Capital Gains -

How do you go from comfortable affluence to real wealth? Listen to the Capital Gains podcast, by, with host and professional real estate investor Jonathan Twombly. In interviews with top professionals, we'll discuss alternative investments you might not have known about that can help you go beyond merely obtaining a passive income to growing your asset base and becoming truly wealthy.
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Now displaying: October, 2016
Oct 25, 2016

Creative real estate investing is not a typical concept you hear about. But Nav Athwal is not your typical tech founder. He has over a decade of experience in real estate as an attorney, broker, and investor. Nav lectures at UC Berkeley Law School and the Haas School of Business, is a frequent contributor to Forbes, and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business. In this episode of the Capital Gains podcast, I talk with Nav about his online real estate investment platform RealtyShares. It’s created to bring investors and real estate companies together to make investments and funding seamless. We talk about how the platform was built and got started, how it works, and the kinds of people who best benefit from being a part of the platform.

Crowdfunding for real estate investment and funding? Yes. It’s true.

It was only a matter of time before the investment world - and in particular the real estate investment world - caught up with the way that technology and crowdfunding have changed so many other fundraising ventures. RealtyShares is an online platform that enables investors and real estate companies needing funding to come together to cooperate on vetted, verified deals that are poised to make money for everyone involved. On this episode, you can hear how Nav Athwal and his team have put the platform together and why Nav believes it’s on the cutting edge of the real estate investment strategies of the future.

Invest in real estate for as little as $5,000. Really.

Talk about creative real estate investing - this is it. When you sign up for a free account to become an investor with RealtyShares you are able to invest in amounts as low as $5,000 in projects or deals that have submitted all their details and financials - about the deal and the company overseeing it. Those companies are vetted and eventually approved by the experts at RealtyShares. It’s a great way to get started in real estate investing that is free of much of the risk that can happen in unverified deals. Nav Athwal shares how the RealtyShares platform is growing by leaps and bounds because of its simplicity and ease of use for investors, on this episode of The Capital Gains podcast.

RealtyShares is making it possible to get into real estate investing much sooner.

The average real estate investor has to work hard to save up a significant chunk of cash before he/she is able to get in on an investment deal. But Nav Athwal and the team at RealtyShares has made it possible for would-be investors to invest as little as $5,000. It’s possible through the platform’s ability to pool funds from a variety of investors to fund projects that exist within the RealtyShares database so that the real estate developer or company is able to get the funds they need from a variety of sources. The RealtyShares platform only earns 2% of the initial amount invested and the returns on the actual project are what provide the dividend to the investors. Find out more about how RealtyShares works on this episode.

Diversified real estate investing with only $5,000? Yes, it’s possible.

Because the RealtyShares platform combines the investments of many individuals or entities to fund development projects, they are able to spread out the funds of individual investors to mitigate risk. In other words, the money invested is used in more than one project. That makes the possibility of losing an entire investment smaller and the returns more likely. Of course, the RealtyShares team cannot and does not guarantee specific returns but the concept has built-in components like diversification that make it much safer for the average investor. RealtyShares is a great idea and is poised to change the real estate investing world forever. It’s truly creative real estate investing.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] My introduction of Nav Athwal of RealtyShares.
  • [2:05] How investors and real estate companies are connected through RealtyShares.
  • [3:19] Nav’s background as engineer, attorney, and real estate investor.
  • [7:40] How Nav put together the plan and team to launch RealtyShares.
  • [10:36] What the landscape was like when the platform was first started.
  • [16:45] How the initial fundraising effort was so successful (convincing investors).
  • [29:20] What kind of investors can use the platform and what’s the minimum investment?
  • [34:40] Are “family office” investors looking for different things than typical investors?
  • [37:14] The RealtyShares diversified fund and how it works.
  • [41:51] Who is an ideal individual investor for RealtyShares?
  • [44:50] How you can connect with Nav.

Resources & People Mentioned

Jonathan’s Websites


Oct 18, 2016

When you think about real estate development you typically think of the big apartment complex being built in the trendy part of town or the company that’s putting in a new neighborhood down the street. It seems overwhelming to think of taking on a project of that magnitude, but like anything else in life, you can learn how to do it if you approach it the right way. Today’s guest is Steve Olsher, an online personality, author, and entrepreneur who has spent a good deal of time as a real estate investor - and he did so by organizing development projects like the ones I mentioned earlier. How did he do it? Steve tells the story on this episode of Capital Gains.

Making money through real estate development 3 different ways.

As Steve Olsher got started in real estate development he spent time watching what people did who had been doing it for a long time. Through observation and lots of questions, Steve discovered that there are ways to make money at almost every stage of a development project - from the initial closing all the way to management or sale of the project. When I heard him say that it got my attention so I asked Steve how it’s possible. If you want to hear his answer you’ll have to listen to this episode. And I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Steve sees real estate investment opportunities every day as he drives down the street.

