By Meghan Hall
In gateway markets like the San Francisco Bay Area and Puget Sound, quick and accurate data, especially when it comes to the valuation of assets, is key. Instead of tracking cash flow offline, investment sales brokers, commercial mortgage debt brokers, lenders and asset managers are able to track Discounted Cash Flows (DCFs) and Valuations in real time through the use of Rockport VAL, greatly expediting both processes in an industry where timing can be critical. The platform uses an entirely cloud and web-based program that allows multiple parties to review and build models and reports in real time. To learn how the platform is impacting the commercial real estate industry, The Registry spoke with Rockport VAL’s Chief Revenue Officer, Brian Mascis.
Rockport VAL is meant to solve CRE cash flow modeling and valuation inefficiencies. What pain points in the industry did you see that prompted you to create Rockport VAL, and how does the technology present an effective solution?
There are two main points that we solved from our competition: cost and usability.
Rigid and overcomplicated platforms have made modeling a grueling and time-consuming task. VAL is intuitive, easy to use and transparent. VAL is designed with the most advanced cloud-based technology for modeling, valuation and underwriting. It is more user friendly, affordable and efficient. You can login to VAL from anywhere, on any device and seamlessly collaborate and share with colleagues and clients. Other modeling platforms have difficulty or in many cases are unable to integrate with other industry technologies. VAL was built with a client-facing API that can facilitate the seamless flow of data in and out of the platform leveraging third party or its own data.
VAL’s web-portal is easy to navigate, the screens are built with usability in mind, and our calculations are consistent from version-to-version, thus not disrupting user productivity.
Tell me a little bit about Rockport VAL platform itself. How does the modeling software function?
VAL is a true cloud-based technology. All that is needed is internet to access [the platform]. Once you have a username and a password, you can securely log into VAL from anywhere, on any device. With VAL, once logged on, users utilize the same, latest release version. When enhancements or features are added to the platform, there are no additional costs or adverse effects to users’ workflow. This consistency is crucial to those involved in the underwriting process.
How does the product’s installation, integration and versioning from a tech perspective make it particularly useful for real estate underwriting?
One of the major benefits of VAL being a cloud-based platform is that there is no need to install the application on a local server or local hardware. Therefore, there are no IT infrastructure and ongoing maintenance costs incurred by our clients.
What feature of the platform would you especially like to highlight and why?
VAL’s sharing and collaboration features are second-to-none.
The sharing feature allows users to share models with others, whether they are a VAL subscriber or not. If you share a model with a VAL subscriber, they receive an email with a link to a read-only version of your model. If you are not a VAL subscriber, the recipient automatically receives a 30-day free trial to view the shared model, and they are also given full access for those 30 days.
The collaboration feature allows users to create and edit models simultaneously with other others, both in and outside of their organization. As with sharing, the person you invite to collaborate with will receive an email with a link to your model where they can actively [work on] your model alongside you. If you are not a VAL subscriber, the recipient automatically receives a 30-day free trial to collaborate on the model, and they are also given full access for those 30 days.
Rockport VAL was a Real Estate Tech Awards winner in the Transaction & Underwriting category in 2018. How does the technology better service — in terms of functionality, accuracy and efficiency — its users compared to its competitors?
Much of VAL’s functionality and efficiency is derived from our Calculation Engine. With each keystroke, the Calculation Engine is constantly and accurately calculating all the data. Plus, with VAL’s API architecture, users can push data back and forth between VAL and other platforms.
What impact do you think Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) and Valuation platforms like Rockport VAL will have on the CRE market in the next couple of years?
Moving to a cloud-based platform like VAL will be a massive shift for the industry. The idea of no longer being tied to a work station or the office has unlimited upside value. With the increased use of mobile devices and tablets in the CRE industry, you can now create and run models from anywhere.
Our firm belief is that by staying on the cutting-edge of technology, our platform will make the biggest impact.
How do you see the Rockport VAL platform and business evolving in the future? Does Rockport VAL have plans for expansion or growth?
VAL is uniquely positioned to quickly and nimbly make enhancements based on client requests and industry needs. We are always looking to expand our platform to encompass all facets of the CRE business while striving to use new technologies to increase the productivity and efficiency for CRE industry professionals.