From Asset Manager to Business Development Fundraiser: The Journey of Bill Bymel
You may know Bill Bymel as a successful real estate investor or author of “Win-Win Revolution.” But did you know he’s also a powerhouse fundraiser? Bymel’s journey into the world of business development fundraising is not one you hear about every day. He started his career in real estate, flipping homes in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. From there, he became a managing director at Spurs Capital, a New York-based investment management firm focused on residential mortgage loans.
But last year, Bymel decided to make a more significant career change and establish First Lien Capital, a private equity firm investing in the nonperforming and sub-performing mortgage space.
How was his journey from asset manager to business development fundraiser? I recently had an opportunity to speak with him and find out.
“The switch from being an investor, asset manager, portfolio manager to a business development fundraiser has been a jarring experience,” he told me in a Zoom call.
“It’s like speaking a different language,” he added, explaining that while asset managers dictate what they buy, fundraisers need to read the tea leaves and try to divine what a potential investor might want or need.
“As an investment fundraiser, you are really an employee of the investment community. And our job is to answer to their needs. I spend a lot of my time taking the successes of our fund, and trying to translate that into returns, telling the story to investors, and then catering to what the investor’s needs [and] expectations are,” he added.
What Lessons has he Learned?
Bymel has learned a great deal in his time as a fundraiser, but two lessons stand out, he said.
The first is being “consistent” and not rushing things. “You’re never going to raise a million or $10 million on your first meeting,” he said before adding that there might be a 0.1% chance of that happening.
“The capital raising is a relationship business that takes time. And many of my investors this year are people that I met four or five years ago and who I’ve nurtured relationships with kept apprised of what I’m doing and my successes in my existing investments,” he added.
The second lesson is the willingness to walk away from a potential deal if it’s not the right fit for your investors or the company.
“Asking the questions to know is this the right investor for you? I’ve also had to be willing to walk away from offers. I’ve had a lot of money offered to me, that just whether it’s too expensive or the deal comes with catches, so to speak, being willing to say no, to some of the offers that are offered to you,” he said.
What About his Book? Has it Helped?
Though it has not been a New York Times best-seller, or at least not yet, Bymel’s book, “Win-Win Revolution: An Insider’s Guide To Investing In the Secondary Mortgage Market,” has been well-received by the industry. It has nearly three dozen five-star reviews on Amazon.
“It works on so many levels,” he said, explaining how it has helped establish his credibility with potential investors. And writing a book is more than just a vanity project.
“It’s the best time and money ever spent because it’s a legacy,” he said. “It’ll never go away. It’s not just a calling card, but it’s a legacy. It’s something that your family will say, Oh my God, we had a father, a grandfather that wrote a book, even if it’s corny. Even if it was only business-oriented.”
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By Lou Sokolovskiy, Founder & CEO at Opus Connect