Founded in 2007, A10 Capital is a full-service commercial real estate lender that funds direct bridge and permanent loans. The firm originates loans from $5 million to more than $50 million on properties and portfolios around the US.
“I’d love to double or triple volume over the next few years. I’d be disappointed if I couldn’t do that,” Gupta says, adding he has considered a number of different ways the firm can expand its business. “It’ll either be utilizing off-balance-sheet, separate accounts, [and] it might be a fund structure, [or a] strategic joint venture where someone wants to put money to work at a certain cost of funds.”
Gupta spent the first 10 years of his career with GE Capital, where he says he learned to apply constant strategic thinking to the development of business and to operate a credit-focused capital.
“[At GE] you needed to understand why you were doing a loan, and what is the risk target you’re trying to achieve,” Gupta says. “You have to really have a very clear vision of what you are trying to achieve and how the credit fits into it.”
Prior to joining A10 Capital, Gupta was the president at Ready Capital, a public-traded mortgage real estate investment trust managed by Waterfall Asset Management. During his tenure at the New York-based company, Gupta developed the business into a $5 billion origination platform and was part of the team that took the REIT public via a reverse IPO.
Writing a playbook
Now Gupta has brought his skillset to A10. Having strategies in place now is the key to growth in the future, he says. “The minute spreads start coming in and rates start taking down, your strategy needs to be completely solid, then you’ve got to go and grab market share.”
Going forward, Gupta is writing up a playbook for A10, where he highlights conserving capital, going down in leverage and up in prices, and using the slowness of the environment to retool the operations.
“At Ready Capital, we were pretty avid users of outsourcing to make our people and our practice more efficient,” Gupta says, noting he will apply this strategy to the business at A10 Capital.
To ready A10 for future growth, Gupta says he will “make sure people are in the right seats and get the old structure to reflect a more robust organization for the company.”
As a loan platform, A10 has some extra features that make it stand out in the commercial real estate lending field, including its ability to place its own bonds. “We don’t use a bank to syndicate our bonds,” he adds.
In addition, A10 is a rated servicer, which means it can oversee its loans in-house and work more easily with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “We can go to our borrowers and say, it’s cradle to grave, we’re going to be there at the beginning, and we’re going to be there at the end.”
“I’m convinced that the company is very set in its foundation and it’s strong,” Gupta says, “[but] picking and choosing what we want right now is not going to help you grow.”