In multifamily real estate, we look for opportunities in a given market and then build relationships with the bankers, brokers, and boots on the ground we need to make a deal work.
But what if the business opportunity you identify is in Asia or Latin America? How do you overcome the language barrier and put together the team you need to build a successful company in a foreign country?
Cole Shepherd is Founder and Partner at Legacy Group, an alternative investment firm based in Colombia that focuses on high-quality LATAM businesses that produce outsized returns for investors.
He's an expert in emerging markets and understanding the capital movements of high-net-worth investors.
On this episode of Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing, Cole joins Garrett to discuss his background in international business and what he learned from working in the ‘professional leagues of capitalism’ overseas.
Cole explains what inspired him to build Legacy Group in Medellin, describing how he started with real estate flips and expanded into commodities, growing Green Coffee Company into Colombia's largest coffee producer.
Listen in for insight on learning the language and culture the place you want to do business and find out how to invest in Green Coffee Company or one of Cole’s other innovative projects at Legacy Group!
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How Cole got into international business
- First overseas assignment in financial services in Bermuda at 25
- Transition to M&A, lived between Hong Kong and Beijing
What Cole learned from doing business in places like Hong Kong
- Huge pools of capital, ‘professional leagues of capitalism’
- Real estate deals of $1B for single building
What makes Cole successful in international business
- Propensity to take risks and comfort in uncomfortable situations
- Grinding for years gave him access to smartest people in world
What inspired Cole’s move to Medellin
- Saw tremendous opportunity in Colombia but little capital
- Liquidated personal investments to bet on himself
Cole’s idea for Legacy Group
- Started with real estate flips to take advantage of limited debt
- Eventually got into commodities (export fresh cut flowers to Asia)
How Cole expanded his business to coffee
- Coffee = natural product of Colombia
- Met commercial real estate investors looking for ag project
The mechanics of investing in Green Coffee Company
- Buy common shares in parent company based in Delaware
- Capital deployed into foreign acquisitions
How Cole forecasts returns for investors
- Similar to earnings call for any publicly traded company
- Based on EBITDA, net earnings multiples
What gives Green Coffee Company a competitive advantage
- Full visibility of market as largest consolidated coffee producer
- Other major players run like family businesses
How Green Coffee Company reached #1 in less than 5 years
- Access to monetary capital
- Focus on human capital
How Cole overcame the language barrier in Colombia
- Spent 4 hours/day learning Spanish at private university
- Rest of day dedicated to real estate, commodity trading
Why it’s crucial to learn the local language to do business overseas
- Lose credibility with bankers if you need translation tools
- ‘Dive headfirst into cultural side of business’ to reach top
What Cole’s excited about in his business right now
- Innovate in byproducts of coffee plant
- Making ethanol for vodkas and gins
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Financial Freedom with Real Estate Investing by Michael Blank