April 5, 2021
Episode 20 of the Crushing Cashflow Podcast kicks off with Perry Zheng, where we talk about how leveraging an investor portal can help scale your business.
Perry lives in the Seattle area and is the Founder and CEO of Cash Flow Portal, a premier real estate syndication software. He’s also a multi-family investor with over 900 units under management. Additionally, he works full-time as an engineering manager for Lyft.
We cover the following:
-Value of an investor portal and how it can help scale your business
-Leveraging a portal as a social network
-Perry’s “why” behind starting his own software company
-Building systems and processes
-At what point should one consider investing in a portal?
Get in touch with Perry:
Learn more about multi-family investing
“Welcome to the Crushing Cashflow Podcast, where we share phenomenal advice and dozens of decades of wisdom from investors and entrepreneurs of all types and all stages of their journeys. We’ll cover many forms of cash-flowing assets, such as real estate, stock investing, entrepreneurship, and general finance.
Listen in and learn from those who are crushing it out there, as well as those who have been crushed by a business or their investments. Now, Here’s your host, Andrew Schutsky.
A.S.: Welcome back to another episode of Crushing Cashflow. I’m your host, Andrew Schutsky, and I’ve got Perry Zheng to welcome to the show today.
A little background for Perry:
He lives in the Seattle area. He’s a founder and CEO of Cash Flow Portal, Premier real estate syndication software. So he’s a tech geek, just like myself. He’s also, of course, a multifamily investor and has a little bit over 550 units under management. What’s your official number today?
P.Z.: 580 units syndicated.
A.S.: Perfect. So he’s full-time as an engineering manager for Lyft. He’s got his own company going on. He’s also invested in things just like myself— a very, very busy man. So thanks again for joining, Perry. I appreciate your time.
First off, I wanted to make this episode really focused on the portal’s benefits. What can it do for an investor? How does it help them raise money, match assets? So could you give us a background? What’s the portal anyway? And how does it help?
P.Z.: Just the portal itself is a way for investors to keep track of their distributions and investments. I invest in six deals as a passive investor as well. And my problem statement is when I try to figure out how many distributions I’ve gotten over all my six deals, I couldn’t really have a good way to figure that out until I log into each person’s website or emailed them to get that information. So from an investor point of view, it’s really easy to invest in a deal.
It’s effortless to keep track of distribution, updates, and K1s in one centralized location. The benefit for the syndicator is that if you need to raise 5,000,000 dollars out of 170 investors or 100 investors $50K each, you need to sign 50 DocuSign documents. And that’s a pain. But you also need to keep track of who has signed, who hasn’t signed, who has wired, who has not wired, etc. When you send them the wire instructions, they will ping you every single day to make sure that you receive the wire.
It is really important to streamline the equity raising process. That’s why we create this amazing software to help you streamline your equity raising, help the syndicators save time and energy, and help investors become more informed of what’s going on with their investments. We have a separate part of Cash Flow Portal. Cash Flow Portal is not just an investor portal. It is also an investment platform. You can think of it as a social network or a dating website for investors and syndicators.
The problem statement there is that syndicators always want to expand their investor network. They always want to have more money on their next deal. But they are afraid of other syndicators poaching on their investor list that they spent time creating and cultivating. That’s the problem statement for the syndicators.
The problem statement for passive investors is that many people work in tech and high-income jobs and have quite a bit of money to invest. They belong to the upper-middle class. However, they just do not know where to invest besides the stock market the crypto. I even wrote an article about why software engineers should invest in real estate explaining this.
They are always worried that a week from now, the stock market might crash. So those people are stashing their cash, hoping to buy another rental property. But guess what? In these coastal cities, the down payment is anywhere from $100K to $200K. I just don’t believe that you need to save up $200K to make one single investment. So that’s the problem statement for the passive investors.
What does cash flow do in that sense to connect these two sides?
The rules are, a passive investor can discover syndicators, but not the other way around.
The second rule is, it’s not possible to poach other syndicators’ passive investors because there’s no way for you to discover them. The third rule is that you can increase your presence by having an amazing track record, a fantastic bio so that the passive investors might find you interesting and set up a call to talk to you. As a result, if they like you, they will add themselves to your investor database.
A.S.: I think you hit on a number of key points there. One is what the portal is and what it brings to investors. You explained that particularly well, and you talked about the perspectives of what it brings as a passive investor and also as a syndicator. I like how you called it a social network. I call it kind of glue. So it’s more than just a tool or process to facilitate the documentation, the DocuSign. That in itself is a huge benefit.
You talked about not poaching and then not being visible to other syndicators’ passive investors. How specifically does it help get visibility to network with people? For syndicators to find investors or for investors to find syndicators.
How does that look?
Just describe that visually for listeners.
P.Z.: So, as syndicators, you don’t know who the passive investors are out there? It’s similar to Bumble’s dating app, where only the women can make their first move. So the passive investors have the first-mover advantage.
The passive investors are the people who make $100K+ in salary, and they have some income; they belong to the upper-middle class. They are browsing, trying to find an investment opportunity. They stumble upon your bio and see that you have syndicated two deals. Hence they can discover the track records of your deals.
These are the podcasts that you host, and these are the people you know. These are the reviews of the references you have. Some of it is reputation management, some of it is transparency, and some of it is word of mouth. Then, if the passive investors found you interesting, they will schedule a call with you. It is a marketplace. It takes a network effect. Passive investors will say, I’d like myself to this person’s investor database on the backend. Then the investor becomes part of your database, which is in sync with a CRM of your choices, such as HubSpot or Active campaign, or Mailchimp.
Then you also get a ping in your email saying that someone has just added themselves to our investor database. We also try to be Super SEC-compliant, which means that they will specify how well they know you when added to your database.
The choices could be:
I try to be very SEC-compliant. Then once you know that someone is interested, you can go ahead and reach out to them. It’s like your personal landing page.
The beautiful thing is that everyone has a single login. So when they add themselves to your investor database, they don’t need to type in their first name and other details because that’s saved to their profile already. So they just click on one button and get connected with you. It is a social network.