Archer Advisor Naozer Dadachanji’s Tips for Early-Stage Companies

Posted Sep 24, 2021 3:57:24 PM


This week, Archer is highlighting one of its extraordinary advisors – Naozer DadachanjiNaozer is president and COO of Nav.it, a pioneer in coaching people through behavior change to improve their financial wellness.  

Previously, Naozer served as a member of the senior management team at Barclays Global Investors (BGI), the industry leader in systematic quantitative investing until its sale to BlackRock in 2009. During a 12-year tenure with Barclays and BlackRock, he held the positions of Chief Operating Officer for Active Businesses, Co-Head of Active Equities, and Head of Product, Investment, and Capital Markets for iShares. 

In addition to being an advisor for several early-state companies, Naozer has also invested in a number of startups including CamberView Partners, BridgeAthletic, and Spicewalla. 

Here, Naozer shares some of the lessons he learned from his time at BGI and BlackRock, why he likes to get involved with innovative startups, and what differentiates successful early-stage companies from those that fail.  

 

ARCHER: Your first job after you graduated from Clemson was with Barclays Global Investors, a leader in quant investing. What was the biggest lesson you learned about investing while you were there?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: I learned that investing in the public markets can be approached in a structured, scientific way. 

 

ARCHER: When you were working at BGI, the firm launched iShares, which is widely acknowledged as a gamechanger in the investment world. At what point did you think, “This is going to completely transform the way people invest?”   

NAOZER DADACHANJI: At the time, I thought it was a waste of money. I was wrong – very wrong. 

 

ARCHER: When BlackRock acquired BGI, you joined the BlackRock team for several years. What did you learn about yourself as you came into a new company and took on a new role?   

NAOZER DADACHANJI: I learned the importance of much sharper and careful business thinking than what I was used to. I saw the amount of time that senior management put into business questions. 

 

ARCHER: You’ve spent most of your professional life with innovative companies. Are there any similarities in the way that they approach business and in the way that they build teams?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: I'm very drawn to companies that are innovative, particularly product innovation. I think they all start with solving a customer problem, and they become obsessed with solving the problem, and everything flows from there. They also tend to hire really high caliber people who are driven and high-performing and who feel comfortable in environments that can be chaotic and fast changing.  

"I'm very drawn to companies that are innovative, particularly product innovation. I think they all start with solving a customer problem, and they become obsessed with solving the problem, and everything flows from there." - Naozer Dadachanji  

ARCHER: You’ve invested in several early-stage companies and served as an advisor to a number of them. What are three attributes that these companies had that compelled you to get involved with them?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: 1) Genuine product innovation was at the core of their business proposition 2) The people had the background and passion for solving that problem and 3) I liked the people and thought it would be fun to work with them and learn from them and be inspired by them.  

 

ARCHER: In your opinion, what differentiates the early-stage companies that find success from those that fail?   

NAOZER DADACHANJI: The ability to focus and the ability to adapt to feedback from the market, which sound like opposites, but truly aren’t. Persevering is really important but you need to step back and ask yourself, “Am I persevering, or am I not listening to what the market is telling me? Am I being stubborn and pigheaded, or am I persevering?” It’s a fine line.  

"Persevering is really important but you need to step back and ask yourself, 'Am I persevering, or am I not listening to what the market is telling me? Am I being stubborn and pigheaded, or am I persevering?' It’s a fine line." - Naozer Dadachanji  

ARCHER: When you think about the challenges facing the U.S. today – COVID, climate change, social justice issues – what will have the most significant impact on the investment world? How will it change it?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: I actually don’t think that any of those things will affect the investment world. Instead, I think the monetary and fiscal policy that the U.S. has adopted will have a significant and negative impact.  

 

ARCHER: How did you get involved with Archer?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: I was introduced to Thomas Foley by the CEO of one of my portfolio companies about four years ago. He shared an idea, which was the precursor to Archer, and I told him that I thought it was a bad idea and why I thought it was a bad idea. We reconnected two years later, and it turned out that Thomas had taken my feedback and developed a different business model – one that I thought was very good. He asked if I would be willing to be involved as an advisor, and here we are.  

 

ARCHER: What excites you the most about Archer?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: The firm’s technology platform will transform the way institutions and individuals invest in real estate including eventually bringing them exposure to commercial real estate in a format that they have grown accustomed to with publicly traded assets i.e. targeted market exposure and liquid transparent vehicles with low fees. I am excited about being part of that journey, and I believe in the founding team. 

 

ARCHER: Based on your experience with Archer and other companies, what do you see as the role of a great advisor?  

NAOZER DADACHANJI: What I have done that has been most effective is to listen carefully and engage at some level of depth  to really try to understand what the business is about and what these people are trying to do and then offer opinions sparingly and be available to help in whatever way the company needs.  

Tags: Real Estate



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