path to growth as marketing. I view it more, to borrow from our earlier points in our conversation, I view it as bringing investors the right kind of educational content, at the right time and for the right person. And really just telling an honest story about our value proposition, what we offer to investors and what the risks and the opportunities are in the space and honestly, trying to present some of the stories of our individual investors from across the country and what sorts of assets they've gravitated to, why they're participating in private real estate investments in the first place, those kinds of things and just really bringing the story to life.
Bringing Value To Investors In The Crowdfunding Industry
Adam Gower: Five and a half years ago is about when I discovered crowdfunding as well and approached it from a completely different angle. A lot has changed. A lot is happening now and there are some very interesting trends. Tell me. What have been the biggest surprises to you, let's put it that way, of the growth of crowdfunding over the last five and a half years. Where do you think we're headed in 2021?
Soren Godbersen: Sure, I can speak mostly to our experience and our, you know, what we've learned about our investors and what we've learned about what types of projects, what types of assets really sell. You know, I think one of the biggest surprises, from the outset, just looking at the demand side of the coins. So, the typical profile of that accredited individual investor is that, in a lot of cases, it is not a finance industry lifer who is interested in our product. Really, the value that we're bringing to a lot of investors is access. And I think if you were to, you know, to talk to any of the stakeholders from those other platforms that you mentioned that we compete with, on SEO. I think they would say, roughly, the same thing. You know, you find a lot of mid career professionals in high income fields, like doctors, like lawyers, tech executives who know enough about real estate investing to be dangerous but they're not super, super in the weeds on a day- to-day basis, as far as real estate finance to invest in. So, you know, the value that we can bring is underwriting, is asset management, and again, it's providing educational content that really helps investors understand what types of real estate investments that are available, in the real estate crowdfunding industry are going to be most appropriate for them. So, you know, I think that as far as our growth strategy, educational content is going to continue to be a pillar of it.
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