Thomas Meade, founder and CEO of Touchstone Capital Partners, lives by a powerful motto: “Create more value than you capture,” a quote from Tim O’Reilly, media CEO and web visionary. It’s a motto he’s built his business on, and the idea that doing well by his borrowers and capital partners means they’ll do well by him.
Learn more about Thomas:
How long have you been an AAPL member?
What AAPL benefit do you MOST value?
Annual conference and now Presidents’ Circle. Over the years I have seen the amazing growth of the annual conference in November. I remember the first one I attended (maybe 2015?) there might have been as many borrowers at the conference as lenders. It has grown into so much more and has been really interesting to be a part of
Why did you become a member?
The first few years I only bought a membership in order to go to the conference. I’m not really a “joiner” by nature. As the conference evolved and more capital sources and vendors showed up there, I became more and more interested in actually getting involved and networking a little bit. The industry has historically been pretty heavily concentrated on the west coast, so we always felt a bit like outsiders and not so connected with the scene. That’s changed a bit over the years as we’ve developed relationships with different lenders and service providers, and the geographic mix at the conferences has changed too.
What is your favorite AAPL memory?
For sure the Day on the Hill event earlier this year. I went from thinking about AAPL as an annual conference where I could hustle up capital sources, to understanding the true value of an industry association. It was really an eye opener to walk the halls of congress and take meetings with the staffers on the committees that make decisions that have huge potential impacts on our business. I was impressed with the AAPL for seeing this and getting ahead of it and setting up the meetings. And I was really impressed with the level of experience, professionalism and insight that the AAPL staff and members brought to the meetings.
In addition to the impression left on me by the Day on the Hill I made a networking connection as a result of the Fund Manager conference the following day, which led to a $50mm commitment from a new JV partner to fund our loans in the NE market.
Pretty productive couple of days!
Why did you decide to enter the private lending profession?
I was a borrower first, and had a few really tough experiences with shady private lenders. I saw very clearly that there is plenty of money to be made in private lending, without being “one of those guys.” I had similar experiences with three separate lenders in the Boston area, three of the most well-known names. I knew that if I could set up a lending shop that treated borrowers fairly, we would crush it.
What are some accomplishments you are particularly proud of?
In the first few years our lending business was sort of second fiddle to our development business, and we did loan volumes in the $2-5 million range. In late 2017 we pivoted to focus on the lending business and in 2018 we closed $28 million in loans. After roughly 10x growth from 2017 to 2018, we expect to double that this year, to $60mm.
That growth put us in a position to take some serious meetings with serious capital partners, and we inked this JV with Renovo Financial, the largest private lender in Chicago. They have funding from deep-pocketed private equity firms who are looking to deploy more capital, in selective other markets. After a few meetings, it was clear we were a great fit from a business philosophy and culture standpoint, as well as the vision for how to build a successful private lending business.
What is your favorite book, and why?
The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz. Great life lessons that are absolutely applicable to business as well.
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