How important are relationships to your investment success? To Kelvin Beachum, the starting offensive tackle for the New York Jets, it was all he needed to break into the tech space and become an angel investor to some of today’s most innovative startups.
It all started when Kelvin’s friend and AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan advised him against getting an MBA and focus instead on a different path to business knowledge. This would lead Kelvin to Silicon Valley, where he would forge relationships that would lead to unexpected opportunities.
You won’t want to miss Kelvin’s stories about breaking into the tech space, finding great mentors, and what he considers the most important quality investors need to succeed.
- Are you structuring your day to achieve your goals? Kelvin gives us an inside look at how he prioritizes his daily tasks to stay focused on what matters.
- Kelvin shares an unconventional approach to learning business that was better for him than getting an MBA at Carnegie Mellon.
- Kelvin identifies the two biggest factors that helped him break into the world of venture capital that you can apply right away to any investment asset class.
- The single biggest quality you need to look for in mentees before you even think about taking one on...and it’s got nothing to do with “credentials”.
- Why professional athletes make great investors and what you can learn from them. Chances are you have this skill yourself and haven’t seen the parallel to the investment world.
Real Crowd - All opinions expressed by Adam, Tyler, and podcast guests are solely their own opinions, and do not reflect the opinion of Real Crowd. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and should not be relied upon as a basis for investment decisions. To gain a better understanding of the risks associated with commercial real estate investing, please consult your advisors.
Tyler Stewart - Hey listeners, Tyler here. I wanted to make a quick announcement. We've just launched a brand new educational course called Real Crowd University. This is a six week course on the fundamentals of commercial real estate investing. In this course, you will learn the start with risk approach, how to evaluate real estate sponsors, what to look for in the legal documents, what questions to ask about a deal, and much, much more. Real Crowd University is completely free. Just head to realcrowduniversity.com to get started. That's realcrowduniversity.com, thanks, and I hope to see you there!
Adam Hooper - Hey Tyler!
Tyler Stewart - Hey Adam, how are you today?
Adam Hooper - You know, I'm doing pretty good.
Tyler Stewart - Oh you are, why?
Adam Hooper - I am, well, we got a little new thing we're doing today.
Tyler Stewart - Oh, what's that?
Adam Hooper - We're going to do a new little side series that we're going to call Becoming Great.
Tyler Stewart - Becoming Great--
Adam Hooper - Becoming Great. We've realized that this podcast has afforded us a pretty unique opportunity to talk to a lot of people that have achieved great things in one way or another, whether it's inside the real estate industry, investing or otherwise. I've always been fascinated with people's stories, and I think this is a unique opportunity for us to help people kind of tell their story. What makes them great?
Tyler Stewart - Share their dream.
Adam Hooper - Yeah, we'll learn a little bit along the way.
Tyler Stewart - Absolutely.
Adam Hooper - So who do we have on today?
Tyler Stewart - Today we have Kelvin Beachum, starting tackle for the New York Jets.
Adam Hooper - And, Kelvin Beachum III also made little cameo.
Tyler Stewart - He did, he did. He's a little star in his own right.
Adam Hooper - This is the first of, what we plan to do, multiple guest side podcasts with helping people tell their story, what can we learn from them. Kelvin's had a very interesting sort of coming from the sports world, and now he's super into investing in technology companies. And not just at a service level, I mean, he is in it.
Tyler Stewart - He is in it. He is in Silicon Valley, New York, Texas, he's all over the map, he's traveled in Japan to learn more about investing, he is absolutely in it.
Adam Hooper - Yeah, and some of the points that he brought up today that listeners will learn, I think he had a special emphasis on the importance of relationships. A lot of times that is what makes people great. Is right, the people that we surround ourselves with, the networks that we build, also how do we give back, right? How do we add value to those relationships, it can't just be a one way thing, you've got to give back too.
Tyler Stewart - That's right, yeah. His whole journey was he had great mentors around him. He got to a place where he wanted to be. And now he's using his platform to mentor others and help them get to where they want to be.
Adam Hooper - I think my biggest take away from today is do the hard work.
Tyler Stewart - Yeah, it's not easy.
Adam Hooper - There's no substitute.
Tyler Stewart - There is no substitute. Do the hard work, and know what you enjoy. Do the hard work towards what you enjoy.
Adam Hooper - Perfect. I think that's enough of us talking. Let's get to Kelvin.
Tyler Stewart - Let's do it.
Adam Hooper - Alright, as always, if you got any questions or comments, let us know what you think about this episode Becoming Great send us an email to email@example.com. And with that, let's get to it.
Real Crowd - This podcast is brought to you by Real Crowd, the leader in online real estate investing. Visit realcrowd.com to learn more about how we provide our members with direct access to commercial real estate investments. Don't forget to subscribe to the podcast in iTunes, Google Music, or Spotify. Real Crowd, invest smarter.
Adam Hooper - Well Kelvin, thanks for joining us today. We hear a little baby in the background there, you got another guest with us?
Kelvin Beachum - Yes, this is Kelvin Lee Beachum, III.
Adam Hooper - Nice.
Kelvin Beachum - So trying to keep the legacy going, man.
