Interview with Dr Steven Kaufman from Zeus Equity Group
We speak with Dr Steven Kaufman - an accomplished investor, entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He is the current Chair of TIGER 21 Houston and Managing Principal at Zeus Equity Group.
Tell us about Zeus Equity Group’s mission and commitment to clients?
Zeus Equity Group has a mission to provide investments in real estate equity and debt that offer capital preservation while generating above-market returns over multiple economic cycles through investments. We strive to positively enhance communities and the families and businesses that are directly impacted by our work.
Why should more people consider investing with Zeus Equity Group?
Zeus Equity Group provides not only safe investments but offers a great return on investment. The number one goal is to make sure clients are safe with their money in our hands. The Zeus Equity Group renovation process creates aesthetic improvement, aesthetic improvement increases the tax base, and increased tax base improves the local school system. All these improvements result in pride of ownership and a better place to live, work, and play.
What makes your approach unique?
Our approach has visible results with 94% of investors continually investing with us after their first investment. I invest WITH you, not FOR you. In many cases, I personally guarantee the debt on the investment which further assures the success of the investment. Reporting to investors is timely, transparent, and simple. We have a proven track record of earning above-market returns. Acquiring and renovating distressed properties improves our community in many ways.
How has the pandemic affected your operations?
We invest in four different asset classes which include multifamily, boutique office, retail and health care assets. The performance of each of these asset classes have been impacted by the effects of COVID-19. We measure our performance against the pro forma and our base projection on how the asset will perform. Our projections dropped to 80-85% performance rate during the pandemic compared to our usual 90-95%. We can now confidently say we are back on track.
Our goal is always to maximise cash flow to investors while balancing the needs of each property for the long term. While IRR/ROI is critical to every opportunity, we also undertake only projects that will add value to our community rather than diminish it.
What future goals is the company working towards?
One of our favourite transformations thus far in Zeus Equity Group has been the Grand Forum, located in heart of Houston, Texas. This recession-resistant 27,000 sq. ft. building is almost on a full acre of land and is an exclusive trophy asset with dual access off two major highways. The size and location of this site are perfect for a future vertical development. Our renovations to the building coupled with the grandfathered ‘billboard-height” pylon sign that is visible to 256,000 vehicles per day, has the potential for profound community impact that helps both the asset, its tenants, and the City of Houston.
To view other incredible real estate transformations, visit https://www.zeusequitygroup.com/
About Dr Steven Kaufman
Steven manages his family assets with a focus on thesis-driven opportunistic investments in three asset classes which include real estate financing, real estate investment, and private equity in small growth companies.
Steven has held C-Level positions in various real estate enterprises for 20 years and has been investing in real estate for over 20 years. During that time, he coordinated over $1 billion in real estate financing for companies like American Express, Hewlett Packard, and Exxon Mobil and founded ZeusLending.com which is the leading online provider of real estate financing in the United States. He also founded ZeusEquityGroup.com which is a commercial real estate investment firm that acquires and develops trophy assets that revitalise communities, and he currently manages a portfolio of approximately $350 million in multifamily, office, retail, and healthcare assets.
At Zeus, Steven manages a team that is responsible for more than $4 billion of retail mortgage loan originations. According to Inc. Magazine, Zeus is the 37th fastest-growing private financial service firm in the United States. Steven founded New York Mutual which provides bespoke lending, servicing, and financial management services to institutional and private clients throughout the United States and abroad. Steven’s financing enterprises have spanned 3 economic cycles, and his disciplined focus on capital preservation has resulted in a best-in-class total default rate below 1% and no annual losses.
Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1977, Steven grew up in Baytown, TX. Steven graduated with high honours from the University of Houston with a B.S. in accounting and holds a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) designation. He has a Master’s Degree in Economic Development and Entrepreneurship from the University of Houston. Steven completed the Strategic Marketing Management Program at Harvard Business School, and earned his PhD in psychology, with a thesis on performance psychology, organisational leadership, and group trust, from The Chicago School.