Steve Olsher lives in southern California, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the United States. Yet, every day as he drives down the street he sees development opportunities that he is confident could make money. How could that be true? Steve’s background in real estate development is what enables him to see how the changes in neighborhoods and communities, coupled with the existing properties can be leveraged into multi-family unit properties that could even include retail space. That kind of development not only meets the needs of the people moving into a popular area like southern California but it also spurs economic growth. You can hear more about Steve’s insights into real estate investing through development, on this episode.

Here’s how you can get started in real estate development.

After hearing Steve Olsher’s story on this episode I was very curious how he would advise those interested in the possibilities offered through real estate development to get started. So I asked him. His answer was very practical. He says if he was starting all over he’d first do the work it took to meet people who are already overseeing developments in his area. He'd get to know them and find opportunities to come alongside to watch and learn. The benefit of seeing the development process in action when you have no cash involved is unparalleled and powerful. Learn how to make those connections that will help you take the first steps into real estate development by listening to this episode.

Steve Olsher’s new idea for monetizing small followings on social media.

While Steve Olsher has had a lot of experience investing in real estate developments, that’s not all he’s done. Most people know him from his books or his podcast. It’s in that realm that Steve has been thinking most recently. He’s starting to believe that a handful of people with smaller followings on social media could leverage their small following in a cooperative effort with others who also have small followings. Their combined efforts could produce a monetary benefit as a result. He’s not giving away a lot of details at this point but Steve expects that he’ll have something to show the public by the end of 2016. If you’d like to hear more of the ideas Steve’s mulling over, you can hear all about it on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] My introduction Steve Olsher.
  • [1:34] Who Steve is and what he does (from his own lips).
  • [3:35] How Steve followed each step that was put in front of him over time.
  • [7:17] The path from teen club owner to liquor sales online.
  • [13:40] How Steve made the most of his ownership of after the bubble broke.
  • [16:59] Steve’s steps into writing and radio as a means to add value.
  • [22:15] Where Steve’s entrepreneurial spirit comes from (his opinion).
  • [26:20] The importance of learning the difference between what you want and what you need.
  • [31:20] How Steve got started in real estate investing.
  • [37:20] How developers can make money on deals in 3 different ways.
  • [42:27] The things Steve sees daily that are investment opportunities.
  • [44:40] What Steve suggests for those wanting to get into real estate development.
  • [47:10] Ideas for monetizing a small social media following.
  • [50:24] Steve’s secret ambition (that will no longer be secret after he shares it).
  • [52:30] The best place to reach out to Steve if you feel your story would fit his podcast.

Resources & People Mentioned


Jonathan’s Websites


Oct 11, 2016

Multi-family real estate was not the first real estate investing experience for John Cohen. He has been investing in real estate since 2010 and started out purchasing tax deeds and tax liens, doing $3,247,000 in real estate transactions in 2013. He switched his focus to multi-family properties and joined a group that closed $70 million worth of transactions in one year. Prior to his involvement in real estate, John was a licensed (series 7 and 63) stockbroker but decided that real property investments were far less speculative than the stock market. On this episode, you’ll get to hear why John’s company invests in multi-family properties exclusively, how MF properties are safer investments in a turbulent economy, and what he recommends to those who are eager to invest in the multi-family niche of real estate.

Why is multi-family real estate such a great investment?

Many investors who are trying to build consistent monthly cash flow understand the advantages of rental properties. There's nothing better than having tenants pay your mortgage as you make money on their occupancy of the property they’re paying off. But what happens if the property winds up vacant for a period of time? What happens if the renter is delinquent on their rent payments? Headaches, that’s what! Multi-family properties are almost immune to those issues because the overhead and cost of the property is spread out over many streams of income - the individual renters. On this episode John Cohen will tell you why multi-family real estate is so attractive to him and how you can benefit from being a multi-family investor.

How do you find a good multi-family property?

John Cohen has been investing in multi-family properties for some time. That makes him the ideal person to tell us how to find and invest in multi-family units. On this episode, he gives away his specific strategies for researching a potential real estate market, the exact tools and websites he uses to do his analysis, and drives home the importance of building a good network of brokers and professionals on the ground in the prospective market where you're going to invest. You won’t hear hands-on, relevant advice like this anywhere else, so be sure you listen if you’re at all interested in investing in multi-family real estate.

Why you need to do your homework on location in the market you’re considering.

If you’re considering a multi-family investment property in a city that is not familiar to you, say in Charleston, SC, what are the steps you should take to make sure you understand the local economy and real estate market? John Cohen says there’s only so much you can do online or over the telephone. You’ll eventually reach the point where you need to take a trip to the prospective city to look things over yourself. When you do, there are people you need to meet, specific questions you need to ask, and certain data you’ll need to accumulate from local offices. If you don’t know how to do those things, you’re in luck. John Cohen is on this episode to walk you through it step by step.

