Goldman exec Dustin Cohn leaves for real estate investing start-up Cadre | Ezine Daddy

Dustin Cohn, Cadre’s Chief Marketing Office

Source: Squad

Dustin Cohn, head of branding at consumer bank Goldman Sachs, is joining real estate investment start-up Cadre as chief marketing officer, CNBC has learned.

The departure of Cohn, who is credited with helping name the company’s consumer division Marcus in 2016, is the latest in a spate of departures from the New York bank over the past 14 months.

Cohn joins other former executives, including Omer Ismail and David Stark, who are leaving Goldman to scale retail banking. Some left to help direct competitors, as in the case of Ismail and Stark, who fled to help Walmart launch a fintech startup. Others, like former Marcus boss Harit Talwar, have resigned to make way for a new generation of leaders.

Cohn, who described his departure from Goldman as “completely amicable,” is joining an 8-year-old start-up at a critical juncture, according to Cohn and Cadre co-founder Ryan Williams.

Cadre, which enables individuals to gain exposure to commercial real estate, is one of the most prominent players in a group of startups looking to expand access to asset classes once thought to be the domain of institutional investors or wealthy families.

The startups hope to accomplish what Robinhood has done for stocks and Coinbase for crypto — to harness the potential of millions of ordinary Americans to create or expand a retail asset class.

“My goal for Marcus was to create awareness that this new consumer business even exists for this affluent mass audience,” Cohn said in an interview Tuesday. “For me, Cadre is a very similar opportunity in the commercial real estate world, where initially the average investor really doesn’t know much about it, let alone actually having access to these low fees and low entry points. “

After poaching Cohn from Goldman — which is both an investor and partner in Cadre — the start-up will begin to ramp up marketing and introduce new products to smaller investors, Williams said.

While it would be easier to just focus on large investors like family offices or foundations, that wouldn’t align with Cadre’s mission, said Williams, who worked in the finance industry before co-founding Cadre in 2014.

“I grew up working class in Baton Rouge, Louisiana,” Williams said. “I’ve never had access to this asset class, but through my recent experiences at Goldman and Blackstone, I just saw how lucrative the space was, yet how inaccessible it was to most individuals.”

Ryan Williams, co-founder and chief executive officer of RealCadre LLC (Cadre), listens during the Skybridge Alternatives (SALT) conference in Las Vegas, Nevada May 9, 2019.

Joe Buglewicz | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Cadre initially started with larger investors and required a minimum stake of $250,000; After that was lowered to $25,000, the company hopes to lower the minimum amount closer to $2,500, according to the CEO.

The company’s investment committee focuses on three categories of real estate in about 15 U.S. markets: multifamily residential, industrial real estate like warehouses, and niche office space like suburban buildings, Williams said.

Cadre said it has closed more than $4.5 billion in real estate deals and has generated returns of more than 18% on real estate sales. Unlike some of its peers in this space, Cadre has yet to lose money from investors, Williams said.

“We don’t take crazy risks like others do and we think this is the right way to access this asset class,” Williams said. “We have never lost investor principle or capital.”

An IPO could be 12 to 18 months away after the company launches new products, including ways to invest in real estate debt or even new categories like timber farms, Williams said. Cadre commissioned a study of 1,181 consumers and found that almost three quarters were interested in investing in commercial real estate, but almost all had never done so.

Cadre has raised funds from investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Jared and Josh Kushner, who are also co-founders of the startup. While the Kushners remain investors, Cadre said Jared Kushner has not been involved in operations since Kushner joined the Trump administration as an advisor.

Meanwhile, Cohn’s departure comes at a pivotal point for the Marcus brand as well.

Starting with personal loans and deposits, Goldman has expanded its portfolio to include credit cards and home improvement loans, and is working towards a digital checking account for the masses. Then, late last year, the company announced it was tweaking its branding to more prominently feature the Goldman name, naming it Goldman Sachs Marcus.

Cohn, who said he “personally named” Marcus, called the change an endorsement of his tenure at the bank. Back in the 2015 time frame, the Goldman name “conjured up some of the negativity that people have toward Goldman Sachs,” he said.

“Here we are, almost seven years later, and the Goldman Sachs brand is at an all-time high with these consumers,” Cohn said. “A big part of that is because we gave them valuable products to help them achieve their goals.”

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