by Brian Nordli
September 28, 2018

While cities across the United States represent boundless opportunities for commercial real estate investment, the field has long been difficult to break into.

Potential investors are often stymied by their location, lack of relationships and tedious legal processes. Cadre is working to change that, bringing the investment field into the digital age. The real estate tech company’s engineering team uses real estate data to build a platform that helps qualified investors buy and sell from a selection of curated properties.  

We spoke with four engineers to learn more about how they’re modernizing the real estate industry and why card games make for great brainstorming sessions.

 

Cadre Office
Photography By Hannah Cohen
Cadre Headphones
Photography by Hannah Cohen
Cadre couches
Photography By Hannah Cohen

 

FOUNDED: 2014

EMPLOYEES: 90 (81 local)

WHAT THEY DO: Cadre provides a real estate investment platform that uses data to make it easier for qualified investors to tap into the commercial real estate industry.  

WHERE THEY DO IT: New York

THE PERKS: Cadre covers 100 percent of insurance premiums for employees, and allows anyone at the company to invest in deals on the company’s platform the same way its users can.

 

Doris Ip playing Code Names

Doris Ip Portrait

 

Doris Ip, Engineering Manager

Doris leads a team responsible for building a seamless investment closing experience for Cadre’s users. Her goal is to enable users to easily sign documents, transfer funds and view their portfolio.

BEYOND WORK: Doris enjoys pushing her physical limits through running, boot camp classes, yoga and sports.

 

What tech stack does your team use?

We use Python 3 with Django, React with Redux, PostgreSQL and Ansible on AWS. We started with a few microservices written in Node.js along with our Python stack, but we realized our architecture was too complicated and unnecessary for our needs. So we simplified and hardened our core Python Django application. This helps us focus on defining best practices and patterns for our backend application code.  

 

Tell us about a problem your team has solved. How did your team solve the problem?

When I started at Cadre in 2015, every investor needed to fill out a tedious, 100-page PDF of legal questions before they made an investment. The process was time-consuming and exhausting. As a quick solution to the problem, we started capturing and saving the information filled out in the document. This allowed users to autofill the information each time they invested with us, but filling out the first form was still a horrible experience. We worked with our legal team and investor relations team to trim down the questions and rebuild the experience in-house.

We improved the customer experience and dramatically decreased the time they spent filling out the documents. We celebrated our success at our monthly team dinner and company-wide weekly meeting.  

 

Ideas often blossom when a project incorporates bits and pieces of ideas from various people.”

 

How much input do engineers have on projects?

Each project has enough space for engineers to contribute and express their thoughts and concerns. We kick off projects with the engineers, product owner and designer in the room to trade ideas and ask questions. Ideas often blossom when a project incorporates bits and pieces of ideas from various people. We’ve seen this work well in visual designs, as well as architectural designs.

 

Leonid At work

Leonid Portrait

 

Leonid Movsesyan, VP of Engineering

Leonid leads the engineering team at Cadre. His team is responsible for building the platform that enables users to invest in commercial real estate. Leonid works to make sure all projects get done and the engineering team is happy.

BEYOND WORK: Leonid enjoys riding motorcycles, practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and archery.

 

What problems is your team solving with technology?

We’re building technology to minimize the friction for the end investor and to scale out the back-of-house operations to allow the growth of our user base. We’re working closely with the product and business sides of the company to determine the roadmap and build the important tools and features.

 

The biggest technical challenge is how unstructured and disconnected data is in the world of commercial real estate.” 

 

What is the biggest technical challenge in the real estate investment industry?

The biggest technical challenge is how unstructured and disconnected data is in the world of commercial real estate. We’re building tech to improve the collection, unification and cleaning of data from multiple sources to solve this problem.

 

What role does data play at Cadre?

Data is essential to the quality of investment opportunities we put on the platform. We use a combination of state-of-the-art tools and ones we’ve built to gather and unify the data.


Jonathan at work

Jonathan Portrait

 

Jonathan Rodriguez, Software Engineer

Jonathan works on the back end and front end of Cadre’s investor-facing platform and is responsible for developing and improving its features.

BEYOND WORK: Jonathan recently became a father and spends most of his free time with his son.

 

How does Cadre facilitate your growth as an engineer?

Cadre has an official engineering career ladder that is shared with the whole company, and there are always opportunities to move up. During my one-on-ones, Doris and Leonid make it a priority to discuss my goals at the company, what I’m doing to achieve those goals and areas where I can improve. They also support lateral growth. We recently had two engineers switch to the data side after working on application development.  

 

We have a tradition of playing a couple hands of cards whenever someone needs a mental break or wants to chat about a roadblock.”

 

What team tradition means the most to you?

We have a tradition of playing a couple hands of cards whenever someone needs a mental break or wants to chat about a roadblock. We’re always accessible to each other and lend a hand when needed. We often have informal meetings around our card table that’s a permanent fixture in my team’s area. This gives everyone the opportunity to talk about their current roadblocks and hopefully figure out some potential solutions while they take a break from the screen and get some face time with each other.

 

What opportunities are there for employees to get involved in the Cadre’s culture?

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion for an organization called Year Up, which provides low-income young adults with hands-on skills and internships. As a panel member, I discussed my career path, average day and obstacles I’ve overcome. It was great to be able to inspire these young adults who might one day become software engineers. Outreach and mentoring opportunities at Cadre are outstanding. We’ve also partnered with other organizations like Kode with Klossy and Thorn for similar events.   

 

Ilaissa at work

Ilaissa portrait

 

Ilaissa Romero, Full-Stack Software Engineer

Ilaissa works on the demand-side of the business focused on growing Cadre’s investor user base, automating operational workflows and improving the user experience.

BEYOND WORK: She enjoys reading and working out and shares those activities with her co-workers in a book club and group fitness classes.

 

What excites you most about your work?

Everyone is passionate about their work and the company’s mission. It’s exciting to come into the office every morning and work on a common goal. It feels like what I do matters and that my work is beneficial to the company.

 

They created an environment where it was fine to ask questions and learn from others.” 

 

What’s the biggest technical challenge you’ve faced?

When I first joined Cadre, I wasn’t familiar with the tech stack. However, the entire team helped me get up to speed. They created an environment where it was fine to ask questions and learn from others. This allowed me to learn quickly and teach new team members.

 

We hear your team is full of gamers. What opportunities are there to bond with your teammates?

We’re really into board games on the engineering team. It’s a great way to bond with team members who you might not interact with on a daily basis. Depending on the game, you learn to work together and get to know each other’s competitive sides. It also gives everyone the opportunity to share a new board game with the team and unwind after a long day of work.

 

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