How can you invest in multi-family properties if you’re brand new to real estate investing?

One of the questions I asked John Cohen toward the end of this episode of the Capital Gains podcast is how a person who has little experience, and maybe even a smaller amount of cash to invest, can actually get into some real estate investment deals. John’s company specializes in setting up multi-family investment deals and includes a variety of investor types in those deals, so he was happy to give us the full scoop on how it can be done. If you are at all interested in investing in multi-family real estate, John’s got some valuable information for you.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:08] My introduction of my friend and business competitor, John Cohen.
  • [2:17] What are emerging markets and “value add” properties?
  • [3:47] John’s road to real estate investing.
  • [7:20] What is a Cap Rate and why does it matter in real estate investing?
  • [11:00] What is meant by a “syndication deal?”
  • [16:32] Why John focused on multi-family properties over everything else.
  • [24:19] The types of markets John invests in and the things that attracts him to them.
  • [26:00] How John researches possible investment areas (specific tools he uses).
  • [29:00] Building relationships with brokers and investors in a new area.
  • [32:15] Putting himself on the chopping block, getting outside his comfort zone.
  • [35:53] The advantages and disadvantages of direct ownership Vs being a passive investor.
  • [38:41] How beginning investors can get into REI deals.
  • [45:07] Cautions about working with property managers (and benefits of good ones).
  • [46:25] What is tax deed and tax lien investing and how does it work?
  • [49:57] The importance of a big “why” in real estate and what John sees as his “why.”

Resources & People Mentioned

Jonathan’s Websites

Oct 4, 2016

The venture capital world is growing by leaps and bounds and companies like Flybridge Capital Partners are fueling the tech and innovation behind many of the things that are transforming the world. In this conversation, I talk with Jeff Bussgang, general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners about a variety of things surrounding the venture capital space, including how he got started, what his company looks for in a startup company, and how they assess the leadership and team to make a wise early stage investment.

What IS an early stage investment company?

Early stage investments are nothing more than the money provided to promising companies that are not yet producing their products or services but have made significant headway toward the development or distribution of it. The money they receive is often referred to as “seed money” - the money used to enable the development, marketing, and progress of the company to move it toward profitability and sustainability. On this episode, Jeff Bussgang shares how his interest in the entrepreneurial world led him to become general partner of an early stage venture capital firm, and why startup funding is so exciting.

What is a venture capital investment firm looking for in a startup?

When I asked Jeff Bussgang what the team at Flybridge Capital Partners is looking for in an early stage company he gave me a number of criteria they look at to show them there is promise in the company: Innovative potential, leadership and team, the Pied Piper effect, and more. If those sound a bit vague, don’t worry. As you listen to this episode you’ll get a very clear understanding of what each of those things is and why Jeff and his team consider them vital to discerning a good investment from a bad one. It’s all on this episode of the Capital Gains podcast.

The Pied Piper effect is something startup founders need - at least in this case.

If the team at Flybridge Capital Partners is going to get behind a startup financially they want to see that the primary leader of the startup company possesses what they call a “pied piper” quality. That means he/she is a person who is a natural leader and attracts the interest of people to the projects they are working on. Jeff Bussgang points to the fact that we all know people whose ventures and projects are naturally of interest to us - and it’s because of who the person is and how they are wired that we are attracted. You can almost smell the excitement and potential because they are a person who tends to make things happen. Find out more about this elusive but tangible leadership quality, on this episode.

If you can’t connect with me through a mutual connection, I’m not that interested.

Jeff Bussgang understands that networking and connections are a huge advantage when it comes to making a company or cause successful. So much so that he’s generally unwilling to have serious conversations about funding a startup if their team did not approach him through some kind of mutual connection. He’s convinced that people who know how to make and utilize connections are also the people who will be able to build the relationships that will equip their company for future success. You can hear Jeff make the case himself on this episode.

Outline of This Episode

  • [1:04] Introduction of this week’s guest, Jeff Buskin.
  • [1:54] The types of companies Jeff’s group invests in and what they look for in a winner.
  • [6:50] The “winnowing” process Flybridge uses when evaluating potential companies.
  • [10:50] Signals that a founder or leader is a “Pied Piper” who can build the company.
  • [13:18] What does it mean to be an “early stage” investor?
  • [18:54] Niches Flybridge tends to invest in.
  • [21:58] Sectors on the horizon that Jeff and his team are watching carefully.
  • [24:00] Why Flybridge has a geographic bias toward Boston and New York.
  • [25:23] Why relationships matter so much to Flybridge.
  • [31:23] Jeff’s path to Flybridge.
  • [36:58] The tendency toward entrepreneurism: Is it innate?
  • [39:03] Successes the company has had and what they have learned.

Resources Mentioned


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