Adam Hooper - Good deal. Well Kelvin, where are you joining us from today?
Tyler Stewart - Joining you from Chandler, Arizona, out here at my house in Arizona.
Adam Hooper - Nice, you've got a little better weather than we've got here in Portland, it's a little rainy, a little cloudy today.
Kelvin Beachum - Man, it's beautiful here man, 89 degrees, clear skis, light little breeze, so, can't beat it.
Adam Hooper - Nice. Well let's take us a little bit back. Where did you grow up and how did you get into sports?
Kelvin Beachum - So, I grew up in Mexia, Texas, about an hour-and-a-half South of Dallas. About 7,500 people in the small town of Mexia, sports was just a part of life, sports and faith, that was just what we did as a family. Either basketball or football, or for my siblings, my younger siblings, they ran track and played baseball. So, sports was very integral in my life and bringing us all together, then also, the country life, there's not a lot to do, so... So, outside of cattle and gardening and country, and kind of just doing country stuff, sports is all the other option you got.
Tyler Stewart - Now I heard, is it true, are there more cattle than people in your town?
Kelvin Beachum - I would say so, man. I will say so, there may not, it may not, I know they got the new census that they're doing right now, so... So, I don't know what the new census would say, but man, we got a lot of cattle in Texas.
Adam Hooper - And then was football always your main sport, or did you play a lot of sports growing up and just kind of got into that?
Kelvin Beachum - Man, my first sport, man, my first love was actually basketball, which I still love to this day. But I was a little too short, man. Wanted to be a professional basketball player growing up, my idols were on the basketball court, were Shaquille O'Neal, Tim Duncan, David Robertson, Alonzo Mourning. Those are my idols growing up from a basketball standpoint. But, was told that I couldn't play ball, well, I could still play, it's just like the options were a lot limited as far as scholarships, I knew that football was a better option and took that route and here I am today.
Adam Hooper - And that was what took you to SMU.
Kelvin Beachum - That's what took me to SMU, man. So I started to get serious about my sophomore year of college, I mean, of high school, and then started getting some offers after the first couple games of my junior year. Then my senior year came, and had a chance to go to a visit to SMU as a first of many. I didn't know any better. And they said if we offer you a scholarship, you can't go take any official visits at any other schools. Coming from the country, we didn't know any better. So, we're in the car and my mom pretty much turned around and said you're going to SMU. That's where I ended up going to school.
Adam Hooper - And there you are.
Tyler Stewart - And then, you didn't just play football at SMU. You were pretty involved with the school, right?
Kelvin Beachum - Yeah, very involved, very involved. So, I was on the football team as a three-year starter, and then was involved as the President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, served there and I also served in the conference level and the national levels of the National Sack Committee. But was very involved on campus, Student Affairs, was on the Student Affairs Leadership Council, the Commission of Substance Abuse on campus, Black Men Emerging, African American Student Association on campus, Fellowship of Christian Athletes on campus, Student Trustee to the Board of Trustees, so I was pretty involved in campus while I was on campus there at SMU.
Adam Hooper - And you were also Team Captain of the squad, right?
Kelvin Beachum - Of the football team, yes 'sir. Last three years there.
Adam Hooper - And this is something, we want to kind of continue this thread through your leadership, mentorship, and you know, going beyond just getting through it, right? Has it always been something inherent in you, or did you have to work on that quality? Or is that just who you are?
Kelvin Beachum - I think I've had to work on it, but I've had great people around me that has guided me to those areas. So, even when I was in high school, I was apart of the Multicultural Student Body there, and the head ISD. I was in the band, played the quads in the band while I--
Tyler Stewart - Fellow band nerd here. I was a trumpet man myself.
Kelvin Beachum - Awesome, awesome, you know how it is! So, you know, just always been involved with multiple things, growing up my dad worked on cars full time, but he was also referee and also our summer league basketball coach. Mother worked as a behavior therapist at a state institution in our home town, but was also our basketball coach and served on the school board there in Mexia ISD. But dad was also on the city council of Mexia. So, just cut from a family where you had to multi-task. You had to wear multiple hats. As I got into high school or college and now professional, National Football League, and started to do some things off the field I've had people who have guided me to different positions, leadership positions, and also been mentors along the way to help diversity just my interests and also some of the paths that I'm going on right now.
Adam Hooper - That's a lot to juggle. I mean, how, time management, that's something that we all could be better at, right? How do you, do you have any tips, or skills that you use? How do you prioritize these things? How do you find the right balance or harmony of all these different ways you're being pulled?
Kelvin Beachum - I actually wear a shirt that says, pretty much my priorities, very regularly, especially when I'm flying, that says, God, family first, and then football. First and foremost is my relationship with Christ and my family's relationship with Christ, and how I'm leading them to Christ. Then it's actually my family, so make sure I'm taking care of my family, because at the end of the day, they're the only people that really matter when I'm doing playing ball, or if I'm done investing, or being in venture, or running cattle, or any of that stuff. At the end of the day, it's all about my family. Then I get to football. I've started learning that time management when I was a kid, man. My dad was a stickler about time, and he was like time is money, and money is time. It came to a point especially when I got into college I got to a point where I was doing something every hour on the hour. When I got into the pros and you know, those same things existed, and our schedule was very structured. We're usually always on somebody's clock, and I've kind of taken that approach myself. Even now, during the off-season, which is kind of my time, but I still structure it like I need to have it, so this morning my calls started at 8:00. I had a call from 8:00 to 8:30, another one from 8:30 to 9:00, another one while I was driving from 9:00 to 9:20--
Adam Hooper - Wow.
