Caleb Dunn: Pantera Allows Property Professionals to Gain Parity With Excel Experts

August 21, 2022
Caleb Dunn: Pantera
Caleb Dunn: Pantera

Pantera allows property professionals to gain parity with Excel experts. It’s the “no-code software development” equivalent for financial modelling in Real Estate.

We work with funds, family offices, agents and property valuers to rapidly create business cases for their investment decisions and present them in a sophisticated dashboard environment.

Tell us about yourself?

I’ve always had an interest in business and value creation. From entering new business venture competitions at school to writing a thesis on how the gig-economy influences traditional sectors at university.

After 5+ years working in B2B SaaS companies, across various Product and Go-To-Market roles, I founded Pantera. A majority of my career has been spent creating technology solutions for the real estate industry, and it’s a sector that has incredible potential for further transformation.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

Listening to customer feedback has been a pivotal component in our journey so far. Hearing about how things are currently completed and where the pain points exist has shaped Pantera into what it is today.

However, I would tell myself that it’s important to have conviction in your own vision if you truly want to solve the problems in an unprecedented way.

We are paving a completely new road for how we solve the time-consuming process of modelling numerous scenarios within a portfolio. Customer feedback is important in understanding which areas to focus on first, but backing ourselves in how to solve those problems allows you to differentiate from the status-quo.

What problem does your business solve?

Decision frameworks for investment, divesting and asset management are convoluted due to the necessity of being Excel literate to plan and understand what the future may hold. Consequently, only a small number of options are forecasted and only a small number of people know how to effectively do it. Decision makers also need to feel confident in the choices in front of them.

With modelling being a heavily guarded knowledge area, those that wish to explore diligent analysis struggle to convey their strategy effectively with current tooling.

Resulting in an inability to convince clients or internal stakeholders to adopt a particular strategy. Our market research has shown that clients are requiring greater visibility into decision making from those at the helm of capital deployment. Current tooling fails to showcase why and how decisions are made.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

Sitting in the board rooms and offices of portfolio and asset managers across the UK, I learnt that it is incredibly time-inefficient to evaluate each portfolio decision or eventuality through a detailed cash flow model in Excel or an enterprise-level projection tool.

I had seen how laboured investment and asset management decisions could be. How they relied on the creation of an Excel spreadsheet, or softwares which mimicked an Excel frontend, to suitably articulate the impact of portfolio decisions.

For a majority of the firms I spent time with, a financial model and cash flow acted as the linchpins for how decisions were made. They underpinned the high-level metrics that are used at investment committee level when potential decisions and deals are assessed.

Yet asset managers would need to liaise with finance teams and analysts to prepare many variations of these models for different outcomes. Hours were lost to inefficient communication and duplication of models.

And the end result remained uninspiring. It seemed crazy to me that a spreadsheet (or softwares that leverage Excel design), acted as the default to answering strategic questions within a property business.

To my amazement, there were a cohort of firms that avoided in-depth analysis altogether. I witnessed respectable funds and large portfolios assess acquisition targets based solely on location and reputation of a building.

Even professional firms skimped on implementing rigour into their appraisal process, tenant negotiations and asset management strategy formation. I asked myself – What if those that had the aptitude in asset management strategy, expertise in the buildings and market and relationships with the occupiers, had the ability to circumnavigate time spent on Excel?

What is your magic sauce?

We’ve approached this age-old problem in a completely novel way. We challenged ourselves to create a solution that embraces a visual, design-led approach to a typically rigid and numbers-driven practice.

Pantera uses language and on-screen visuals that mimic how an asset is actually pictured in the mind of an investment and asset manager, rather than cells and formulas. Consequently, this empowers property professionals to engage in the strategy planning for the assets they know intimately.

Not only does this reduce the amount of time spent forecasting, but presenting the results either internally or externally to clients is massively enhanced. It allows our customers to communicate far more effectively and draw attention to the key details and outcomes of their plans.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

One of the most exciting things about working on Pantera is the opportunity that lies ahead. Forecasting and planning touches many departments within a property company.

We believe Pantera can be a solution that everyone within a business can utilise to understand the impact of their portfolio decisions.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

For firms that currently do not have the time or aptitude to model investment or management decisions, Pantera can present a green-field opportunity. However, this does mean some firms are engaging in a new behaviour.

We’ve found for a select number of firms, the benefits of actively planning how to mitigate risk and uncover new areas of success need to be learned. Our solution allows this to be done with extremely low barriers but can still provide as a challenge when discussing with some property companies.

How do people get involved/buy into your vision?

We want to speak with anyone that appraises property investment opportunities or manages their current portfolio strategy. You can find more information about Pantera here –

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