We started Wildhorn Capital almost 5 years ago, making the transition from investing on our own into investing with and for others. Over that time, we’ve been quite fortunate to see the business and portfolio grow just about how we planned it. Today, we sit here over 1,800 units and $225,000,000 portfolio value. By the end of the year, we should be over $300 AUM and 2,000 units.
To be sure, we’ve been buoyed to this point by a robust economy (up until March this year) and the fact we’re incredibly fortunate to invest in our hometown (and the best market in the country) of Austin and Central Texas.
One of our goals in starting Wildhorn was to live a Life By Design. Reed and I had both done the corporate thing, and were looking to build our own company. Importantly though, we were aligned that we did not want to build a massive enterprise–but rather a sustainable company that kept us engaged in the parts of the business we enjoyed without creating massive amounts of overhead.
I’ve joked over the years that one of our rules is “we want to grow until we have to hire an HR Director”. At that point, we’ve gotten too big. It’s a funny statement, but it’s also a true reflection of what we’ve built and where we’re headed.
To sustain this growth, we’ve had to add a few resources along the way. We have two analysts that ensure we can review every deal in our market. We brought in an office manager that helps back office support and engages with investors when they have questions. But we’ve also made decisions to create partnerships and enlist other companies to keep our headcount low.
We use our region’s best Property Management company rather than build out our own. We pay for an online Investor Portal software platform to facilitate our communications. We’ve fostered an incredible relationship with a General Contractor we can trust. All in an effort to stay lean and avoid hiring too many people too quickly. Which has proven to be incredibly important over the last several months, as we know countless groups that have had to lay off staff.
Together, Reed and I spent many long car rides between Austin and San Antonio debating what our future team looked like. Writing out job descriptions and trying to determine when would be the right time to bring that role on. How many assets before you need or can support an Asset Manager? When do you bring on Investor Relations? Then, as life usually does, the perfect opportunity presented itself–and it looked nothing like what we’d been planning for.
Late last year, right before the holiday, I had lunch with a friend and industry colleague to catch up. He was going through a job transition and I wanted to see how I could help. He certainly didn’t fit the description of any roles we’d been so diligently thinking about, and I didn’t go into the lunch thinking about anything except for how I might be able to help him. What happened at that lunch, and developed over numerous subsequent conversations, was a mutual realization that there was a lot of overlap in our ways of thinking about the world, about real estate, and about Central Texas. We discussed and reviewed the deal we had under contract at that time. We talked philosophically about our underwriting approach. Our goals for the company. Where our skill sets aligned, and where they complimented each other. The three of us had dinners together, toured news deals together, debated business plans and ultimately started exploring how a partnership might work.
We all agreed we liked the answers to all of these conversations, and that the future was a lot brighter for all of us, and our investors, collectively if we came together. So after 8 months of conversations, we’re extremely excited to announce that Wildhorn Capital is adding Cooper Drenner as a Partner, joining Reed and Andrew in leading and growing this company.
His resume and accomplishments in the Austin community speak for themselves. What we’re most excited about is the symbiosis in how we think about the world, how we want to treat people, and how we build and invest in relationships.
You’ll be hearing a lot more often from Cooper directly in this space, and in everything else you see from Wildhorn.
We’re really excited to add him to the team and for his leadership and presence. For those of you that don’t already know him, we’re confident you’re going to love him. And even if you never get the chance to speak with him, will love the investment opportunities he brings to the table.