Wunderdogs recently launched the incredibly exciting case study of our work with construction and real estate investment giant,1Sharpe Capital. 1Sharpe is a full spectrum institutional management firm that partners with top-tier entrepreneurs, operators, and lenders to invest across the capital stack of real estate, structured finance, and technology. Approaching a business milestone, the 1Sharpe team approached Wunderdogs in search of partners to rebuild 1Sharpe’s core website and create a digital platform for their new endeavor: an early stage prop-tech fund, 1Sharpe Ventures.
Since then, we managed to catch up with Ginny Miller, Principal of 1Sharpe Ventures, to discuss their quest for new founders and entrepreneurs, commitment to the environment, and their strategic goals around their new website.
Why do you believe it is important to measure the environmental and social impacts of your investments?
I believe more and more successful businesses will be triple bottom line businesses, which take into account “people and planet” in addition to profit. Regulatory shifts will continue to reward businesses that prioritize our environment and communities and will punish those that don’t. The smartest talent increasingly wants to work for impactful businesses, and that talent pool is getting more intelligent on how to assess real impact vs. greenwashing. And investors will see high-return opportunities in businesses solving long-term, massive problems that address unsustainable trends in our climate, societal wealth gap, and community infrastructure. We believe measuring “impact” still has a long way to go, and plan to learn from and leverage the hard work being done by other exceptional groups (vs. recreating the wheel), but I believe we cannot afford not to try.
How does 1Sharpe Ventures plan to influence real estate, finance, insurance, and construction to become more human-centered?
Real estate and construction are among the last major pillars of our economy to remain relatively offline. As we saw other sectors of the economy move online, we saw a consistent shift in consumer purchasing and decision power. Consider the media industry – streaming enables us as consumers to tailor our experiences, demand customization, and expect on-demand everything. Same for e-commerce, and we see banking and financial services trending in that direction. Real estate is among the least human-centered industries despite having, arguably, the largest impact on humans. Where we live, work, and play is often built around the ideologies of a few single actors basing decisions off of relationships, gut, and potentially an outdated excel spreadsheet. We envision a world in which consumers have more choice, access, and flexibility in how they interact with the built world, in turn pressuring real estate owners and stakeholders to deploy strategies for meeting those needs through the use of data, automation, and digital transformation. We believe the most successful real estate organizations will take a Netflix approach – adjusting their models to focus on what people want, need, and demand, then building businesses that can more intelligently design, build, and manage buildings for a rapidly evolving consumer base.
What exceptional traits are you looking for in entrepreneurs?
We don’t believe being an entrepreneur has a one-size-fits-all quality to it; and in fact, taking too much of a pattern-based approach creates the risk of excluding diverse backgrounds, personalities, and experiences from entering the entrepreneurial world. One consistent factor, however, is that starting and scaling a venture-backed business is extremely hard. Traits that indicate an edge that will enable a given entrepreneur to run through walls are what we seek – whether an unwavering commitment to solving a massive problem or a hunger to build and run a highly impactful business for the next 20 years of their lives. Additionally, businesses are just groups of people organized around a north star; we love entrepreneurs that have a gravitational attribute with hiring and retaining talent. We want to invest in people who inspire, motivate, and empower other exceptional people.
How will the new website help you find and connect with exceptional founders?
Early-stage venture capital is a funny business, in which you are (hopefully) building a relationship with founders and LPs that extends far beyond capital. Like dating, finding a fit is critical and challenging, and we believe that brand and digital presence can be one proxy for representing who we are. We hope this will be an iterative project, as we evolve, but love having one first step towards shedding light on the way we see the world. Everything from color to font to words can have a huge impact in communicating ethos and strategy, and we want to be thoughtful in the same way we would expect our portfolio companies to be thoughtful around that side of their business.
What is 1Sharpe’s main goal that you hope to achieve through your new digital channel?
We hope our website can demystify who we are and why we started the fund to build relationships based on a mutual understanding. We hope it can also help us build a brand over time that is clear and consistent with how we invest.
We are just getting started, and having some semblance of our story online can help introduce a more open and informed conversation with our partners and entrepreneurs from the start! We also think brand is critical, and doing the hard work upfront to ask: “in 10 years, what would we want our logo or name to evoke” is important, with a digital presence as step one to building that ethos.