Kelvin Beachum - I started warming up for my workout at 9:30. We started at 10:00, I finished at 11:00. I hung around for about 15 minutes. Stopped by to pick up some food, got to the house, showered, had a call at 12:00, and started treatments. Had a treatment going on while I'm doing this podcast. You know, this podcast is from 12:30 to 1:30, and then I think I have one more call today, and then the rest of the day is free, and then I head to Punta Cana with my wife tonight.
Tyler Stewart - Wow, is this a typical day for you?
Kelvin Beachum - This is typical, bro. This is typical, man. Just had my boys, my former teammates coming in the house, they're going to get treatment too, man. You stay right there on the streets and you didn't even know that, you know. So, you know, playing with a couple of these guys in Pittsburgh. One of 'em is in Buffalo right now, and the other one is in, is a free agent right now. So, man, this is my life, man. Holding my son while all this is all happening.
Adam Hooper - That's a busy schedule. You got to keep the discipline and that going, right?
Kelvin Beachum - Very disciplined, very disciplined.
Adam Hooper - So let's switch over into this path you've gone down in the investment world. I mean, how did you get into that? What triggered that? Has it always been an interest, or passion? Or how did that come about?
Kelvin Beachum - It started when I was in Pittsburgh. Well Steve, I was going to get my MBA from Carnegie Mellon, And I had a guy over at AT&T named John Donovan, who's one of the CEO's over there currently. He told me to not get my MBA, so I didn't. Started looking at tech. Started exploring the different worlds in which you can do business, and that's kind of where it started. Superbowl happened in 2015, went out there and got to see Silicon Valley from a different standpoint. Saw how they did the venture, how startups were coming about. Got to see Facebook before they had the scandal. Got to see Uber before they have to scandal, all the scandals coming out. Got to see Instagram before they got bought, and Oculus before they got bought, Snapchat before they got bought. So, got to see these startups from the inside out years ago. Then I made my own personal investment into a fund called Next Play Capital which was started by Ronnie Lott. in Dallas, and it's third iteration, Ryan Nece is the managing partner now. Made my first investment in 2016, and now we're in 18. Played a year in Jackson, now in New York and things have really blew up there in New York just being in the second neck of the world.
Tyler Stewart - I can hear it in your voice--
Kelvin Beachum - Second neck of the world.
Tyler Stewart - I can hear in your voice that there's excitement about investing. What is it about investing and tech that's really exciting to you?
Kelvin Beachum - It's fun. It's all about people. At the end of the day, especially in early stage, it's all about the people. It's all about the relationships. When those relationships come to fruition, whether it's a failed startup or not, those relationships come back to play down the road. You don't know when it will come back to play, but if you just build those relationships and have no agenda, and just build authentic and genuine relationships, those things come back to play and come back to help you out down the road.
Adam Hooper - Yeah, I think that's something that we started at Real Crowd, coming from the real estate industry, very much a relationship business, and I echo that entirely. The ability to build those relationships and foster those relationships. I think that's both of the double edged swords of technology, right? You can make these relationships so much easier to form, but it also can kind of remove some of that personal nature from it, which I know is important to you, right? I think you've been very involved with learning industry and finding mentors in the technology industry on the investment side. How have you gone about finding those mentors or seeking them out to learn from them in this industry?
Kelvin Beachum - For one, cold calling . I think that's the ability that we as professional athletes have that others don't have is we can just say hey, I'm starting left tackle for the New York Jets, I would love to have a 20 minute conversation with you. Most times they're going to say yes, here's my assistant, book some time for us, you know? It's as easy as that. Then once you get in the door, you can surprise that when you know, venture capitalists or founders get to know you they introduce you to their friends, their friends will introduce you to their friends, and it just continues to go on from there. Then when you start building a good reputation, a good name for yourself, people want to be around you. When that happens, that's when you have to really learn how to say no. It goes with the conversation of time management, 'cause you can't be there for everybody, but you realize how to best serve those who you really care about and who really care about you.
Tyler Stewart - Who are some of those mentors that have really had an impact on your investing career?
Kelvin Beachum - I think first and foremost, I think my dad has been super helpful even though he does nothing in venture, but he's an entrepreneur and just his big thing was always saving money. You can't go make money if you don't have money. So, you have to save to start off. Then I have people like Chris Lowe, who was the CFO for the athletic department there at SMU. I sat down with him many times while I was at SMU. Paul Lloyd, who's a huge oil and gas guy down in the Dallas area. John Donovan, who's there at AT&T currently. Ryan Nece. Josh Kopelman over at First Round Capital who's been super helpful. A guy by the name of Martin Garrison there out of New York, co-founder of GLG, a networking platform. Jason Shoeman who actually runs his family office has been great. I've gotten to know David Falco over at General Catalysts. I actually did an externship over at Kleiner Perkins earlier this year which was great. Actually was on the phone with Mamoon yesterday with one of the new GP's over there, got to sit down with Ted, and sit down Eric who's a GP over that way. So, I mean, the list can go on and on. Tyson Clark over at Google Ventures, Shaun McGuire over at Google Ventures.
