MountainSeed: Simplifying real estate and lending services
Carl Streck is passionate about enabling predictable growth in companies that have amazing products and services and has a history of doing so in a variety of industries. He has worked with hordes of financial management firms, including Angelo, Gordon & Co., Citi Group, Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, SAC Capital, Anchorage Capital, Blackrock to name a few. He has also helped some of the fastest growing business in the world realize success. A philanthropist, Carl is also actively involved in many business and community organizations that support orphans and homelessness. He is the co-founder and CEO of MountainSeed, that helps hundreds of banks across the country with real estate technology- enabled services (on over $5 billion of commercial real estate) loans every month. In an interview, he speaks on array of topics. Excerpts:
Conception of MountainSeed
“First and foremost, for me, necessity was the mother of invention” notes Carl. He says that coming out of the real estate recession in 2010, he was helping community banks and credit unions work out of troubled loans when one of his clients said they had to re-appraise all the properties they just bought and didn’t have the people to do it. “As I sat in bed googling appraisal software, logistics software and found nothing I realized this may be an opportunity.”
MountainSeed – The Solutions
Noting that commercial real estate is one of the largest asset classes in the world, Carl observes that this brings in tremendous opportunity. “It also has been one of the slowest to adapt to change and technology. We have been able to bring a level of transparency and efficiency to commercial real estate and banking that never existed before, by re-thinking the ways in which people did their business process, layering in tech enabled services, and offering data to make wise decisions that never existed in the CRE data industry.”
Challenges galore for Fintechs
“I still believe the biggest risk to any business isn’t the product, sales or capital, but its people and your ability to build trusting teams.” In a post pandemic world where remote work is accepted and in some cases demanded leaders must give much more thought to building high functioning teams build on vulnerability based trust. This can absolutely be done remotely, but takes much more thoughtful, diligent effort and much more time. Without it, however no business can thrive.
“Through the MountainSeed MarketPlace we offer streamlined ways to co-ordinate CRE due diligence services for loan originations, renewals, foreclosure, etc. This helps banks do what they do best, make loans, serve their customers without having to coordinate with disparate vendors for due diligence without sacrificing compliance.”
An authentic mission is critical to success- “Our mission to provide opportunity and help people thrive using their God-Given abilities is what gets me up in the morning. It is a people centric mission that is deeply personal. The key, however, is whatever your mission or purpose as a company is it must be authentic. I don’t believe anything great has ever been done without risk of failure. So as a leader you can make a choice to take a risk or not.”
A word of caution for entrepreneurs
As a founder, you should never let others tell you that you won’t make it, suggests Carl. “Investors, competitors, and many others will look down on you for a long time and tell you, you need to sell, or raise money or you won’t succeed, but stay close to your customers and employees and you will be just fine.”
The Success mantras
“The early days of any startup in any industry are a grind. Our particularly so because we were starting out in the greatest financial crisis of our generation.” This passionate entrepreneur adds that the critical element in any business is to build and cultivate high performing teams. The only way to do this is to have a deep level of trust and accountability that can only come from authentic, vulnerable relationships. With a healthy, high functioning team you can accomplish anything.