Cadre, the technology-driven real estate investment platform, has hired former Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts CEO Allen Smith as president.
A well-known real estate executive, Smith left Four Seasons, which operates luxury hotels, in 2018 after running the prominent consumer-facing brand for five years. He previously worked as the CEO of Prudential Real Estate Investors, one of Wall Street’s biggest real estate investment firms.
“When I was at Four Seasons we had a number of digital initiatives that exposed me to how tech was driving the marketplace and I wanted to do something that had a tech dimension,” Smith said in an interview. “Real estate investment management is not known for great innovation so what Cadre does is unique.”
Ryan Williams, who will remain Cadre’s chief executive officer, described the hire as one of the most important personnel additions Cadre has made since he founded the financial technology startup six years ago.
“It means we brought a formidable force in the real estate investing industry with a pretty strong track record,” Williams said. “I believe it validates our approach.”
Williams, 31, has never had a problem attracting big names to his effort of creating an online marketplace that allows individual investors to buy and sell stakes in commercial real estate properties. He secured a $250 million financial backstop from the investment operation of George Soros, and Cadre counts backers like Peter Thiel, Mark Cuban and Vinod Khosla. Michael Fascitelli, the former chief of real estate giant Vornado, has headed Cadre’s investment committee.
But one giant-sized name has proven to be a bit of a headache. Jared Kushner, who is a senior advisor to his father-in-law, President Donald Trump, cofounded Cadre with Williams and retains an equity stake in the business. The association has generated specific conflict-of-interest accusations related to Cadre’s work in opportunity zones, and general publicity headwinds that are not normally faced by startups.
Nevertheless, Cadre, which is headquartered in the Kushner family-owned Puck Building in Manhattan, has been executing on its business plan. The Cadre platform now oversees $860 million, featured 36 different real estate investment opportunities, and achieved nearly $100 million of strong-performing investment realizations through four sales. Last year, the platform closed $1 billion of transaction volume.
For much of last year, Williams had been looking for someone to fill a vacuum Cadre had at the top of its investment operations. In addition to leading Cadre’s investment team, Allen will oversee acquisitions, asset management and institutional client relationships, and work with Williams on other aspects of the business.
Smith, 62, says that one of the major reasons he was attracted to Cadre was the prospect of working with Williams, who turns 32 in February. The two hit it off over several meetings they had over the last six months.
“We are going to be partners at the end of the day in this undertaking and we feel comfortable with one another,” says Smith. “There is a lot I can learn from Ryan and a lot he can learn from me, and that makes for a good partnership.”