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Player: Rokelle Sun
Society: United States Greenland Fund
Provide a brief biography of your business: how you started, level of success, growth trajectory, where it operates, who it serves, what it provides, how it started, details about the founder, etc.
Although I studied economics in college, I started my career as a multilingual broadcast reporter working for KTSF TV in San Francisco, mainly covering business and politics.
In the midst of the 2008 financial crisis, Rokelle Sun stepped down as a reporter for KTSF TV in San Francisco and started his first business, Greenland Funds USA, a real estate investment and redevelopment firm in San Francisco, California.
Related: How to protect your business from the recession
As a real estate developer, Rokelle is responsible for asset allocation, risk management and redevelopment strategies. In short, its job is to optimize the value of investor properties by ensuring the most efficient use of capital.
For over a decade, Greenland Funds has thrived on the company’s successful strategy of capital growth in special situation funds and highly volatile real estate markets. During the last financial crisis, their investment strategies and reshuffling tactics produced significant returns for the company, especially a threshold of 15% annual return for investors.
In 2017, Rokelle co-founded his current company, Prism Capital Partners, combining his artistic vision and investment sense to create highly innovative, technology-driven and design-driven living spaces using environmentally friendly building practices. .
The entrepreneur chatted with Rokelle about starting a recession and how she launched her business to success.
Q: What funds did you use to start your business?
I started my business with my own savings combined with the capital of my family and friends. As my investment portfolio started to deliver more and more impressive results, I was able to attract other investors.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to the 5 Easiest Ways to Become a Real Estate Investor
My track record of creating and sustaining successful capital growth strategies has established a solid foundation for the confidence of our investors. I’ve learned that “show, don’t say” is the key to success in a capital intensive business. You have to prove yourself before people support you.
Q: Besides launching yourself in the middle of a recession, what were the biggest challenges you faced and how did you overcome them?
Because I started Greenland Funds during the financial crisis, it was extremely difficult to attract investors to real estate at that time. Most people were pessimistic about the market and many didn’t think it would ever recover fully.
I had to strategize to limit the decline as every potential investor I spoke to feared the market would collapse further.
However, I eventually managed to find a niche in the market. I executed timely buy / sell turnarounds to limit risk and aligned many beneficial factors to achieve a synergistic win-win market advantage in the special situation real estate category .
Related: How to make the most of a recession
Looking back, I think my success is due to my ability to see prospects in unlikely places and find opportunities where most saw a dead end.
By earning my stripes in the most difficult times, I’ve learned that the challenge energizes me and boosts my ability to think strategically. I am proud that by acquiring and redeveloping distressed properties, Greenland Funds has contributed to the recovery of the US real estate market.
Q. Did you need to revolve the business, and if so, why?
Yes. Initially, I was aiming for acquisitions and long-term ownership / growth. But I had to reorient my strategy towards high volume, short term holding and quick turnarounds in order to limit the risk for investors. That way I was able to get funding.
Q. Why do so many businesses fail operationally and how do you avoid it?
I think the fundamental problem is the lack of distinction between operational efficiency and strategy.
Many companies prioritize productivity, quality and speed, which has led to a remarkable number of management tools and techniques, such as outsourcing, total quality management, partnership, reengineering, competition based on time and change management.
Related: How Sisa Ngebulana Built SA’s First Black Managed Listed Real Estate Fund
While these can lead to dramatic operational improvements, they do not always translate into sustainable profitability.
In my experience, management tools cannot replace strategy. In the competitive arena of real estate investment and redevelopment, it is essential to maintain a viable competitive position in the market.
Q. How did you determine who your target market was and how did you reach them?
I determined my target market by applying economic theory and investment strategies. I’m also betting on the pace and speed of the real estate market recovery in the surrounding subprime neighborhoods of San Francisco.
Since The Bay Area has one of the strongest housing markets in the United States, the methodology of “buying” and “selling” investments is at the heart of investing; hence the basic rule of investing: “Buy low and sell high.” ”
I was sure what happened would come back once the market recovered (with enough time). While this sounds like common sense, when trying to put it into practice most people avoid ‘bad’ times.
Related: 5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Commercial Property