Bonnie Murray is the Founder and CEO of Raccord, a data technology company that helps real estate investment and asset management teams gain visibility and insights from their complicated models and disparate data sources.
Can you tell us a little about your background and the company?
I spent the first 15 years of my career in public markets. My first job on Wall Street was at a tech focused hedge fund. I moved into equity trading right before the GFC which gave me a lifetime of experience and many war wounds.
After the birth of my first son, I needed work/home balance and took a year off to spend with him. Motherhood in some ways is similar to entrepreneurship, there is no roadmap. I subsequently went on to join a private investment bank within the BD group where we brought all of our products from the US over to London. After having my second son and realizing I could no longer sleep on a plane every month, I started working for a NY based private equity firm that bought multifamily assets on the east coast. It was clear from the outset the CRE industry lacked technological adoption, interoperability across systems and had a lot of subjectivity within the investment process, despite there being large amounts of unstructured data to draw on.
The pain points I experienced are now our problem statements we endeavor to solve here at Raccord. We are a data technology company that helps real estate investment and asset management teams gain visibility and garner insights from their complicated models and disparate data sources. These companies use Excel and reams of materials to manage the investment process from cradle to grave. As the volume of available data increases and models become more sophisticated, it’s extremely challenging for teams to collaborate and draw inferences from these complex data sets. Our vision is to be the centralized repository for business intelligence to help investment teams work more effectively, assist in identifying new opportunities and support data-driven decisions.
How did the idea come to you for the company?
The idea for Raccord was born during Covid, while working from home and teaching my two young boys. My husband was working on his Bloomberg as he normally would, whilst it took me two Excel models, a PDF and several phone calls into my analyst to extract 5 KPIs we needed for an investor call. I thought to myself, how is it that the world’s largest asset class doesn’t have Bloomberg?
How did you achieve awareness?
In the beginning I really leaned heavily on my network. I self-funded for a year and created a working prototype to put in the hands of my beta testers. I spent a significant amount of time in the problem space, collating feedback to understand the business use case and how it could drive value internally.
How have you been able to gain funding and grow?
At the outset, I had a handful of truly amazing supporters. Having the ability to clearly articulate the business value and the vision has been critical for both customers and investors. Disruption is a catalyst for change and the market dynamics at that time presented an incredible opportunity to drive digital transformation in a historically conservative industry.
What are the key successes?
Our team. Building a cognitively flexible, intellectually curious, diverse team has been incredibly rewarding. Working with engineers in the early days as a non-technical founder helped drive my personal growth, because by nature, they are solution oriented, which wasn’t my experience working in finance.
We’ve created a solution to real pain points that exist. Last year, we solidified a direct data partnership with Moody’s CRE, onboarded our first 3 customers and now we’re building our web infrastructure. The most exciting part about technology is the consistent, iterative process.
What were/are the challenges and how have you overcome these?
Every day presents a new challenge. Cognitive flexibility, collaboration and persistence are key.
What are your plans now/for the future?
We have two goals. First, driving business value for our customers. Second is our mission to create equitable distribution across an industry that lacks diversity. I view this from a three-legged stool approach.
First, my being a woman founder. The road is long and arduous, bias exists everywhere. Only 5% of Fortune Global 500 companies are run by women. That stat is 8.8% for US Fortune 500 companies.
Second, the team, ensuring gender and racial diversity is key. Statistics show that teams with diversity outperform on several key metrics by a large factor.
Lastly, Investor base. I intentionally carved out ⅓ of my capital base for women and diverse investors as true equitable distribution must start at the foundation.
What would you like to share with others to encourage them to start their own entrepreneurship journey?
I think you have to fall in love with a problem and be motivated to create a solution. And you must have tough skin – it’s not for the faint hearted.
Can you share your top tips for entrepreneurial success?
Humility, curiosity, and gratitude ground everything we do here at Raccord.
Humility, because we truly believe that “the complexity of problems that exist today are far more complex than the critical thinking required to solve them”; we eschew the notion of individual heroes or geniuses in favor of broad collaboration. Intellectual curiosity, because we are entering largely uncharted territory and must always maintain a beginner’s mindset. And gratitude, because we realize how fortunate we are to have the opportunity to tackle these problems with people who share our values.
Who are the 5 people who inspire you the most and why?
My dad, because he allowed me to make mistakes, without judgment, and taught me to use those as critical learning opportunities.
Steve Jobs because he’s Steve Jobs. His obsession with keeping things simple and intuitive helped drive our product roadmap.
Indra Nooyi because she paved the way for women in leadership.
My best friend Rini Greenfield. Rini came from humble beginnings and is now the co-founder of an impact venture firm, ReThink Food, and also very intent on creating equitable distribution within the VC space.
Michael Bloomberg gets props for my love of data and analytics. You’ll notice features in Raccord’s app that pay homage to Bloomberg.
What are your favorite inspirational /motivational quotes?
“If you don’t give people a chance to fail, you won’t innovate. If you want to be an innovative company, allow people to make mistakes.” – Indra Nooyi
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not: unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent” – Calvin Coolidge
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