The calls started towards the end of last year. Our competitors in the commercial real estate space were reaching out to some of our partners and associates. “Hey, we hear Foundry is selling to _______(fill in the blank with CRE company); you should come join us at _______(fill in the blank with CRE company).” Frankly, we suspected this would happen. The commercial real estate industry may be large and diversified, but it is also a pretty tight community, and nothing stays secret for very long. We thought the calls might start sooner, in fact, because as it turns out, the rumors were true – Foundry did sell. But not in the way many guessed.
Just over a year ago we started the process of setting up our company for its next season of growth. Following four years in an amazing partnership with HQ Capital – our friends and still current partners in many of our investments, and the group that helped us lift our platform out of CNL Financial Group (our original joint venture partner) and form Foundry Commercial– we have raised additional capital to position the platform for its next chapter. During our 4-year partnership with HQ, Foundry tripled in size. Our employee-base grew from 100 to over 350 people; our investments in real estate have grown from $50M to over $1.6 billion (which is just crazy to me); and our revenues have tripled.
The process was long yet exciting. We talked to a lot of investors and potential partners that might be interested in joining us in what we believe is an amazing opportunity in the commercial real estate space. Many of our current joint venture partners and customers expressed interest in investing in us, which was totally unexpected and humbling.
But today, I’m writing to tell you that Foundry’s Partners – the individuals, now 40 strong, who have committed their career and personal capital to our company – have purchased the majority interest in Foundry Commercial. In doing so, we have also partnered with a new investor to advance the next evolution of our platform. Frankly, to have even been in this position in such a short amount of time is surreal and very cool.
So here I am confirming the rumors: Foundry Commercial sold. However, it sold to us, and now we have a new capital partner that we are very excited about. We are grateful for HQ’s partnership; we know we wouldn’t be in this position in such a short amount of time without their support.
A little background
Foundry’s story started in 2007, built upon the relationships of 12 people with a dream to build a different type of commercial real estate platform. We had a feeling we could do it better. We could take what we’d learned during our collective careers to date and build something different in a space where a lot of firms look the same. It was purely conceptual at that point; we had no idea how to accomplish this goal; we had no money to put into it; and none of us had ever done something like this. And yet, we have landed at a place that seems really far beyond what we imagined.
However, the numbers are just the result, the output of the effort. Our success is due, in large part, to the investment in what we consider the most important element of our business: our culture and a testament to the level of talent possessed by all of our associates. Our partners and our new capital partner truly understand that our culture is what defines us and makes us different.
So, a note to those of you who reached out to Foundry associates when you heard Foundry might be selling: you should consider joining us!
Yes, I’m serious. We believe we have built what the most talented professionals in commercial real estate ultimately want, namely:
When the original partners that formed Foundry left Trammell Crow Company, we were somewhat sad because the relationships inside that company were so strong and meant so much to us. We were taught and mentored by the best and smartest people in the industry, and we had become friends. It remains an active alumni network because of the relationships. Many of us still work together; we pull for each other; we help each other. We wanted that to continue in 2007.
And now, at Foundry, we have alumni from other great companies that shared a similar experience and wanted to recapture it. You see, we love our business and our industry, and we hope it comes through in all that we do. If working in commercial real estate is just business for you, or if you have a transactional focus on relationships, Foundry probably isn’t the right place for you. Because for us, it is personal and relationships matter.
See you back on the field.