The FORT Podcast: Adam Blake

Adam Blake is a real estate and technology entrepreneur that has started, scaled, and exited multiple ventures and private equity-backed companies. He and Chris met early in their studies at Texas Christian University as they developed their own real estate careers.  Adam has played a huge role in Chris’s life as he served as the inspiration and provided the mentorship that led Chris to make his first real estate purchase during his freshman year at TCU.  They have since held a close relationship over the last 16 years.  On this pod, they talk about Adam building his first real estate company in college, his first million dollar deal, pivoting into Solar software, the process of exiting multiple companies, and his thoughts on a future with COVID-19.

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02:05 — Adam’s Story and What Lead Him to Be an Entrepreneur
06:32 — Adam’s Father and The Impact His Death Had on Him
07:38 — How did your first real estate company come together while you were at TCU?
11:08 — When was the first time you did a deal that made you a significant amount of money?
12:34 — How did you raise the money for that deal at only 18 years old?
13:34 — Adam’s Experience Winning The Global Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award & Meeting Chris Powers
15:41 — Adam’s First Million Dollar Deal
17:18 — Adam’s Journey Through The ’08 Recession and His Success Through a Dallas Condo Deal
21:31 — Moving to Kansas City and Pivoting Away From Real Estate and Into the Solar industry
23:51 — What did you like about the solar industry and what was your experience like growing & exiting this company?
28:50 — You started building software at Brightergy yet how does a non-technically oriented leader create a software culture?
32:32 — Why did you exit the solar industry? What mistakes were made during this process that you’ll never forget?
37:23 — Is there anything you would’ve done differently in the selling process?
39:16 — How did you get the inspiration for your next company, Zego?
42:10 — What made you decide to sell Zego at an early stage?
46:05 — Should more people take the route you did in selling Zego?
47:57 — What is it about Vista that makes them such a great PE company?
49:17 — How do you develop an “awesome” product?
50:52 — How has your perspective changed over time with a wife, 4 children, and a son with Autism?
53:58 — Adam’s Son
56:17 — Adam’s Core Values in His Weekly Rundown and How He Came Up With This Concept
58:36 — Whar are you thinking, seeing, and feeling right now as it relates to the COVID-19 situation?
1:01:49 — What do you see happening for yourself in the next year?
1:06:05 — Does this give you a different perspective as to what your next career move will be?

Episode Summary

Adam’s journey, marked by grit, persistence, and a passion for real estate, offers valuable insights for both seasoned professionals and newcomers to the industry.

Adam began his foray into real estate right out of college, with his initial experiences rooted in the multifamily real estate sector. His entry into senior housing was not immediate but came from recognizing the sector’s unique challenges and potential. He painted a vivid picture of the complexities associated with senior housing, emphasizing that its operational and management aspects set it apart from other real estate categories.

One of the pivotal discussions revolved around technology’s role in senior housing. Adam firmly believes in leveraging technology to enhance operational efficiency and improve resident experiences. The conversation underscored the transformative power of tech solutions, especially in an era where digital transformation is reshaping industries.

Financial intricacies of senior housing also took center stage. As Adam pointed out, while the sector is rife with investment potential, it’s not without its risks. A crucial determinant of a facility’s success is its location, which plays a pivotal role in investment decisions.

Adam’s company’s growth trajectory offers a testament to his strategic acumen. The podcast touched upon the strategies that propelled their growth, with a special focus on partnerships and collaborations. For Adam, building a company is not just about expanding its footprint but also about fostering a culture that resonates with its core values.

The conversation inevitably gravitated towards the post-COVID-19 real estate landscape. The pandemic has been a disruptive force, necessitating businesses to adapt and evolve. Adam and Chris delved into the emerging opportunities in the senior housing sector, with Adam offering a nuanced perspective on market dynamics and areas ripe for growth.

A significant portion of the dialogue revolved around the importance of adaptability. In a sector as dynamic as real estate, the ability to stay agile and updated is paramount. Adam’s anecdotes served as a reminder that technology is not just a tool but a catalyst that ensures adaptability.

No conversation with a seasoned professional like Adam would be complete without touching upon personal growth. Adam spoke warmly of the mentors who shaped his journey and the invaluable lessons he imbibed from them. For him, the path to success is paved with continuous learning and a relentless drive to forge meaningful connections in the industry.

Adam’s parting advice for aspiring real estate professionals was a blend of wisdom and experience. He emphasized the virtues of perseverance, curiosity, and the insatiable thirst for learning. The future of senior housing, as per the discussion, is teeming with potential, waiting to be harnessed by those willing to dive deep and explore its depths.

The FORT is produced by Straight Up Podcasts

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