Adam Hooper - So I mean, you found a way to truly emersed yourself in this, this isn't just kind of a dabble of the toes. You're in it.
Kelvin Beachum - Oh no, no, no. I'm in it, man. And in it on both coasts. So, it's great to be in New York, so I do a lot in New York. During the off-season, it's kind of what's great about living here in Arizona, I can easily get to LA, easily get to San Diego, easily get to San Francisco or Seattle which is where a lot of stuff in tech is actually happening. Then, what's great about it, is I still have relationships in Texas with my alma mater being, what's starting to happen in Texas with the revitalation of Austin, starting to become a little tech hub and SxSW. Able to still have my roots there in Texas. I'm in three great markets in Texas, New York, and in San Francisco getting out there a couple times a year. I got people all over the place that help me. Then starting to build internationally as well. I have invested in some international plays, so very good relationship with Blackbird Ventures out of Australia, Owl Crout which is an investment platform out of Israel, have started to build good relationships with a couple friends in Laylis, Nigera, as well as Dubai, and Saudi Arabia. Was actually going over to Tokyo, Shazin, and Japan next year to build some relationships there, and better serve those internationalists. So, this is a long game man, I'm not in it just to say hey, I'm an athlete that invests in tech, but somebody that believes this is something that I can do long-term, and it's not just something to help out my portfolio and generate income.
Kelvin Beachum - But also, this is something I can see myself doing when I'm done playing ball.
Tyler Stewart - That's awesome, and you've surrounded yourself with great minds all around the world. What are some of the key fundamentals you've learned from these minds in regards to investing?
Kelvin Beachum - I think one, one, it always goes back to the relationships. That's key. It's crazy that it's something the Bible principles that go into it that I feel. The Bible talks about a good name is relatively to be chosen in riches and glory. And sometimes when you have a good name, that's enough to get you on your feet, get you in the hot seat, enough to get you in the door. I think that's so important. So I think number one is relationships, and then I think number two is how do you add value? How do you truly add value? As an athlete, especially getting into this thing for the first time, it's learning how do I add value? How do you add value as an investor? How do people truly consider you a value add investor.
Adam Hooper - One of the things I think is hard for people to do, is when you're getting into something new, being humble enough to accept that you don't know what you don't know, right?
Kelvin Beachum - Exactly.
Adam Hooper - So how did that process look like? Right, I mean again, we're in a real estate investment platform ourselves. For a lot of people, this is the first time they might have access to this asset class. What was your strategy for getting to figuring out what the right questions are to ask of how do you add the value, and how do you find these deals, or look at this whole new asset class as a strategy?
Kelvin Beachum - I think the first thing is, I don't know. When I was going into venture and I'm starting to venture to real estate now is, being cool with saying I don't know. I don't know the answers, I don't know who the best people are, I don't know who to start with, I don't know who to trust yet. Just be cool with saying you don't know. 'Cause sometimes if you don't know, you just don't know. I think being willing to do the hard work. As an athlete sometimes, we've had to work so hard to get to where we're at today, that we forget we have to work really hard, we started at the bottom and now we're finally at a point where we can consider ourselves professionals. We're going into markets where people have been doing this for 30 or 40 years. They have to chop wood for a long time before they got to their level. So, somebody to come into a new industry, you have to be willing to chop wood and eat dirt for a little while before you get to the point where you can consider yourself a professional. So they go hand in hand.
Adam Hooper - I think that's a great point: do the hard work. We are five years into this startup journey ourselves, and we're still doing hard work. It doesn't get any easier, it just gets different, right?
Kelvin Beachum - I know, exactly. Man, I had to workout today, and my trainer still showing some flaws in my set, still showing some flaws on how I'm distributing force through the ground, and how I'm putting my foot in the dirt. He's still showing some of those flaws, and this is seven years in, and I'm just now getting to the point where my stance is right, you know what I'm saying? So, it takes time. Me and my trainer was talking about that today in the weight room, like, some people think that I do this work out, this work out, and alright, and I got it. I got it in six weeks. Man, this has been six years and I'm just now getting to the point where my stance is consistent. I'm able to replicate my stance, I'm able to put force in the ground, and have my shoulders roll back the right way my body fat is where it needs to be, and my body composition is where it needs to be. It's taken me seven years to get to that point.
Real Crowd - Thanks again for listening to the Real Crowd podcast. If you like what you're hearing, please visit realcrowd.com to learn more and subscribe at iTunes, Google Music, and Spotify? Work hard, invest smarter.
