Success doesn’t just occur; it is a combination of diligent work, clear strategic thinking and seeing opportunity where others may not. This is as true for individuals as it is for successfully managing a global private equity firm. Cogress, an open equity investment firm for property is fortunate to have all of these attributes and more in the experienced hands of Co-founder and CEO Tal Orly. We speak with him about how Cogress came to be, its vision, and what makes its unique model the success it is.
From initially developing properties for sale for himself to becoming the founder of Symbia Realty Portfolio, to now CEO of Cogress, Tal has over 22 years international experience in property development and investment. An experienced global investor himself, Tal is also a licensed solicitor with a wealth of knowledge on the complexities of land law. His eclectic skillset extends to every aspect of the legal, financial, planning and execution stages that are vital to the success of real estate investment projects.
How did Cogress come to be?
“Two years ago I met with Cogress’ sister company Hagashama in Israel and I was intrigued by it’s investment model. With my experience of the London property development market, it was clear to me that there was an opportunity to operate the same unique and successful model here in London. So we created Cogress, a company comprised of finance and property professionals, specifically designed to make property investment accessible and transparent. With it’s pioneering proposition which offers access to £2m+ property investment opportunities normally restricted to private investors, Cogress enables it investors to get started with as little as £20,000.”
What makes Cogress a success and why?
“You become successful through how you react to the challenges presented to you and by being able to offer creative solutions. To paraphrase the saying, there are no such things as problems, only opportunities . This way of thinking, allied with extensive experience, and the ability to see problems before they arise lets us build successes from the challenges faced. It is this type of mindset that differentiates Cogress from other equity players. Whereas they only bring money to the table, we are able to offer so much more. We bring partnership, we bring expertise and we bring support. Not only that but with underwriting capabilities of £1.5 – £11 million, we bring financial influence. Testament to all that we can offer is the excellent working relationships and current projects we currently have with 25 developers.”
Creating positive relationships with developers and investors is key to what we do because it engenders trust. If developers trust us, then they want to work with us. If investors trust us, then they are less concerned about their investments and they feel that they are in safe hands. The success of our business hinges on it being accountable to our developers and investors in delivering a strong return on investment.
Success is not just about providing finance, it is about creating opportunity for all of our stakeholders.”
What is the focus and vision for Cogress?
“Our focus is always our investors they are central to everything that we do, but our vision is threefold. We want Cogress to be renowned for the transparent and professional manner in which we conduct our business and make our investments. This is of vital importance to us if we are to become the largest equity investor in the market based on delivery. Lastly we want the Cogress brand to have recognition as a trusted mark. We want investors to know exactly what to expect when they invest with us. We want them to know that they are our focus, that all we do is completely transparent, and that we are working in their best interests, always. We don’t exist just to raise finance; we exist to present the right investment opportunities to them. Our approach means that our investors have confidence in our values of transparency and professionalism, and that’s why they trust us. Trust has allowed our community of registered investors to grow to over 27,000, and nearly all of this growth comes from referrals.
The high level of trust our investors have is what differentiates Cogress from other equity players and investment firms. They trust us with their investments and our proven success leads them to refer their associates, friends and family to us.”
What is it that you enjoy about working for Cogress?
“I relish the challenge of bringing Cogress’ ambitions to life and continuing the success that we have experienced, and I believe that we have the perfect opportunity and environment to make it happen. I also enjoy the excitement that developments bring with them. Developments aren’t just about materials and money; the vision of the developer is bound up in the development itself. Helping them to achieve this vision and overcome the hurdles is hugely satisfying, remember, I was a developer myself. The other thing that I really enjoy about Cogress is that I am involved in all aspects of the business from the developments, to investment and the financial mechanisms behind it, to the legal complexities that are inherent of all developments. Being so involved with Cogress, as are all who work here, is immensely rewarding.”
Finally, any advice you’d give to Cogress investors?
“My advice would be that you need to be more sophisticated as an investor these days, it’s more about growing your wealth smartly. Your money should always be looking for opportunities, but at the same time you should always be prudent and spread the risk across investments and developments. Where possible you should be looking for investment opportunities that provide constant growth, and focus on a stable market that is able to create added value. By creating added value your investments are better able to withstand market shocks because you are not speculating on the market itself.”