Q&A with Surfaraz Dinani
You are CEO and founder of two companies, Veloce Consulting, Inc. and Park Rock Capital, which is unique. How did this happen?
I started Veloce Consulting in 2008, a transition from an IT Distribution company I co-founded. Real estate was at its peak and I saw an opportunity to expand the boundaries of my business endeavors. However, by the time I entered the real estate world, it was the worst financial crisis of our generation. While these were difficult years for everyone in real estate, it appeared that the timing of my entry was perfect. Success in real estate requires real analytics and knowledge, being able to identify where value can be added and how it can be maximized. Veloce’s ability to grow after the 2008 crash was a sign that our fundamentals worked, regardless of the economy around us.
During that time, with growth, we were able to secure private financing for many of our transactions. We capitalized on the amazing opportunities that were available because it had become a buyer’s market and things were no longer over valued or inflated. We began acquiring a diverse portfolio of income producing assets throughout the tri-state region. These acquisitions ranged from quick fix and flips to long term investments with great cap rates. With this experience we learned which real estate deals worked, and how to analyze operators. That took the Company to the next level, which involves lending to others who we thought were good investments as operators and had projects that met our system and standards. Now these two companies work together to serve real estate investors across the globe; Veloce Consulting, Inc. on the real estate investment and equity side and Park Rock Capital, LLC on the debt and lending side. My focus is bringing in new business, building relationships with different lenders and developers, as well as providing structure to sometimes extremely complicated real estate transactions.
Tell me a little bit about Veloce Consulting.
Veloce Consulting is a real estate investment firm as well as a boutique consulting practice that structures, finances, and executes creative solutions for investors and developers. Within our structure, we own income-producing properties throughout the country. We find real estate, looking for where we can add value using our knowledge and techniques. From there, we either sell or partner with different investors, funds, and developers.
In today’s market, deals are difficult to find at the right price in the right marketplace. With our vast network of people in the real estate space and our strong buying arm, we are able to provide clients with off-market properties and potential development deals. Further, with current interest rates, cap rates are just getting tightened; we try to maximize returns by providing added value to projects for our real estate clients and equity partners.
The consulting side of Veloce focuses on providing market information for real estate projects, property management, preservation, due diligence, investment analysis, project management, comprehensive evaluation reports, deal flow, and cash flow analysis, as well as credit facility selection and success management. In addition, Veloce often conducts joint ventures and partnerships with developers participating in equity.
Park Rock Capital is an alternative lender. Can you tell me more about that?
Park Rock Capital is a direct alternative lender for real estate investors based predominantly in New York and New Jersey. We primarily originate innovative and quick commercial bridge loans for investors with time-sensitive projects nationwide and provide working capital through specialty financing solutions. My focus is to maximize returns for our clients, to find and add value. Park Rock Capital is simply another vehicle to assist our clients.
Can you give me a few examples of your real estate projects?
We own and manage a few hundred properties within our portfolio. We also own and invest in self-storage facilities; in fact, there are two such self-storage facilities being developed in the mid-west as we speak. We are currently structuring equity transactions on three projects in New Jersey, between 50 units and 250 units. These are all within opportunity zones where investors can participate in equity portions of the projects. In addition to the equity, we have daily closings on both debt and acquisition sides of the business.
What makes Veloce Consulting and Park Rock unique from other companies?
We are very creative in real estate, with both companies working hand-in-hand to add substantial value for our clients. We have unique opportunities that present themselves through our expansive network of clients, developers, real estate agents, banks, and others. We work with people in the industry who make projects available to us that others may not have access to. We strive to ensure everyone we are dealing with from our staff, lenders, clients and partners are all well versed in real estate, and value proven knowledge and experience above all else. The main market in our portfolio is underserved markets. It is there we see high cap rates across the country. We try to stay on the East Coast, but we also do purchase and provide financing in most states where we see upside. We focus on bringing in equity partners on many transactions and are hands on. We will often rehab properties and stabilize the assets through our team of contractors and developers. This allows us to create the value the property has but was lost because of neglect or mismanagement before our acquisition, now with the value added we either sell or hold the properties.
The relationship between Veloce and Park Rock is symbiotic, although they are distinct and separate companies. Veloce is always looking for debt for its clients, Park Rock can provide that debt which allows Veloce to focus on equity and operations while still being able to deliver on client needs. Having both of these companies in-house allows for creativity in structuring real estate opportunities and providing clients with a complete solution.
Tell me a little bit about you, personally.
I was born in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, though my family is originally from India. My father was a successful businessman in Tanzania and then later in the US. We migrated to London in 1983, and then we moved to New Jersey in 1988. I grew up in New Jersey and got married in 2007, I have two lovely daughters and a son.
I started my first business in 2001, while I was still in college, an IT distribution company, which was very successful. I have four older brothers who are all involved within the business holdings, some at the same time are professionally working within their own space. Hard work and determination to be successful has always been a part of who I am. The support from my mother, family and well wishers allows me to accomplish my goals. I surround myself socially with likeminded people and people in the business arena where I can share and learn ideas about business, new opportunities, and try to gain operational guidance. I spend at least 30 minutes a day thinking by myself, without interruption, and I try to read daily as well. This allows me to gain focus, clarity, and peace which in return allows me to make business decisions with a clear mind. Currently, I’m reading Talking to Strangers, written by Malcom Gladwell. I also try and read the Holy Quran every night.
What is your motto in life?
Ones best success comes after their greatest disappointments.