Adam Hooper - So I want to take you back to a comment you made earlier, and kind of see if you can contrast the Bay Area vibe, the Texas vibe, and the New York vibe. We started our company down in Palo Alto, and there's just this, the energy there, and the people and there's this slight delusion of belief that they will actually change the world, and that's what drives people to go out and do this. Do you see that consistent across the industry, across geographies, or is that something fairly unique there? Can you kind of take us through what you found just from a, I guess, environment? What are your differences between how you'd approach something in the Bay Area verses Texas versus New York or international even, I guess.
Kelvin Beachum - Yep, so, when I think about how I approach things in the Valley, man, you think about just what you wearing. You can wear a t-shirt and pants and be just fine in the Valley. You can't wear t-shirt and pants in New York. You got to at least put a coat on. A sports blazer on or something. If you're in Texas, you got to look somewhat dapper when you go into a meeting. So each particular location has it's own vibe. I would say in the Valley, people are much more willing to help you than they are in Texas and New York, because that's just what you do in the Valley. It's all about how can I help you and how can I serve you. Once you're blacklisted, you're blacklisted. That's just how it is. I think in Texas, just because in Texas it's oil and gas has been the predominant industry there for so many years and real estate as well, is that you do have to know people 10, 15 years before they ever let you in their house to have dinner, you know what I'm saying? In San Francisco, you can meet somebody three times and then in four months you're sitting down going to the kids's game. It's just a different vibe. Then in New York just because of how fast paced New York is, you will see people in many different, I think it's many different places in New York, and most people stay in their own little silos. If you're in Manhattan, you're in Manhattan. If you're in Brooklyn, you're in Brooklyn. If you're in upper East Side, upper West Side, whatever
Kelvin Beachum - they call it, I don't even know 'em yet, they just stay in their own little silos. But once you get in, you're in there in New York, and once you're in with the right people, those people will take care of you. Martin Garrison, who I mentioned earlier, started going over to dinner with him, me and my wife and my family actually look forward to Friday night dinners and having Shabbat at his house over on Fridays. So you get exposed to so many different things, but each particular location has it's own little vibe.
Adam Hooper - I think what you mentioned there, one thing that actually shocks me when you're over there is there's a genuine intention behind how can I help you. Everyone does ask how can I help, and it's not just lip service, it's actually the genuine. I think that was something refreshing I didn't expect when we started the company down there that has been hugely helpful for us, and something that we always want to try to continue to pass along as well.
Kelvin Beachum - Right, that's what I told 'em, it's just different out that way.
Adam Hooper - And getting to that, right, I mean, the mentors that you surround yourself obviously have been very helpful to you. Is that something that you're now starting to kind of pass on as a mentor yourself?
Kelvin Beachum - Yes, for sure. I was talking to some people from a non-profit earlier today, the National Society of Black Engineers, and I was telling them, I'm like, I've given my number to many people, kids, young people, but at the end of the day you have to have initiative. With every person that I've mentioned, I've reached out and I've made sure that that relationship has stayed strong. When it's strong, it becomes mutual on both ends of the spectrum. I think when you're also mentoring somebody, they also have to take that initiative as well. So, that's one thing that I'm trying to make sure that the people that I'm mentoring think about that as well. Like, you have my number, but you also got to reach out to me. It becomes mutual. It's been something that I've continued to work on, but it's more of a younger crowd, like, I'm going into like, middle school and high school, and reach even lower to make sure that they're more than willing, more than capable, going in the right direction. It pertains to people in the venture ecosystem which is just founders. Founders that are younger than I am, how can I be helpful? How can I show you, or help you, kind of tread to the new territory a different way if you're going out and raising. Who you going to be raising from, who you need to be talking to when you're raising. All those different things. But that comes from what I've learned and what I've been able to sow that into some of the young founders that are now hitting the pavement.
Adam Hooper - And what is, what is a typical cadence for you when you're talking to your mentors in the industries, and what do you try to set up, do you try to have a regular check in with folks that you're mentoring?
Kelvin Beachum - Every six weeks. So, most times every six weeks. So, and if it's somebody that I know is making some moves or moving fast much like is happening in venture spaces, every four weeks. So, most CEO's that I'm talking to in the corporate sector are more every six weeks unless we have each other's cells. And usually during football season I hear a lot more from them because they're talking about what team I'm playing for, and if I'm playing against their team. So it's a little bashing that happens go on. A CEO that's a big Steeler's fan, so when I left Pittsburgh he was talking about how big of a mistake it was. When they didn't make the playoffs, I shot him a text and was giving them a hard time. So just friendly conversation that happens there. But, over the phone, most likely it's every four weeks, and every four to six weeks pretty much. And like I said, texting and social media has given way to other opportunities to stay connected to those mentors. Following them on Instagram, seeing how their kids are doing, most people are posting about their kids and stuff, so you have the ability to look at people in multiple ways like it used to be, write a letter or something and hope they get it, and hope they write you back. You can get somebody on Instagram and they can respond now in a couple seconds most likely. So you never know.
Tyler Stewart - Then with those conversations you have with your mentors outside of the trash talk, what does that conversation look like? Is there accountability there? How's that conversation go?
