TiE Houston’s Panel Discussion on Commercial Real Estate

From left: Juliana Garaizar - Managing Director, Houston Angel Network, Howard Rambin - CEO & Founder, Moody Rambin, Leo Womack - President, Gulf Equities Realty Corp., Dr. Arun Pasrija - TiE Houston President, Ricardo Rivas - Principal and Chief Investment Officer, Allied Orion Group, and Jiten Karnani - President, Deccan Development Company.

From left: Juliana Garaizar – Managing Director, Houston Angel Network, Howard Rambin – CEO & Founder, Moody Rambin, Leo Womack – President, Gulf Equities Realty Corp., Dr. Arun Pasrija – TiE Houston President, Ricardo Rivas – Principal and Chief Investment Officer, Allied Orion Group, and Jiten Karnani – President, Deccan Development Company.

HOUSTON: TiE Houston, in partnership with the Houston Angel Network (HAN), proudly presented a panel discussion on Commercial Real Estate on October 27, 2017 at the Hess Club.  Moody Rambin Company was the event sponsor. The concept of bringing this panel together was to demystify Houston’s commercial and to hear from Houston’s own successful entrepreneurs and investors about various aspects of investing in real estate. Both TiE and HAN members had expressed interest in learning how to get involved with commercial real estate development projects, options to be either an active or passive real estate investor and learn about trends in multifamily projects. Panelist were Leo Womack (President, Gulf Equities Realty Corp.), Ricardo Rivas (Principal and Chief Investment Officer, Allied Orion Group), and Howard Rambin (CEO & Founder, Moody Rambin). Moderating was TiE Houston Charter Member Jiten Karnani (President, Deccan Development Company).

The evening began with valuable networking. TiE Houston members, HAN members and guests took the opportunity to meet and greet with our panelists and moderators as well as fellow entrepreneurs. This also gave those who are just starting out the chance to speak to and connect with those already involved in the real estate community.

In addition to bringing in experienced panelists and exciting topics, TiE strives to highlight the journeys, successes, and needs of its members at all of their events. Gary Katz of Katz Water shared that by taking advantage of the TiE network, he learned about the U.S. State Department sponsored Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) in India. His application was accepted and will be attending as part of their delegation at the end of November.  He says “I can now leverage this to tell oil companies they can get some amazing P.R. by funding testing and validating our technology which will be showcased at the global summit.” He expressed his gratitude to TiE for sharing such a variety of opportunities. To learn more about Katz Water go to www.katzwatertech.com.

Juliana Garaizar (Managing Director, Houston Angel Network) shared HAN’s vision and mission in Houston and beyond. HAN is the oldest angel network in Texas and most active angel network in the USA. Its members have invested more than $73M in more than 235 deals since its inception in 2001. In addition to the importance of ongoing funding through their angel investors, she shared the importance of education to maintain the overall health of the entrepreneurial ecosystem. She was excited to share the upcoming Angel Capital Association (ACA) Angel 101 Workshop, which she will be participating in as a panelist along with other distinguished members of the angel investment community, happening on November 13, 2017. The seminar will provide insights into angel investing as an asset class, with a focus on anticipated returns, portfolio strategy, valuation of early-stage companies, conducting due diligence, understanding term sheets and angel involvement in portfolio companies after the investment. To learn more about the workshop and summit go to http://houstonangelnetwork.org or www.angelcapitalassociation.org.

Just before the panel, Dr. Arun Pasrija (President, TiE Houston) then addressed the crowd with a little background of TiE. This year they are proud to celebrate their 25th anniversary. With the focus of being dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship TiE has grown to over 11,000 members and 2800 charter members throughout 58 countries. Charter Members, who are successful entrepreneurs and/or business executives, make the pillars of each chapters. They commit their time to help next generation of entrepreneurs – a “leveraged give back” which creates jobs, economic activities and wealth in the community.  Houston chapter has a strong and vibrant charter member community helping meet’s TiE’s mission and making it a meaningful part of Houston’s start up eco system. Dr. Pasrija was also proud to announce the appointment of charter member Juan Arjona to TiE Houston board. Juan is currently the Senior Business Development and New Ventures Manager for TechnipFMC and the Vice President of The Colombia Texas Chamber of Commerce. He will be hosting the next Charter Member lunch in November.

The highlight of the evening was the hour long panel discussion. With an open forum the audience was able to ask and receive the answers to a wide variety of topics revolving around Houston’s commercial real estate. Is investing in real estate as risky as people make it out to be? Did hurricane Harvey impact the market as heavily as some news stories would have you believe? Can retail space survive the boom of online marketplace? How does one even get started in investing in commercial real estate?

Howard Rambin of Moody Rambin answered the first question with an analogy that most of us could understand. He said “The security of real estate is that no one can toss it in the back of a pickup truck and steal it” but cautioned that in his decades long involvement in this space he’s seen the devastation the market can cause when investors are not prepared to ride inevitable rise and fall. His best piece of advice? Diversify. Leo Womack, Gulf Equities Realty Corp., echoed Howard’s advice and added the importance of being aware of the boom. Trends cause great excitement in any industry but it’s important to understand the actual potential long term sustainability. This allows any investor to understand how aggressive they should be prepared to get in and out before the bubble bursts. Finally, Ricardo Rivas, Allied Orion Group helped put a lot of rumors to rest. Being that Allied is the second largest property management company in Houston he’s learned a thing or two since joining them in 2001. He stressed the importance of strategy when making a decision as to how one chooses to enter into commercial real estate and being adequately prepared to stay in for the long haul.

Jiten Karnani wrapped up the evening’s event by sharing encouraging trends and newly formed resources for those looking to get into the market. He also put out a call to action from the audience to help create an even stronger support structure to put Houston on the map for its commercial real estate right along with oil & gas, medical, and technology. Having not been able to get to all of the questions the audience was prepared to ask, don’t be surprised if a follow up event is announced.

TiE Houston is an active chapter hosting a variety of events throughout the year covering a variety of topics that impact the entrepreneurial community. Their next event is a “How to pitch to investors” workshop in partnership with the Houston Technology Center (HTC).

For more information please visit www.houston.tie.org.