Kelvin Beachum - For instance like I said, and and Mammoon was, we talked yesterday, and I just asking him what is he looking for in the people that he's hiring? So for instance if I was operating at one point in time, I would have knew, okay, what type of people do I need to be looking at from an ionic stand point. And then I also ask him, you know, what are some of the things he looks for founders, 'cause everybody's different about how they approach founders and what they're looking for in founders. So, I always love to hear people's views on what they see, and then sometimes he'll throw in a deal that he's looking at and I tell him the deal I'm looking at. We'll walk through some highlights and low lights of a particular deal, and then you just kind of go from there. Each person is different though. Each person's different. Had a CEO that was here in America, they just got promoted to a VP position globally and now is being moved to Tokyo. And when I heard about the news, I called him immediately, he was like man, Beachum, I was going to call you soon! I didn't forget about you! We ended up talking for like 30 minutes. So, that's why I'm going to Tokyo next year.
Tyler Stewart - That's awesome, and then what's the conversation like in the locker room? Is there a wealth management component to the conversation there?
Kelvin Beachum - The league and the NFL PA has done a phenomenal job with trying to put resources into play for guys to take advantage of. And then again, it goes back to the conversations I had earlier with making sure that we as athletes have to take initiative to utilize those resources. But, there is wealth management, wealth creation, preservation of loyal conversations that happen, as well as opportunities for players to actually get involved with different causes across the league that the NFL and NFL PA has provided. So there are those opportunities but at the end of the day it is up to the player himself to engage with those different programs.
Adam Hooper - And it's like you said before, right? You make yourself available, but someone still has to take the initiative to you become a mentee, right? Are there certain qualities that you are looking for when you are trying to find people as mentees? Are you open for anybody as long as they are showing the initiative? You know, to help them out how you can?
Kelvin Beachum - Yep, exactly. But I think, how much do you value your time? Are you on time, and do you value other people's times? If you're suppose to be on a call at 12:30, do you call in at 12:30? Or do you call in at 12:33? If you call in at 12:33, then you may not be the person for me. Can I depend on you? I think about, it's just like playing football. When I'm playing ball, I want my left guard to be able to take care of me. I want to be able to take care of my left guard. Can my left guard depend that I'm going to have my eyes in the right place at the right point in time? So just being dependable. I think those same qualities go over in a founder. Are you willing to sacrifice? Do you have perseverance? Can you balance? Can you multi-task?
Adam Hooper - I think it's an interesting parallel, right? Your team on the field, you got to trust those guys. Right, I mean, you got to trust everybody to have their role figured out so you can be career as a team. I think there's a very similar parallel both in start-ups and in real estate. We just had Justin Palmer on a recent episode, and we talked about the stakeholders and the need to manage the team to execute on these projects, whether it's on the field, whether it's in a startup, or whether it's in a real estate development. Have you seen that thread kind of continue out through your team of mentors, and the groups that you're working with? How strong is that parallel?
Kelvin Beachum - Very strong. I think that's what makes athletes good investors, good entrepreneurs, just great people in general. There are a couple bad apples that happen from time to time, but, through and through, I just think athletes are very, very driven and very knowledgeable in what it takes to be successful. Tthey're able to apply those same principals in every walk of life.
Adam Hooper - I think there's a lot of our listeners on the podcast here that are very successful in their own right. Whatever that might have been to get them to the stage that they're at right now where they can come and make these investments. Do you have any advice in how they can make themselves available if they want to be mentors or if they want to take on somebody under their wing? How does that process look? How do they make themselves available to the broadest spectrum to be able to give back?
Kelvin Beachum - I think one of them is being a thought leader within your particular network in your sphere. If you have expertise, or domain expertise, talk about it. There are many different platforms that you can do that. Still the traditional media, newspapers, magazines that can be used. But you can also go into LinkedIn, or Twitter, and be able to command, I guess, intellectual property that is yours that you can bring to the table. That's great. But it's being able to use that, and you'd be surprised how many people actually reach out to you to ask to be mentored, or for advice. I think that's how it all starts. It starts with having the ability to talk about what you know, know about, and also talk about what you don't know about and what you're currently working on.
Adam Hooper - Then mentorship and philanthropy, you have similar traits, right? You're giving back weather it's to the individual or to communities. You're pretty involved in philanthropy as well, right?
Kelvin Beachum - Mmmhmm, very involved. So I've been doing, one has been ending hunger, both domestic and world wide. I've been doing Hunger Works since I was in high school, did it while I was in college with the North Texas Food Bank, and now I'm on a much larger scale with Feeding America, World Vision, and Braille for the World on the hunger side, and then on the STEM side which is kind of connected to tech in a sense, I've been working with Cheveron and American Airlines, having conversations with AT&T, working with a couple non-profits and co.org, which is building communities where computer sciences is really put on the forefront of education, especially as tech is transforming the world you got to have computer scientists and computer engineers that are really changing the digital revolution. But those non-profits, and some of them are for-profits that are doing a great job of just preparing you know, use for the next generation. Holberton School which is a great school there in San Francisco, Lamba School which is another school but is down from a distance built up on helping the computer scientist space. Insight Data Science which is pretty much building PhD's to be able to go into highly technical careers--
Adam Hooper - We're actually hiring a data scientist right now that is in the current cohort of Insight Data Science ourselves.
Kelvin Beachum - Wow! There you go!
Adam Hooper - Yeah, fellow Y Combinator company, give them a little plug here on the podcast.
Kelvin Beachum - Exactly, exactly. Y Combinator is great. Great, great company. It's all just being connected. I see what I look at my platform, the things that I involve myself in are all connected whether it's hunger, STEM, or tech. You look at the hunger space and you see, you got Impossible Foods that's a great company out there that's changing the way burgers are made.
Adam Hooper - Well, that's okay, let's pause right there. Let's get your take on that. 'Cause there's a couple restaurants here in Portland that have 'em, we've had 'em, what's your take on this?
Kelvin Beachum - I love 'em! Actually, I'm having them come down to my football camp. They're supplying, having them come down and provide burgers for all of my players that come down this year.
Adam Hooper - Awesome.
Kelvin Beachum - And actually just had them connected, just had a call with them in the Jets a couple days ago to see how, to see if players would be able to tell the difference in a regular burger and their burger.
Adam Hooper - Interesting.
Kelvin Beachum - But I know that people who know the space a lot better are not really high on them because you have people like Deon Meats that's doing a great job. So there's a couple of them in the space that are, have that alternative meat, alternative meat space, vegan space, that follow a lot closer than I do. But, from the tech standpoint, Impossible Foods is doing some phenomenal things. Sustainability to go into Third World Countries and be able to be used especially with the small amount of water that's being used to make those burgers.
Adam Hooper - I think a bigger picture in philanthropy it seems like most, most people have this, you at some point want to make it. That's when I'll start giving back.
Tyler Stewart - When I have the money, when I have the free time, that's when I'll start giving back.
Adam Hooper - Right, if there's anything we've learned so far in our brief chat today, if anyone is pressed for time, it's going to be you. How do you find the time? You just have to make it a priority?
Kelvin Beachum - You make it, man, the thing is, you make time for what you care about at the end of the day. If it's something you care about, you make time for it. It's not something that I do 24/7. I go and volunteer at the food bank six times a year most likely. About three times during the season when I'm there in New York or whatever location I'm at. I had my football camp during the off-season. Where I'm being able to impact young people. Trying to get 500 kids into camp, make sure that it's free. Free to the kids, no person has to pay for their camp, they just come and enjoy. Have backpacks that we give away. It's done on my time. But, it's something that, it's a way in which I'm able to give back. I have a STEM camp where I immerse the entire district of Mexia in STEM activities, and STEM disciplines, but it's done kind of in my time. But it's being able to think about what is it that you want to do and then structure it where you can be there and also feel the impact and influence that you're able to give young people in communities that you care about.
Tyler Stewart - Yes, just put it on your calender and do it! It sounds like.
Kelvin Beachum - Exactly! Very simple, do it like Nike says, just do it!
Adam Hooper - How do people make themselves available to become a mentor, how would you suggest people who are interested in giving back, again, you know before that mythical date in the future when they've quote on quote made it, how do you get involved in that? How do you suggest people start looking down that path?
Kelvin Beachum - Follow your passion. What are you passionate about? Uh oh, he's starting to get a little fussy. It's about what you're passionate about. Whatever you're passionate about, go for it. So, you don't have to wait until you have money to follow your passions, you could do those things without money.
Adam Hooper - Well, I know, Kelvin, if there is, I think he's reached his limit of podcasts. Is this his first podcast, by the way?
Kelvin Beachum - This is his first one.
Adam Hooper - Oh man, it's an honor to have you both on today, then. Alright Kelvin, we know you got to get going here, you got a lot of stuff to do. Any kind of closing thoughts, anything we didn't touch you want to wrap up?
Kelvin Beachum - Man, really just I think you know just enjoy it. Whatever you choose to do, enjoy the journey, 'cause that's what's so special about it all. There's going to be ups and downs, there's going to be times where things don't always go the way that you want them, but if you're enjoying every minute of it, it'll be a great process that you can look back on and reflect on, and just really see how far you've come and the steps you've made as a person, as an individual, and as a professional.
Tyler Stewart - Perfect, enjoy the journey, I love it!
Adam Hooper - Alright, listen, as well as you heard, Kelvin III had some needs as little ones do from time to time, but it's great insights from Kelvin. It was an honor to get to chat with him. We're excited about continuing this series. So, you listened the first episode Becoming Great, let us know. Send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Back to a little bit of our traditional real estate flares, Tyler, what do we have next?
Tyler Stewart - Adam, we have Dan Smith. Dan has gone though Real Crowd University, and we're going to talk about his story and what he's learned from the University, and how he's been able to apply that as he's doing diligence on deals whether it's on our platform or other platforms offline.
Adam Hooper - Great, let's roll it!
Tyler Stewart - Dan, you have a pretty interesting background, started off as a math teacher and now what are you doing?
Dan Smith - Well, I was kind of idealistic when I was younger, and I always had a knack for math and also for languages. So, I figured a way to combine that would be to become a bilingual math teacher, which is what I did. I did that in the Los Angeles area for about 14 years. But, while I was doing that, you know, I was looking at what I was making, and decided I'm not going to be able to accumulate enough for retirement, I've got to do something different. So, back in the 80's I went back to night school, and went through the entire undergraduate and graduate degree in computer science again, and started a second career in 1989. So, I was a developer for years, and then after awhile I decided that being in the kind of sales engineer, tech support arena was better for me because it combined my technical and people skills better. The teaching has come in really handy as a sales engineer, or as someone doing pre and post sales in tech. So, maybe not so strange as it seems, right?
Tyler Stewart - Well, great. And then why did you sign up for Real Crowd?
Dan Smith - Okay, I tried, I made an investment, a couple different investments in Lending Club several years ago, when I think the whole idea of Crowd Funding this type of investment was really taking off, and I had both an IRA and a non-IRA. But, one of the things I didn't realize the tax implications number one, for the the non-IRA portion, and then number two, I just kind of lost confidence in consumer loans. Also, after becoming better educated about it, I didn't like the fact that I just owned these abstract note kind of piece things. I wanted to look for something where I actually got a piece of equity when I was investing. So, I was just looking around and I was reading about different sites, there's a site out there that's basically a Crowd Funding review site. I was reading about different ones, and Real Crowd caught my eye, and this was about two weeks ago. So I started reading as much as I can, and signed up. And started looking at a couple of opportunities as well.
Tyler Stewart - Got it, so you came to Real Crowd, you had some experience with debt, and you're looking to get into equity, but have you invested into commercial real estate before?
Dan Smith - Never. I mean, I'm a total newbie, and so, I'm proceeding with caution. I'm kind of grateful that you guys have so much great material on your site because I've been leveraging that pretty heavily. Everything I read, all the terms I don't know I look up, Investopedia is my friend. I don't have any friends or acquaintances who are in commercial real estate either. So, I'm kind of on my own in that sense. But, I'm just really grateful that you guys have all of this great material on there that I can leverage.
Tyler Stewart - Well, that's a fun part for us. You've been going through Real Crowd University. What are some of the keys that you've learned from our University course?
Dan Smith - Well, like I said, I've been around for like a whole two weeks. But so far, from the things that I, the podcast that I listened to, and I don't know, kind of to tell you the truth, I am a really fast reader, I always have been. So, I basically read your podcasts. It's great, because you can really dig into it, and you can read them over, and I really like the fact that you guys have the transcripts on there. That is great. So, from what I've seen so far, especially me, I don't have experience in this space, so to me, the sponsor that is Paul Kaseburg says, it is absolutely the most important thing. So, I've really taken that to heart, and as I'm looking at a couple of different opportunities, I'm trying to find out as much as I can about these sponsors, right? Because, I'm dependent on them as somebody who doesn't have experience in the industry. I am completely dependent on them, right? Your site also, from what I see from the opportunities, it provides a lot of information on the sponsors. It allows you to really dig down not only into what they're doing let's say, on the current opportunity, but on their track records.
Dan Smith - One of the things I really want to focus on is how they did during the down-turn. The second worst economic crisis since the depression, etc. I like to see how they've done, and your site really helps with that as well.
Tyler Stewart - Absolutely, so you've been able to apply what you've learned so far through the education to actual due diligence?
Dan Smith - I'm in that process now. I'm looking at a couple of different opportunities, and one of the things that you guys also helped me decide up front, due to my position in life, is that I'm focusing on Core and Core Plus. I'm learning a little bit more about, for example, the opportunity that I'm looking at, I'm able to understand better what their kind of stack of investors look like, or the different investor classes. My kind of understanding of it so far is kind of like, a mutual fund where you have different classes of mutual funds. Where you have different slices of this investor stack, what the deal is like for each of them. I'm also looking very closely at the role that debt plays in the opportunities, and that's something that I learned from your site as well. I'm still spinning up on some of the metrics, but I do have a math background, I think I can learn those as well.
Tyler Stewart - Well that's great! And then, what tips would you give to listeners out there who are looking to learn more about commercial real estate?
Dan Smith - Well, Real Crowd has not steered me wrong. You guys have a ton of educational material out there, and I'd encourage them to do as I have done and really leverage that. I think also when you hear or read something that you like, look at who's involved and see what else they've read and written. I think one example would be Paul Kaseburg's podcast and the book. As soon as I heard about that book, I went ahead and downloaded it on my Kindle, and I'm devouring that. So, it just I think would encourage people to do the same.
Tyler Stewart - Well that's great. Dan, thank you so much for sharing your story.
Dan Smith - Sure, it's my pleasure! I look forward to doing great things with you guys.
Adam Hooper - Thanks Dan, that was a great story of your journey from start to real estate investor.
Tyler Stewart - Absolutely, and listeners, if you want to start your own journey, you can go to...
Adam Hooper - www.realcrowduniversity.com. And listeners out there, we'll be back to the regularly scheduled commercial real state podcast here next time. Please let us know what you thought of the episode, if you have any comments, or anything you want to hear on future episodes, send us an email to email@example.com. We'll catch you on the next one.
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